Definition of "Trans*" with an Asterisk

Pronounced "TRANS" or "TRANS-as-TER-isk.

Related terms include transgender, transsexual, nonbinary, and gender spectrum.

"This organization is open and accepting toward trans* people, including transgender, transsexual, transvestite, and nonbinary identities.

The term trans*, with an asterisk, is used widely within the LGBT+ community to refer to people who are transgender, or self-identfy with related terms and concepts. The asterisk in "trans*" is meant to indicate any and all suffixes that may follow the prefix "trans," including -gender, -sexual, and -vestite. It can also connote related identities that may not include the prefix "trans," such identities on the nonbinary portion of the gender spectrum, including agender, genderfluid, and bigender.

The asterisk in trans* is a source of controversy within the community. Because asterisks are frequently used in reference to invalidating footnotes, such as 'Buy One, Get One Free*," some people view the asterisk as invalidating and as an implication that a person's gender identity is something that requires an explanation or may not be genuine. There are vocal proponents on both sides of the debate regarding the use of the term trans*. Some suggested alternatives include "trans+," "trans, etc.," or, simply, "trans."

Trans* with an asterisk first gained popularity in the early 2010s and may be falling out of favor due to controversy regarding its use. Its origins are the prefix "trans-" meaning "across from" and used in the terms transgender and transsexual, and the asterisk, which has many meanings and connotations within the English language.