Glossary

Ace

(Adj.) Slang term for someone who identifies as asexual.

Agender

(Adj.) Describes a person who does not identify with any gender.

Akoiromantic

(Adj.) A sexual orientation in which an individual feels romantic attraction to others, but may not have a need for that affection to be reciprocated. Also known as lithsexual.

Allosexual

(Adj.) Describes a person who experiences sexual attraction or a desire for partnered sexuality.

Ally

(Noun) People who don't identify as LGBTQ+ but who support LGBTQ+ equality and challenge homophobia, either publicly or privately

Androgyne / Androgyny / Androgynous

(Adj.) Identifying and/or presenting as neither masculine nor feminine.

Androphilic

(Adj.) Refers to the attraction to males or masculinity, regardless of one’s own sex or gender identity (i.e., both heterosexual women and gay men could be described as androphilic in their sexual attraction).

Aromantic

(Adj.) Describes a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction.

Asexual

(Adj.) Describes a person who does not experience any form of sexual attraction. People who identify as asexual may or may not experience emotional, physical, or romantic attraction.

Bear/Bear Culture

(Adj./Noun) Originating within gay men’s subculture, someone who has facial/body hair and a larger body. Also used as an umbrella term to refer to a sense of comfort with masculinity and male bodies.

Bicurious

(Adj.) Describes a person who identifies as gay or straight but also has some interest in engaging in sexual behavior or a relationship with a person of a sex/gender they do not usually engage with.

Bigender

(Adj.) Describes a person whose gender identity is a combination of two or more genders. A bigender person may consciously or unconsciously shift between traditionally masculine and feminine behavior and expression while identifying with both genders (and sometimes a third gender).

Binding

(Verb) An action taken by transgender men and gender nonconforming individuals to minimize the appearance of or flatten breast tissue.

Biphobia

(Noun) The fear of, discrimination against, or hatred toward bisexuals, pansexuals and omnisexuals. Biphobia occurs within the LGBTQ+ community, as well as in general society.

Bisexual

(Adj.) Refers to the sexual orientation of a person who experiences sexual, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to persons of more than one gender, not necessarily equally or at the same time, in the same way, or to the same degree. Also known as "bi".

BlaQ/BlaQueer

(Adj.) Describes individuals of Black/African descent who recognize their LGBTQ+ identity as salient to their Blackness and vice versa.

Butch

(Adj./Noun) Having an appearance and/or other traits that are viewed as typically masculine. The term has sometimes been used within lesbian communities to refer to women whose gender expression (hair cut, clothing, etc.) embodies traditionally masculine traits and characteristics.

Cisgender

(Adj.) Refers to a match between gender identity and sex characteristics observed at birth, i.e., a person born with female anatomy who identifies as a girl/woman.

Cisnormativity

(Noun) The assumption that everyone is cisgender, and that cisgender people’s identities are more normal, valid, and worthy of respect than transgender people’s identities.

Cissexual

(Adj.) Another term for Cisgender that is not as frequently used. Characterized by a match between gender identity and sex characteristics observed at birth, i.e., a person born with female anatomy who identifies as a girl/woman.

Closeted

(Adj.) Hiding one's sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, either totally or partially.

Coming Out

(Noun or Verb) The process in which a person first acknowledges, accepts and appreciates their sexual identity or gender identity and begins to share that with others.

Constellation

(Noun) A way to describe the arrangement or structure of a polyamorous relationship.

Cross-dressing

(Verb) To wear clothes typically associated with people of a different gender for fun, self-expression, relaxation, etc. Cross-dressing is a form of gender expression and is not indicative of being transgender; persons who are cross-dressers are usually comfortable with their anatomy and do not wish to change it. Cross-dressing is not necessarily tied to erotic activity, and is not a reflection of sexual orientation.

Cross-sex hormone therapy

(Noun) A treatment to help individuals with gender dysphoria transition from their biological gender to their desired gender. Therapy may include use of estrogen or testosterone treatments to develop female or male secondary sex characteristics.

