Glossary

Principle of Charity – A philosophical term relating to granting the sincerity of an opponent’s views for the sake of argument. In this blog, I may occasionally use terms I disagree with in the interest of the principle of charity.

Pronouns – I tend to refer to my former spouse as “he,” having lived with him for 15 years and found him to be exceedingly male in word and deed. I sometimes refer to other transwomen as “she,” perhaps because they are high-profile or because I’m following the lead of an article I’m quoting. I do not think transwomen are women, but am not sure pronoun use is of special importance to me one way or the other, at least at the moment, and especially in regard to strangers.

MtF – Male to female. A transgender person who was born male and now identifies as female. Some gender-critical people use MtT — male to trans — in protest of the idea that men become women when they transition. While I agree with them in spirit, I choose the less inflammatory term, finding it suitable enough for my purposes.

Transwoman – A transgender person who was born male and now identifies as female. If I’m not mistaken, “trans woman” (with a space) is now more politically correct in transgender circles because it posits an actual woman with the modifier of trans. I dislike the space for this same reason. Some gender opponents use the term “transgender man” for the same, but in light of the media’s use of that term to mean the opposite phenomenon, I find transwoman without the space to be a satisfactory and less ambiguous compromise.

Woman – If I use the word woman unadorned, I mean a natal woman.

Autogynephile – Ray Blanchard, a clinical psychologist and sexologist who has extensively researched transsexualism, finds that there are two types of MtF transsexuals. One type is a homosexual man who has been effeminate since childhood and transitions to facilitate relationships with men. He calls this type androphiles. The other is a non-homosexual man who transitions later in life and finds the idea of himself as a woman erotically arousing. He calls this type autogynephiles. This article by Anne Lawrence, a self-identified autogynephile, is an excellent primer on the topic. While some find this dichotomy controversial (mainly non-homosexual transwomen), I find it so far succeeds in accurately describing the transwomen I have met.

Cisgender (sometimes abbreviated “cis”) – Denoting a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex; not transgender. I take issue with this definition, as do many other writers, because I do not personally have a “self-identity” when it comes to gender and in fact disagree with the concept. Because gender is a made-up construct, I do not agree that one gender or another correlates with some internal state I hold. Suggesting that I am cisgender is thus rather like defining an atheist in terms of which of two gods they prefer. I love this author’s explanation: “To be cisgendered has no meaning to someone who does not experience themselves as gendered in any way other than by the gaze of others.”

Radical Feminism – The “radical” in “radical” feminism means “root” (think square root, or the Rancid song). As in the study of the root of women’s oppression, which is reproductive function. It does not mean “extreme.”