Gender Bender

Challenging conventions around gender presentation without fully presenting as opposite gender. 2014 Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst who dresses as a female but has full facial hair would probably fit into this category – or into Drag Queen.

Some individuals in the Gay Village in Manchester wore short tartan skirts (definitely NOT kilts) – whilst dressing otherwise as male and with no attempt to present a female shape. Glam rock – with men wearing make up – might also fit into this label.

Gender bending might be regarded as personal expression similar to Goths rather than a Trans variation. One can argue, however, that choosing to mix gender stereotypes rather than others may indicate a degree of transgenderism

Gender Binary

Defining Gender as either Male or Female and not acknowledging other options.

Gender Dysphoria/

Gender Incongruence/

Gender Variance

Gender dysphoria has been the usual medical name for the condition where the individual’s gender and sex do not match. This is often described as “feeling you are in the wrong body”. Some individuals prefer Gender Incongruence (which is increasingly used) or Gender Variance. They suggest that “dysphoria” indicates that the condition is an abnormality. “Incongruence” still suggests something “wrong” – Gender Variance implies that differences are to be expected.


This refers to a gender identity which varies over time (see also ‘gender variance’).

Gender identity

A person’s sense of self as a male, female, non-binary person or other sense of gender. A person’s gender identity is typically expected to follow directly from the sex they were assigned at birth (based on physical attributes), but this is not always the case.

Gender Incongruence

See Gender Dysphoria/ Gender Incongruence/ Gender Variance

Gender Reassignment

The process of changing or transitioning from one gender role to another and when a person takes steps to alter the outward expression of their gender so that it better aligns with their sense of who they are.  As part of their gender reassignment some people may choose to take hormones and/or have surgery but medical intervention is not an essential part of gender reassignment.


Gender Reassignment Surgery/

Genital Reconstruction Surgery

Usually taken to stand for Gender Reassignment Surgery – but many trans people will say that their gender has not been changed and they prefer to consider that it stands for genital reconstruction surgery. They prefer “Genital Reconstruction Surgery”.

Often referred to as a sex change - especially in the media

Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC)

A certificate issued under the Gender Recognition Act 2004 which enables someone to be legally recognised in their acquired gender

Gender Variance

The term ‘gender variance' may also be used to refer to behaviour and interests that are outside what is considered ‘normal’ for a person’s assigned (biological) sex.

See also Gender Dysphoria/ Gender Incongruence/ Gender Variance

Put 10 trans people in a room and I guarantee you’ll come up with at least a dozen different definitions. There is no complete consensus – and interpretations do change. This is how I’ve used the following terms on this website.

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