Key terms and abbreviations

AuthorDirectorate-General for Justice and Consumers (European Commission), ICF
Legal gender recognition in the EU: the journeys of trans people towards full equality
June 2020
Key terms and abbreviations
Key terms
Throughout the report, we have used the following te rms and understand their
definitions to be as follows below.
It is important to understand that many of these terms are debated an d hold different
meanings for different individuals. More inform ation about our approach to language is
available in Section 1.6.3 (‘A note on language’).
Two sources have been especially important in informing and shaping these definitions:
the glossaries of the NGOs, Transgender Europe1 and Stonewall2. Other sources include:
the Yogyakarta principles (2006 and 2017); Joseph et al. (2017); OII Europe and ILGA-
Europe (2019); W orld Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH, 2012)
and the Gender Equality Glossary of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE)3.
Full information on these sources is available in Annex 1 (Bibliography) .
Our understanding of key terms:
Cisgender or cis: Someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were
assigned at birth.
Coming out: When a person first tells someone/others about their gender identity.
Some participants in this study also used this term to refer to situations when, after
transitioning to live according to their gender identity, they told someone about their
trans status/history4. Trans people may have to, or want to, come out several times
or even continuously, as some people are never perceived as their own gender.
Deadname: A trans person’s birth name, which they no longer use.
Deadnaming: Calling someone by their birth name after they have changed their
EU ‘acquis’: The body of common rights and obligations that are binding on all E U
countries, as EU Members.
Gender: Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and
attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and men.
Gender dysphoria/gender identity disorder: Medicalised diagnoses used in the
DSM-55 and the ICD-106 respectively, describing conditions whereby individuals may
experience distress because of the discrepancy between the sex assig ned at birth
and their gender identity. Beyond the medical definition, the first term (‘gender
dysphoria’) has sometimes been used by participants in this study to describe the
experience of discomfort with certain parts of one’s body that are gendered7.
Receiving a gender dysphoria diagnosis is also a requirement for legal gender
recognition in some cou ntries. The second term (‘gender identity disorder’) is no
longer used in the latest International Classification of Diseases (11th Revision: ICD-
11) and is considered by some to be outdated and offensive8. It has only been used
in this report when referring to legal rulings or participants’ own word s.
1 Glossary available here:
2 Glossary available here:
3 Glossary available here:
4 A person’s trans status or history may not be the same as their gender identity.
5 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (2013) is the taxonomic and
diagnostic tool published by the American Psychiatric Association
6 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health
Problems (ICD). The ICD is a medical classification list by the World Health Organization (WHO),
which is currently now in its 11th edition.
7 This feeling may fluctuate throughout time and different contexts.
8 ICD-11 does not have a mental health diagnosis for trans identities. A new chapter was created,
Conditions related to sexual health, which includes a new depsychopathologised diagnostic
category "gender incongruence".

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