OtherWise 103

Definitions, Terms, and Etiquette

This course will introduce the "Terms Paradox," while also reviewing a variety of definitions, do's and don't's, and best practices. Confused about pronouns, medical jargon, out-of-date terms, and how to work with community? This course is designed to help you navigate it all!
OtherWise Glossary: Definitions and Language (next to a word cloud highlighting words like transgender, intersex, two spirit, and OtherWise)


Pre-Requisite: Being Brave Together: A Transfaith Primer (free) frames dialogue expectations for all OtherWise Academy discussion forums.

  • Being Brave Together is strongly recommended as a way to understand our dialogue expectations. However, you can begin the OtherWise 101 series without that 10 minute experience, if you are too eager to wait.

Certificate Program: Transfaith for Allies (free).

  • The Transfaith for Allies introductory course is also a good place to start your journey through the Transfaith for Allies certificate program and provides a different kind of starting point.

Designed for: English-speaking adults, regardless of religious affiliation or professional aspirations.

  • The content may also be appropriate for younger audiences as well.

Hours of Video: 60 minutes

OtherWise Voices: Mx Chris Paige, Säm Hajarian, Nic Sakurai, Alok Vaid-Menon

Status: Beta testing.

This course is more than a glossary. It is a guide. More extensive discussions of intersex, gender creative, transgender, nonbinary occur in OtherWise 102. Here we look at language and vocabulary, how to use it, and why it matters.

We will introduce the "Terms Paradox," talk about pronouns, and explore best practices for language use around sex, gender, and sexuality including insight into cultural, historical, and medical considerations. 

However, we also invite you to reflect on why language matters and how you intend to use it. Too often, we lean into "mastery" rather than respect, humility, and consent. This course will help you to think about power dynamics underneath the language you choose.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome and Instructions

    • Welcome to the OtherWise Learning Community

    • Dialogue Expectations

    • Thinkific Orientation (optional)

  • 2

    Terms and Definitions, Part 1 (22.5 minutes)

    • Who Decides? What's at Stake?

    • Language Is Evolving...

    • Basic Western Grammar

    • The Terms Paradox

    • Medical and Non-Medical Terms

    • Strategies

    • Intersex (2 min)

    • Related Resources: Terms and Definitions

    • Review

    • Reflect

  • 3

    Interlude: Two Kinds of Curiosity (9)

    • How to talk (and listen) to transgender people (6.5 min)

    • Two Kind of Curiosity (2.5 min)

  • 4

    Pronouns (15.5)

    • What's the Trouble with Pronouns? (2 min)

    • Sharing Pronouns (3 min)

    • Proper Pronouns and "Preferred" Pronouns (2 min)

    • They/Them Singular Pronouns (2 min)

    • Pronouns, Neo-Pronouns, and Opinions on Pronouns (3.5 min)

    • Who Decides? What's at Stake? (3 min)

    • Related Resources: Pronouns

    • Review

    • Reflect

  • 5

    Interlude: Don't Forget to Practice

    • Yes. You Really Do Need to Practice. (2 min) (R)

  • 6

    Terms and Definitions, Part 2 (21 min)

    • Sex, Gender, Sexual Orientation (2 min)

    • Birth Characteristics (4 min)

    • Medical Interventions (3.5 min)

    • More Controversial Terms

    • Gender-Inclusive Language (5 min)

    • Gender Expression (3 min)

    • Western and Non-Western Terms

    • Revisiting Gender, Identity, and Culture (1.5 min)

    • What's Going on Here? (1.5 min)

    • Related Resources: Building Your Vocabulary

  • 7

    Interlude: Whose in Control?

    • Mastery, Mystery, and Presence

  • 8

    More Etiquette

    • It's time to end our assumptions about the trans community. (1.5 min)

    • The Difference Between Gender Non-Binary and Gender Non-Conforming (4 min)

    • Ask before Touching (3 min)

    • A Few More Terms Surrounding Social Encounters (4 min)

    • Why Bother? (1 min)

    • Related Resources: More Etiquette

    • Review

  • 9


    • Summary: OtherWise 103

    • About the Transfaith for Allies certificate

    • Final Project

  • 10

    Next Steps...

    • Before you go...

More Options for Getting Started

  • Free

    FreeOtherWise 103: Definitions, Terms, and Etiquette

    Interested? Get Started with OtherWise 103 now!
    Enroll Now
  • Free

    FreeBeing Brave Together: A Transfaith Primer

    A pre-requisite for most OtherWise Academy course work
    Enroll Now
  • Free

    FreeTransfaith for Allies: An Introduction

    When you are ready to move into deeper relationship...
    Enroll Now
  • Free

    FreeOtherWise 101: Getting Started

    A great place to start thinking about sex, gender, and sexuality!
    Enroll Now
  • Free

    FreeOtherWise 102: Key Terms and Concepts

    An exploration of intersex, gender creative, transgender, and nonbinary identities
    Enroll Now
  • $15.00 / month

    $15.00 / monthMember

    Invest in the OtherWise Academy--and lock in lifetime savings!
    Join Now