A generic term for any natural or synthetic compound, usually a steroid hormone, that stimulates or controls the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics by binding to androgen receptors. This includes the activity of the accessory male sex organs and development of male secondary sex characteristics. Androgens, which were first discovered in 1936, are also called androgenic hormones or testoids. The most well-known androgen is testosterone.

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A person who is psychologically androgynous. The word androgyne was previously applied only to androgynous floral. The word is now being used to describe the personhood of an androgynous individual. This may include a person with an androgynous physical appearance, a person with a combination of both masculine and feminine personality traits, or a person who has no sense of being either male or female. Not everyone who is androgynous looking is an androgyne, and not every androgyne looks androgynous.


A person who dresses in a non-specific gender fashion. Being both male and female or neither. Presenting as neither clearly masculine or feminine. Having an ambiguous sexual or gender identity. Being both male and female; hermaphrodite.


The impact of decreasing androgens is known as andropause, also called “male menopause” or PADAM – Partial Androgen Deficiency in the Aging Male. It is a normal part of aging, although, for some men it is accompanied by a gradual and undesired decline in their sexuality, mood and overall energy. Sometimes it can even expose men to more serious health risks. Basically, testosterone levels drop while estrogen percentages increase.

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Please see article “Am I Going Nuts,” for additional information: Am I Going Nuts?

Birth Gender

The gender assigned to you at birth. This usually relates to the genitalia that are the most prominant. All babies have the potential for either gender when they are first conceived. A combination of hormones and genetics can create a wide range of gender expressions. Sometimes the genders are ambiguous and the doctors and parents will often promote one gender over through the use of surgery and or hormones. A large number of babies are born inter-sexed but even so will often be raised as a specific gender. This is not true in every culture, but in the western culture we hold to a very rigid male and female only gender model. People are nearly always asked to choose between the two.

Cross Dress

Dressing in the manner of the opposite gender.

Cross Dressing (sometimes spelled Cross-Dressing)

The act of wearing clothing normally associated with the other gender. There are a variety of reasons for cross dressing. Most have to do with gender identity, but there are many other reasons as well. Normally there is a distinction made between someone who is a cross-dresser and someone who is transgender. Referring to a transgender person as “just a cross-dresser” is often regarded as demeaning or insulting. For more about distinctions see the link below:

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Cross-Dressers (sometimes spelled Cross-Dressers)

Those who wear the clothing of the “other” gender but have little desire to physically alter their gender. The reasons and catalysts to cross dress are varied. It may result from fundamental brain chemistry, reconciling abuse from a parent or trusted caregiver (usually resulting in a fetish), biologically inter-sexed, or simple curiosity. Often cross dressing is done for comfort or to relieve tension, and usually has a sexual component attached to it.


When a person expresses themselves in a manner related to the other gender. This includes cross dressing, mannerisms, interests, choice of friends, career and any other function that relates to a specific gender. The notion that someone has crossed a gender line stems from the idea that the polarized gender model contains gender dictums that cover a wide range of actions and activities.


When a person dresses as their birth gender.


When a person dresses as the other gender.

Drag Queens or Drag Kings

These individuals usually dress as an iconic gender image simply for fun. This group is the one most people see on the news and on stage. Most of those engaged in this activity are part of the LGBT community, however, anyone dressed as an exaggerated gender stereotype would qualify.


A man who dresses up as a woman, or a boy who dresses up as a girl for the purpose of acting or living as the person of the opposite gender. Enfemme refers to the presentation of female by a male. Dressing as completely female in order to pass as a female is referred to as full-enfemme.


A person who is of the third gender (or sex). Many were born this way, however in ancient times infants were often castrated early to stop the hormonal changes and make a male more feminine or gender neutral. These individuals were then employed in a variety of services. The most well-known being that of harem servants. Many were employed as domestics, religious specialists, servants of the ruler, or even military commanders. According to Byzantine historian Kathryn Ringrose, while the pagans of Classical Antiquity based their notions of gender purely on the physical, the Byzantine Christian based their definitions of gender more on the behavior of the person. More about eunuchs may be found at the following link.

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Female to male transgender. Someone who is born biologically female but identifies as male.

Gender Blessed

When a person exhibits the traits and actions of both genders, and feels comfortable in either role to some extent, they are known as gender blessed. This label is used in contrast to the term gender identity disorder in that the condition of being transgender is look at as a positive state rather than a negative one. (See two-spirits.)


A harmonious balance of physical gender and psychological gender identity (gender-congruency).


To deviate from a person’s assigned biological birth gender. Becoming different in form or kind. To depart from the gender that society has labeled you (gender-divergence).

Gender Dysphoria

Being discontented with the biological birth gender. A separation between the psychological, emotional and biological genders.

Gender Euphoria

The act of cross dressing may cause the brain to release endorphins. This intense elation is known as gender euphoria. This euphoria is usually experienced the first few times a person cross dresses, but may be felt each time a person is dressed and last for years until the newness wears thin.


A psychological state where physical gender and psychological gender are out-of-sync (gender-incongruency).

Gender Linked

When actions are based on gender, and viewed as either appropriate on in appropried based on gender. Actions, thoughts and expressions may be acceptable or expected from one gender and not the other. This is associated with the polarized two-gender model of male and female.

Gender Variance

A term that refers to those expressions of gender (masculinity adn femininity) that do not conform to the dominent gender norms of Western culture.

Gender Queer and Intergender

These are current terms for gender identities other than man or woman. People who identify as genderqueer may think of themselves as being both genders rather than choosing either male or female. They have embraced a gender identity well outside of the polarized gender model of male and female. Some see “genderqueer” as a third gender to complement the traditional two, while others identify as genderless or a-gender.

