Cross-cultural issues in trans terminology

Spanish and Greek applications of globalised language


  • Konstantinos Argyriou Institute of Philosophy (Spanish National Research Council, CSIC)



trans terminology, gender translation, monolingualism, cross-cultural comparison, Spanish, Greek


This article examines the applicability of trans terminology in non-Anglophone linguistic environments, particularly in Spanish and Modern Greek, two grammatical gender languages. The aim is to demonstrate the importance of cross-language comparisons that question the all-encompassing pretensions and universalist biases which still permeate the Western gender structure. Drawing on the methodological tools of double vision uncertainty, trans-crip-t time and translatxrsation, the article examines the particularities of both languages in terms of gender language scripts and representations, and offers a sociocultural analysis of how norms of the masculine generic, female semantic subordination and presumed binarism and cisgenderism have been consolidated, much to the detriment of sexual and gender diversity. Although this reflection stays within the Western paradigm, it focuses on peripheral models of gender diversity that help to deconstruct the binary and to queer gender in open dialogue with transnational realities, and calls for more cross-cultural and cross-language comparisons.

Author Biography

Konstantinos Argyriou, Institute of Philosophy (Spanish National Research Council, CSIC)

Konstantinos Argyriou is a PhD candidate in the Department of Science, Technology and Society of the Institute of Philosophy (Spanish National Research Council, CSIC), under the grant Formación de Profesorado Universitario (FPU17/03809) of the Spanish Ministry of Universities. He is developing his thesis project in interdisciplinary gender studies (Autonomous University of Madrid).


Abiétar, Daniel G. (2019) Sólo dos? La medicina ante la ficción política del binarismo sexo-género [Only two? Medicine in the face of the political fiction of the sex-gender binarism]. Oviedo, Spain: Cambalache.

Apostolidou, Anna (2018) Queering the Motherland: Male Same-Sex Desire and the Greek Nation. Beau Bassin, Mauritius: LAP Lambert.

Asimakoulas, Dimitris (2012) Dude (looks like a lady): hijacking transsexual identity in the subtitled version of Strella by Panos Koutras. The Translator 18(1): 47–75.

Aultman, B. Lee-Harrison (2016) Epistemic injustice and the construction of transgender legal subjects. Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Women’s & Gender Studies 15: 11–34. Retrieved 12 November 2022 from

Baril, Alexandre (2016) ‘Doctor, am I an Anglophone trapped in a Francophone body?’: an intersectional analysis of ‘trans-crip-t time’ in ableist, cisnormative, Anglonormative societies. Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies 10(2): 155–172. Retrieved 12 November 2022 from

Baron, Dennis (2020) What’s Your Pronoun: Beyond He & She. New York: Liveright.

Bettcher, Talia Mae (2007) Evil deceivers and make-believers: on transphobic violence and the politics of illusion. Hypatia 22(3): 43–65.

Bettcher, Talia Mae (2014) Trapped in the wrong theory: rethinking trans oppression and resistance. Signs 39(2): 383–406.

Canakis, Costas (2015) The desire for identity and the identity of desire: language, gender and sexuality in the Greek context. Gender and Language 9(1): 59–81.

Concilio, Arielle A. (2016) Pedro Lemebel and the translatxrsation: on a gender-queer translation praxis. TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 3(3–4): 462–484.

Démont, Marc (2018) On three modes of translating queer literary texts. In Brian James Baer and Klaus Kaindl (eds), Queering Translation, Translating the Queer: Theory, Practice, Activism 157–171. New York: Routledge.

Fausto-Sterling, Anne (2000) Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality. New York: Basic Books.

Fricker, Miranda and Jenkins, Katherine (2017) Epistemic injustice, ignorance, and trans experiences. In Ann Garry, Serene J. Khader and Alison Stone (eds), The Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy 268–278. New York: Routledge.

Gramling, David and Dutta, Aniruddha (2016) Introduction – special issue: Translating transgender. TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 3(3–4): 333–356.

Hochdorn, Alexander, Faleiros, Vicente P., Camargo, Brigido V. and Cottone, Paolo F. (2016) Talking gender: how (con)text shapes gender – the discursive positioning of transgender people in prison, work and private settings. International Journal of Transgenderism 17(3–4): 212–229.

Hutton, Christopher (2017) Legal sex, self-classification and gender self-determination. Law and Humanities 11(1): 64–81.

Jarrín, Alvaro (2016) Untranslatable subjects: travesti access to public health care in Brazil. TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 3(3–4): 357–375.

Josephson, Jyl and Einarsdóttir, Þorgerður (2016) Language purism and gender: Icelandic trans* activists and the Icelandic linguistic gender binary. TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 3(3–4): 376–387.

Leino, Unni (2016) Conceptualizing sex, gender, and trans: an Anglo-Finnish perspective. TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly 3(3–4): 448–461.

