Other Vocabulary

I’m not only going to write about transgender issues here. I’m also fairly entrenched in other social justice communities and may use other unfamiliar language that the Trans 101 section doesn’t cover. That’s what this page is here for.

If I use a term in a post that you don’t find on this page, please say something in the comments and I’ll be glad to add it here.

Like I said on the Trans 101 page, definitions of these terms often vary slightly from website to website. These are just the definitions I personally prefer.


  • Queer: This term can be controversial. It’s a reclaimed slur that’s currently used as an umbrella term to talk about folks who fall outside of societal norms surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity. I personally use it but understand that some people have bad memories associated with it and prefer not to. It’s the least terrible umbrella term for the LGBT+ community I’ve found so far. I find more inclusive than the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) acronym, since it doesn’t include other folks like intersex and asexual people. However, I find it easier to say than the full LGBTQQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual) acronym, which is unwieldy and for all I know could be leaving out yet another marginalized group that is joining the party and advocating for more rights. If anyone has a term they feel is better than “queer,” feel free to share it in the comments.
  • POC: short for people of color. Refers to anyone with non-white ancestry.
  • TPOC: transgender people of color
  • QTPOC: queer/transgender people of color
  • Spoons: If the context clues don’t make it obvious that I am talking about cutlery, I am probably using the term “spoons” to refer to Christine Miserandino’s spoon theory. This term is used widely in disabled communities. Your “spoons” are the amount of energy you have to deal with life’s demands. When you have a lot of spoons, you have a lot of energy and can handle day-to-day life more easily. When you’re low on spoons, you have low energy and a very hard time handling life’s demands, and you need time to recharge. This term can be used to describe the exhaustion produced by conditions including but not limited to chronic pain, depression and anxiety, autism, lupus, and fibromyalgia.
  • Neurotypical person: A person with no out-of-the-ordinary brain conditions, including but not limited to ADHD, schizophrenia, PTSD, or autism.
  • Neuroatypical/neurodivergent person: A person with an out-of-the-ordinary brain condition, which can include but is not limited to ADHD, schizophrenia, PTSD, or autism.
  • Ableism: Prejudice against disabled people. The adjective form is ableist.
  • Autistic person: A person who is on the autism spectrum.
    • This is where a linguistic debate comes into play. In many disabled communities, person-first language is preferred; for example, calling someone a “person with X disability” instead of a “disabled person.” However, in my personal experience, many folks on the autism spectrum prefer identity-first language, where we call ourselves an “autistic person” rather than a “person with autism.” In my experience, the people who use person-first language with autistic folks tend to be non-autistic medical practitioners and family members. Most of the people I’ve encountered who were on the spectrum themselves tend to describe themselves as an autistic person, not a person with autism. My personal preference is for calling myself an autistic person, so that’s the language I tend to use. Saying “person on the spectrum” seems to be fairly neutral and appease people in both the person-first and identity-first camps, though, and I will use that sometimes too.
  • Allistic person: A person who isn’t on the autism spectrum.
    • A lot of websites will use the terms “allistic” and “neurotypical” interchangeably to refer to a non-autistic person. However, the terms are not necessarily interchangeable. For example, a person might be schizophrenic but not on the autism spectrum. For a person like this, the term “neurotypical” is not fitting, but the term “allistic” is.


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