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Inter-Sexed or Hermaphrodites

Many people are born with genitals which show characteristics of both genders. Most have surgery while they are still infants. In the last few years though, the validity of this early surgery has come into serious questioning, mostly due to the fact that those who have been subjected to this alteration often feel they grew up with an essential part of themselves missing. A term also used is third gender.

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LGBT is an initialism referring to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender/transsexual people. This term was first used in the 1990s. GLBT is also used, but with the terms in a different order. GLBTI has added an additional term or group, “Inter-sexed” as well. GLBTI is fairly new, and reflects an attitude of allowing for additional gender experessions. Sometimes the letter “S” is added as well to include the term “Straight.”

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Male to female transgender. Someone who is born biologically male but identifies as female.

Opposite Gender

There are many causes and catalysts that would make an individual desire to become more like the “opposite gender.” Even in writing this I hesitate to use the term “opposite gender” for that implies a strictly polarized gender model. I use this term only to communicate a starting point in which to understand the concepts of male and female.


Throwing out all your cross dressing items, clothing, make-up, etc. This usually takes place after the person who cross dresses experiences guilt, and has determined never to cross dress again.

Purging Cycle

A man who crossdresses, then throws all his feminine items away only to purchase more. Cross dresses again and then throws it all away again. This cycle may continue over and over for years.

Polarized Gender Model (also known as bi-gender or two-gender)

In the western culture, the genders are seen as only two; male and female. Some cultures recognize three genders and others even five. Our western culture however adheres to a strict two gender model, although this is now being questioned. As a result, those who feel like they are both genders, somewhere in-between, or neither male or female, find themselves often being pushed into one polarized gender or the other. Our western culture does not allow for, or dignify those who are outside of this polarized gender model. The western culture is so fixed on the idea of just two genders that any expression outside of your assigned gender is looked upon very disapprovingly.

Third Gender

Also known as third sex. These are individuals that are neither defined as men nor women. Some societies recognize three or more genders. The state of being neither strictly male nor female is in relation to their biology, but can also apply to the spirit or psychology of the person. A person may experience gender identity disorder as a result, however most in this third gender do not view themselves as deficient or broken. More information can be found visting the web site below.

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Often used as an umbrella term for any person who bends the so-called traditional gender roles. Primarily applied to individuals whose gender identity is skewed towards the gender opposite their assigned birth gender. They may identify in part or in full with this other gender. Included are cross-dressers, transsexuals, transgenderist and androgynes. Some transgender dress in a non-specific or androgynous gender fashion. Most transgender express this gender identity by wearing clothing that is associated with the other gender and participate in social activities typical for the person of that gender. There are many individuals who simply identify as transgender without citing a specific sub-category or expression.

Those who struggle with something as fundamental as gender often find themselves also dealing with social stigma or isolation. Many find themselves outside of society, and so seek out other transgender and form communities of their own.

Being a trans-person is not a matter of sexual orientation. Often a person who is transgendered is confused for a person who is homosexual. Not all trans-people identify as part of the GLB community but some do. The percentage of transgender who identify as homosexual is about the same as the general population.

Although being transgendered is not directly related to a person’s sexual orientation or sexual activity, much of the information found on the Internet is skewed towards sex and pornography (there is big money in pornography, not so much money in dispensing clinical information). A person’s sexual impulses and orientation are related to gender, but the issue of gender identity is distinct from the issue of sexuality. People are sexual beings regardless of gender identity and those impulses exist regardless. It is important to have a discussion about gender that is separate from sexual drives.

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This term is used infrequently to describe a person who lives as a member of the opposite gender either fulltime or part-time, but are not pursuing sexual reassignment. This choice is not by default but rather a conscious decision. They may have facial reconstruction, breast implants and take other measures to look like the other gender, but stop short of sexual reassignment. Sometimes referred to as shemales in the porn industry. (Shemale is consider by most a disrespectful term and invalidates the life choice.) Some who cross dress prefer to apply the term transgenderist to themselves to allude to their gender-divergent identity and heterosexuality. This term is more narrow in its focus than the more general term transgender.


People who desire to change their gender by fundamentally altering their bodies in order to live as members of the “other” gender. This is accomplished through surgical procedures, hormones, and other medical technologies and may or may not include genitalia sexual reassignment. The issue of sexual gratification is separate from gender identity, as is the issue of sexual orientation.


An older term that refers to a person (especially a male) who adopts the dress and often the behavior typical of the opposite gender, especially for purposes of emotional or sexual gratification. Also known as Tranny.

They / Their / Them / Themself (non-specific gender form in place of he/she)

These words are used within the context of gender discussion to allude to either a male or female without defining one over the other. They is used as a singular-plural word within the context of a sentence instead of the clumbsy he/she. The term he/she alludes to a strict interpretation of the polarized gender model and does not allow for those who are transgender, genderqueer, inter-sexed or hermophrodites. There have been attempts to create new terms, but instead it is reasonable to use existing language within this context and broaden the application of the words they, their, them and themself. In the context of he/she, the word they is the nominative case form (singular or plural within the context), them the objective, their the possessive, and themself the intensive and reflective. – n. pl. they’re a person.


In some ancient cultures as with many of the native American tribes, those who were born exhibiting traits that would define them as transgender, or those who were biologically inter-sexed or gender nonspecific were known as two-spirits. These individuals were highly valued and were often encouraged to be medicine men, shamen or counselors.