Lindqvist, Anna, Renström, Emma Aurora and Gustafsson Sendén, Marie (2019) Reducing a male bias in language? Establishing the efficiency of three different gender-fair language strategies. Sex Roles 81: 109–117.

Lomotey, Benedicta Adokarley (2015) Language reform: a critical look at its chances of success in the Spanish context. Gender and Language 9(3): 435–460.

Lugones, María (2007) Heterosexualism and the colonial/modern gender system. Hypatia 22(1): 186–219.

Magliozzi, Devon, Saperstein, Aliya and Westbrook, Laurel (2016) Scaling up: representing gender diversity in survey research. Socius 2.

Martín, María (2019) Ni por favor ni por favora: cómo hablar con lenguaje inclusivo sin que se note (demasiado) [Neither por favor nor por favora: How to use inclusive language without it being (too) obvious]. Madrid: Catarata.

Mérida Jiménez, Rafael M. (2016) Transbarcelonas: Cultura, género y sexualidad en la España del siglo XX [Transbarcelonas: culture, gender and sexuality in 20th century Spain]. Barcelona: Bellaterra.

Moore, Robert (2015) From revolutionary monolingualism to reactionary multilingualism: top-down discourses of linguistic diversity in Europe, 1794–present. Language & Communication 44: 19–30.

Nissen, Uwe Kjær (2002) Gender in Spanish: tradition and innovation. In Marlis Hellinger and Hadumod Bußmann (eds), Gender Across Languages: The Linguistic Representation of Women and Men, Vol. 2 251–279. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Ntetsika, Maria (2015) [Space as a domain of negotiation of the dominant gender norm: the case of trans women in Athens]. Master’s thesis, Greek National Polytechnical University.

Papanikolaou, Dimitris (2014) Mapping/unmapping: the making of queer Athens. In Matt Cook and Jennifer V. Evans (eds), Queer Cities, Queer Cultures: Europe Since 1945 151–170. London: Bloomsbury.

Papanikolaou, Dimitris (2018) Critically queer and haunted: Greek identity, crisis-capes and doing queer history in the present. Journal of Greek Media & Culture 4(2): 167–186.

Pavlidou, Theodossia-Soula (2003) Greek: women, gender and Modern Greek. In Marlis Hellinger and Hadumod Bußmann (eds), Gender Across Languages: The Linguistic Representation of Women and Men, Vol. 3 175–199. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Pennycook, Alastair (2010) Language as a Local Practice. London: Routledge.

Petropoulos, Ilias (1993) [1971]. [Kaliarda: an etymological dictionary of Greek homosexuals’ slang]. Athens: Nefeli.

Platero, R. Lucas (2020) Redistribution and recognition in Spanish transgender laws. Politics and Governance 8(3): 253–265.

Platero, R. Lucas, Rosón, María and Ortega, Esther (eds) (2017) Barbarismos Queer y Otras Esdrújulas [Queer barbarisms and other proparoxytones]. Barcelona: Bellaterra.

Santaemilia, José (2013) Translating international gender-equality institutional/legal texts: the example of ‘gender’ in Spanish. Gender and Language 7(1): 75–96.

Sczesny, Sabina, Formanwicz, Magda and Moser, Franziska (2016) Can gender-fair language reduce gender stereotyping and discrimination? Frontiers in Psychology 7.

Shklarov, Svetlana (2007) Double vision uncertainty: the bilingual researcher and the ethics of cross-language research. Qualitative Health Research 17(4): 529–538.

Spurlin, William J. (2014) Queering translation. In Sandra Bermann and Catherine Porter (eds), A Companion to Translation Studies 298–309. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.

Stryker, Susan, Currah, Paisley and Moore, Lisa Jean (2008) Trans-, trans, or transgender? WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 36(3–4): 11–22.

Temple, Bogusia (2006) Being bilingual: issues for cross-language research. Journal of Research Practice 2(1): article M2.

Theodorakopoulos, Loukas (2004) [O Kaiadas]. Athens: Polychromos Planitis.

Tzanaki, Dimitra (2016) [History of non-conformity]. Athens: Asini.

Vaidakis, Nikolaos (2020) Conceptual controversies regarding the terms gender and sex. Psychiatriki 31(3): 271–272.

West, Candace and Zimmerman, Don H. (1987) Doing gender. Gender & Society 1(2): 125–151.

World Health Organisation (2018) International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 11th ed. Retrieved 12 November 2022 from

Zimman, Lal (2017) Transgender language reform: some challenges and strategies for promoting trans-affirming, gender-inclusive language. Journal of Language and Discrimination 1(1): 84–105.



How to Cite

Argyriou, K. (2023). Cross-cultural issues in trans terminology: Spanish and Greek applications of globalised language. Gender and Language, 16(4), 382–407.