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Trans 103 – Splitting the Atom

By Amrita Arya on Tuesday, April 9th, 2013. Tagged under gender identity, gender
roles, trans.

A set of definitions that can get you going when supporting the LGBT movements!

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Forms a very trivial (for most) but a fundamental part of our identities on basis of which we

are assigned roles and privileges. Also forms the basis of how we view and percieve others

and in turn are viewed and percieved by them.

Basically has 3 parts

- Gender Roles

Decide what somebody of one gender does. Dated. Oppressive. Unnecessary.

- Gender Identity
Personal. Who somebody identifies as. If you are not sure, ask them. Don’t be rude. Don’t

assume. It could be one of the two, it could be neither, it could be different at different

times. It could be one of 5 if you are in Indonesia. India added the ‘other’ gender in this


- Gender Expression

Averaged at best and based on stereotypes and learning during the developmental phase.

Somebody’s actual gender expression may be different from the one expected.

These are not interlinked as such. However, with the prevalent heteronormativity and

gender gap, these three are seen together.

Gender segregation

Part of the developmental process of every person. Boys stick with boys, talk like boys, be

boys. Girls do the same. Anybody breaking that is either gay* or a slut.

Gender gap

If gender is in our heads then so is the gender gap.

Gender Dysphoria (formerly Gender Identity Disorder)

Is not a disorder. It is a natural variance. In a more accepting culture there would not be any

dysphoria, people would just be. The dysphoria occurs when labels start to be applied and

there’s a mismatch.

Somebody who comes out as a supporter so that others might feel comfortable talking to

them about their sexuality / identity. They usually aren’t queer themselves, but are neither

bigoted nor uncomfortable of themselves. Also take part in discussions on queer issues.


An umbrella term for people identifying as a different gender than assigned, people

identifying as neither in the gender binary, people with fluid gender identities (gender fluid),

people wanting medical intervention (transsexuals).


A person who identifies as the gender assigned.


Process of finding one’s fit in the world. May or may not include physical / expression

changes. Usually it is a tightrope walk between what is and what should have been. Nobody

wants to put cognitive load on somebody else and genderfuck their minds on a regular

basis. So people do tend to feminize / masculinize. The need and the ‘extent’ of it is again


SRS/GRS (formerly sex change operation)

Not castration. No change in a person, apart from one.


Somebody who wants to undergo medical treatments to help aliveate their dysphoria.

Might or might not desire / require SRS.

Transvestite (dated)

Somebody who gets arousal / gratification from feminine things / clothes etc. You know

who else gets all that from feminity? A Woman.

Hijra (offensive)

Traditional Indian transgenders. Marginalized and treated with disrespect and hate most of

the time.

Shemale / Tranny / Ladyboy / Chick with Dick / Chhakka

All offensive terms.


Somebody who identifies as a man. hint – their first name, usually.

Trans Man

A man who was initially assigned the female gender. Same as Man.


Somebody who identifies as woman. hint – their first name, usually.

Trans Woman

A woman who was initially assigned the male gender. Same as Woman.

Trans *
Collective term for transgender / transsexual people.

Gender equality

Well, legally, yeah. But remember variety!


Invalidating the identity of a transperson altogether. By objectifying, by hate speech,



Isn’t a phobia, it is just bigotry. It propagates hate.