Glossary of Terms

UterX: A Collaboration, Produced by In Sickness + In Health with Ask Me About My Uterus and MedX Student Advisor + ePatient Charlie Blotner

UterX: A Collaboration, Produced by In Sickness + In Health with Ask Me About My Uterus and MedX Student Advisor + ePatient Charlie Blotner

We know not everyone is familiar with the terminology around trans issues and healthcare, and that can be a barrier to good communication and care.

Better healthcare for trans and gender nonconforming individuals starts with having these conversations.

We hope this page will help you get more comfortable with the language, and with having these conversations in general.

The name UterX comes from our mission to neutralize the gendered language of gynecological healthcare, and expand those conversations to include those who do not identify as women. X has been used as a gender neutral signifier in other contexts, such as in Latinx (alternative to Latino, Latina, or Latin@) and the gender neutral honorific Mx. (alternative to Mr., Mrs. or Ms.)


All definitions are from the National Center for Transgender Equality, unless otherwise noted.

Gender Identity: one's internal knowledge of their gender – for example, your knowledge that you’re a man, a woman, or another gender.

Gender Expression: how one presents their gender on the outside, often through behavior, clothing, hairstyle, voice or body characteristics.

The Gender Binary: cultural system of viewing gender as consisting only of two opposite categories, which in our culture are “male and female." Within this system, no other possibilities for gender or anatomy are acknowledged. - From TSER

Cisgender or 'cis': term for those who exclusively identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. The term is not indicative of gender expression, sexual orientation, hormonal makeup, physical anatomy, or how one is perceived in daily life. - From TSER

Transgender or 'trans': a broad term that can be used to describe people whose gender identity is different from the gender they were assigned at birth. It is always best to ask about how a person identifies, and what their preferred pronouns are, without making assumptions first.

Sex Assigned At Birth: assignment and classification of one as male, female, intersex, or another sex assigned at birth often based on physical anatomy at birth and/or karyotyping. - From TSER

Trans man: someone assigned female at birth who identifies as a man. Some, but not all, trans men identify as female-to-male, FTM, F2M, or trans masculine.

Trans woman: someone assigned male at birth who identifies as a woman. Some, but not all, trans women identify as male-to-female, MTF, M2F, or trans feminine.

Nonbinary: umbrella term for those whose gender is neither male nor female. There are many different terms for this, with nonbinary being one of the most common. Other terms include genderqueer, agender, bigender, and more. None of these terms mean exactly the same thing – but all speak to an experience of gender that is not simply male or female.

Transition: when a person begins to live according to their gender identity, rather than the gender they were assigned at birth, and the social, legal, and/or medical processes to follow.

Social transition: may or may not include changing your outward appearance, clothing, name, or the pronoun people use to refer to you (like “she,” “he,” “they,” etc.)

Legal transition: changing one’s name and/or sex on legal documents including their birth certificate and/or drivers license.

Medical transition: hormone therapy or other medical procedures to change one's physical characteristics.

Transition-related care: all physical and mental healthcare related to a person's transition, which can include, but is not limited to hormone therapy, mental health services, and gender-affirming surgeries.

Coverage exclusions: insurance coverage that does not extend to care the insurer has deemed "medically unnecessary," "experimental," and/or "cosmetic." These exclusions are discriminatory and out of touch with current medical thinking. The AMA and WPATH have specifically rejected these arguments, and courts have affirmed their conclusion. However, these exclusions are still very common, but vary by state and insurance plan. - From Lambda Legal



Project Resources

Why We Must Stop Calling Menstruation A ‘Women’s Issue’ roundtable from The Establishment
Guys Need Pap Tests, Too: A Trans Man’s Guide to Visiting the Gyno from Everyday Feminism
Ovarian Cancer in Transgender Men from the National LGBT Cancer Network

Study: Mental Health of Transgender Children Who Are Supported in Their Identities from the journal Pediatrics

Transgender Suicide Attempt Rates Are Staggering from Vocativ
Report: Suicide Attempts Among Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Adults from the Williams Institute and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Trans Lifeline is a crisis hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people, available in both the US and Canada
US: 877-565-8860 + Canada: 877-330-6366

HHS Issues Regulations Banning Trans Health Care Discrimination from the National Center for Transgender Equality
States file another lawsuit over Obama transgender rules from the Associated Press

FAQ on Access to Transition-Related Care from Lambda Legal
ID Documents Center
for state-by state info on legal name and gender marker changes on state and federal IDs and records

Episode 27 - A Place I've Gone for Necessity with S. Leigh Thompson, about the hurdles to diagnosis he's faced as a trans person with complex health issues, healthcare insecurity, getting around the city with mobility limitations, and navigating society with invisible disabilities.

Links to Learn More

National Center for Transgender Equality
- About Transgender People
- Understanding Transgender People: The Basics
- Understanding Non-Binary People: How to Be Respectful and Supportive
LGBTQ+ Definitions
from Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER)

For Patients and Parents

Explore Topics at genderspectrum
Hudson's FTM Resource Guide
Gender Development from Children's Hospital of Chicago

Finding Care Providers
Planned Parenthood health centers are open to people of all gender identities and sexual orientations. You can visit your local Planned Parenthood health center for STD testing, birth control, physical exams, other sexual and reproductive health services, and referrals.
- Information from PP on Trans and Gender Nonconforming Identities
- Find a Planned Parenthood health center and learn about the services it offers
My Trans Health is a place to find vetted, trans-friendly healthcare providers
Trans Record is a database of providers in different specialties who understand the unique needs of the trans community
RAD Remedy is dedicated to connecting trans, gender non-conforming, intersex, and queer folks to accurate, safe, respectful, and comprehensive care.
In New York: Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
In Boston: Fenway Health
In Chicago: Lurie Clinic at the Children's Hospital of Chicago
In San Fransisco: Center of Excellence for Transgender Health at UCSF
- The Child and Adolescent Gender Center (CAGC) at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital
In Seattle: Seattle Children's Adolescent Clinic (coming soon!)

For Providers

Information for Healthcare Providers from The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health at UCSF
Information on Transgender Health for healthcare professionals from the American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
Information for HCPs Caring for Gender-expansive Youth from genderspectrum
Gender-affirming Mental Health Resources from genderspectrum