The Social Perception, Attitudes, Mental Simulation Lab

Gender Glossary: Trans Man


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Term and Definition:

Transgender man (or trans man): Refers to a person who was assigned by a cultural authority (usually a medical professional) to the gender category “female” at birth, but who experiences his gender as “male.” (Trans- is the latin prefix for “to move across.”) Transgender men are also referred to as “Females-to-males” (FTMs) or as “trans men” to indicate the transition from birth-assigned category to current gender identity. We prefer the term "trans men" to emphasize current identity. Moreover, referring to trans men as FTMs may place unwarranted emphasis on an assumed identity. Think about calling "gay men" HTGs: "heterosexuals-to-gays." This was likely not the case for many gay men. Similarly, many trans men never identified with being female. Instead, other people assume that they did. Almost all trans men prefer male pronouns (he/him/his) to communicate their gender identity to others.

Trans men vary in their visual appearance. Some trans men have appearances that are common for men in their given society. Other trans men have appearances that are less common for men in their given society (including appearances that are associated with women in that society). In any case, being a trans man is about the psychological experience of being in a male gender category. Visual presentation is often an easy way for other people to categorize the person into a gender group based on cultural standards, but this visual presentation may not necessarily the person’s individual psychological feelings about his gender category because visual appearance is gender-expression (based on cultural stereotypes for groups), not gender identity.

Return to Glossary of Gender-Related Terms

Go to our Definition List of Gender-Related Terms (all terms; alphabetically listed)

Note: This glossary of terms was compiled by Charlotte Tate, Ph.D. (who publishes under "Charlotte Chuck Tate" to have female, trans, and butch lesbian visibility simultaneously), and Jay Ledbetter, M.A., in an attempt to provide quick, concise definitions of gender-related concepts to a general audience. Most of the definitions are paraphrased and expanded from manuscripts and published articles by these two authors. All of the definitions were inspired by and summarize existing work on gender identity in gender studies. Accordingly, the point of the glossary is not to provide definitive definitions of the terms listed; instead, the point of the glossary is to help people understand the various experiences of gender that people have and how these experiences are related to psychological science.

On a practical level, this means that some scholars and activists may disagree with some the definitions within the glossary (esp. concerning the meaning of “genderqueer”). Nonetheless, we offer the glossary as a starting point, and, an admittedly incomplete, compendium so that readers of Dr. Tate’s websites can have some understanding of the terms used. This is a living document and will change over time with additional research, findings, and feedback.

For those interested in further discussions (both academic and popular) of the gender categories and concepts presented in this glossary, we may find this bibliography helpful.