Demiromantic

(Adj.) Describes persons who do not experience romantic attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone.

Demisexual

(Adj.) A sexual orientation in which someone has little to no interest in sexual activity, although they may feel some degree of sexual attraction to people with whom they have a strong emotional bond. Demisexuals are considered to be on the asexual spectrum, meaning they are closely aligned with asexuality.

Disorders of Sex Development (DSD)

(Noun) Clinical terminology first introduced in 2006 to describe atypical sex development. DSD acts an umbrella classification for more than twenty distinct medical conditions. The term is controversial in part because the word “disorder” reinforces the view that atypical sex development is inherently problematic.

Drag / Drag King / Drag Queen

(Noun) The theatrical performance of one or multiple genders via dressing in the clothing of a different gender, or in a manner different form how one would usually dress. For instance, drag queens perform in highly feminine attire. Drag kings perform in highly masculine attire. Drag often presents a stereotyped image. Individuals who dress in “drag” may or may not consider themselves to be transgender. They may also identify as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or some other sexual orientation.

Emotional Attraction

(Noun) A capacity that evokes the desire to engage in emotionally intimate behavior, such as sharing, confiding, trusting, and inter-depending. Emotional attraction can be experienced in varying degrees.

Femme

(Adj./Noun) A (traditionally) feminine woman. Historically used in the lesbian community to refer to a feminine lesbian, and especially a feminine lesbian who is attracted to masculine or butch lesbians. This term is increasingly used by other LGBTQ+ people to describe gender expressions that claim and/or disrupt traditional constructs of femininity.

Feminine-of-center

(Adj.) A phrase that indicates the gender identity and gender expression of persons who understand and present themselves in a generally more feminine way without necessarily identifying as women.

Feminine-presenting

(Adj.) A way to describe someone who expresses gender in a more feminine way. Often confused with feminine-of-center, which generally include a focus on gender identity as well as expression.

Gay

(Adj.) Describes the sexual orientation of persons who are emotionally, sexually, and/or romantically attracted to persons of the same sex/gender. While the term is most often used to describe men, it can also be used more broadly to refer to both men and women (i.e., gay man, gay woman, gay people).

Gender

(Noun) A social construct used to classify a person as a man, woman, or some other identity and ascribe qualities of masculinity and femininity to people. Gender characteristics can change over time and vary between cultures.

Gender affirmation

(Noun) Preferred by some as an alternative to gender transition, to refer to the process by which some people strive to more closely align their outward appearance with internal feelings/perceptions of their gender. This may, but does not always, include hormone therapy, surgical or other medical procedures, and changing names, pronouns, identification documents, and more.

Gender-affirming

(Adj.) Describes social recognition and support for a person's gender identity and expression.

Gender binary

(Noun) A socially constructed system that defines gender as consisting solely of two categories--masculine/man and feminine/woman.

Gender discordance

(Noun) A discrepancy or misalignment between sex observed at birth and individual gender identity.

Gender diverse

An umbrella term that describes an ever-evolving array of gender identities that do not conform to the norms and stereotypes of an assigned sex.

Gender dysphoria

(Noun) Clinically significant distress caused when a person does not identify with the sex they were believed to be at birth. Can also describe a desire to change the characteristics that are the source of the distress, such as physical anatomy.

Gender expression

(Noun) The ways that a person communicates a gender identity to others such as dress, behavior, hairstyle, voice, and/or mannerisms.

Gender fluid

(Adj.) Describes a person who identifies their gender as shifting within a spectrum of gender identities and expressions. A person who is gender fluid may always feel like a mix of two (or more) genders, but may feel more one gender some days, and another gender other days. Gender-fluid people may or may not also identify as transgender.

Gender identity

(Noun) One’s deeply held, core sense of being a man, woman, or some other gender. A gender identity can be a combination of two or more genders (such as gender fluid), and some individuals don't identify with any gender at all--described as being agender.

