Updated: DECEMBER 23, 2019

Trans is an umbrella term that's often used to describe all the different identities within the gender identity spectrum. It is increasingly being followed by an asterisk, and written as "trans*." According to social justice advocate Sam Killermann, "trans" without an asterisk is best applied to transsexual or transgender men and women; adding an asterisk broadens its scope to include all people who don't identify themselves as cisgender.

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Trans* is a term used to refer to all non-cisgender identities. Beyond that distinction, it encompasses an incredibly broad spectrum of gender identities and sexual orientations. The more recent inclusion of the asterisk is believed to have come from the way the symbol may be used in computer search logic, where an asterisk acts as a command for the search engine to fill in the blank. The asterisk, of course, isn't accepted by everyone, but it does reflect a growing movement to create language around the diverse nature of gender and gender identity.


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