Gender neutral

(Adj.) Not gendered. Examples include language to describe relationships, such as the terms "spouse" or "partner" instead of husband/boyfriend or wife/girlfriend. Similarly, gender-neutral restrooms are for use by all people, regardless of gender. The pronouns "they" and "ze" are gender neutral pronouns.

Gender non-conforming

(Adj.) Describes a person who does not behave in a way that conforms to traditional expectations for their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category. Also known as gender variant.

Gender perception

How others interpret a person's gender identity based on their gender expression.

Genderqueer

(Adj.) Describes a person whose gender identity is neither masculine nor feminine, is between or beyond gender, or is some combination of genders. Genderqueer people may or may not pursue any physical changes, such as hormonal or surgical intervention, and may or may not identify as transgender.

Gender role

(Noun) The role or behavior learned by a person as appropriate to their gender, determined by the prevailing cultural norms.

Gender transition

(Noun) The process by which some people strive to more closely align their outward appearance with their internal feelings/perceptions of their gender. This may, but does not always, include hormone therapy, surgical or other medical procedures, and changing names, pronouns, identification documents, and more. Sometimes simply referred to as "transition". See also gender-affirming/gender affirmation.

Gender variant

(Adj.) Describes a person who does not behave in a way that conforms to traditional expectations for their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category. Also known as gender non-conforming.

Gynephilic

(Adj.) Describes the attraction to females or femininity, regardless of one's own sex or gender identity (i.e., both heterosexual men and lesbian women could be described as gynephilic in their sexual attraction). Typically used within the field of behavioral science.

Hermaphrodite

(Noun) A previously used term for individuals with atypical sex anatomy that dates to the 14th century. The term hermaphrodite is no longer in use and considered offensive by many, due to its longtime association with the view that persons with atypical sex development are inherently problematic.

Heteronormativity

(Adj.) An (often subconscious) assumption, in individuals or in institutions, that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is superior to all other sexual orientations.

Heterosexism

(Noun) The assumption that all people are or should be heterosexual. Assumes that other sexual orientations are substandard, inferior, abnormal, marginal or invalid.

Heterosexual / Heterosexuality

(Adj.) Primary or exclusive sexual, emotional, and/or romantic attraction to a gender other than one's own. Typically this means a woman who is primarily attracted to men and vice versa. Also referred to as "straight".

Homophobia

(Noun) The aversion towards, fear and hatred of, or discomfort with people who are attracted to their gender and/or the expression of such an attraction. Homophobia is often expressed as discrimination, hostility, harassment and violence.

Homosexual / Homosexuality

(Noun) A term that describes a primary or exclusive sexual, emotional, and/or romantic attraction to persons of one's own sex/gender. The term is considered outdated by many in the LGBTQ+ community but is still used in some research contexts.

Intersex

(Noun) An umbrella term for more than twenty distinct medical conditions in which a person is born with physical sex markers (genitals, hormones, gonads, chromosomes, or secondary sex characteristics like breasts or body hair) that are neither clearly male nor clearly female. Also referred to as disorders of sexual development (DSD).

LGBTQ+

(Adj.) LGBTQ+ is an umbrella term used to refer to the community of sexual and gender minorities as a whole. The acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning, with the "+" representing additional sexual orientations and gender identities, such as persons who are intersex or asexual.

Lesbian

(Adj./Noun) Refers to the sexual orientation of women who are emotionally, sexually, and/or romantically attracted to women.

Lipstick Lesbian

(Noun) Usually refers to a lesbian with a feminine gender expression. Can be used as an affirmative term or in a derogatory way, depending on who is using it. Is sometimes also used to refer to a lesbian who is passing for heterosexual.

Lithsexual

(Adj.) Describes a sexual orientation in which an individual feels romantic attraction to others but may not have a need for their affection to be reciprocated or may not have a need to engage in a relationship with that person. Also known as Akoiromantic.

Masculine-of-center

(Adj.) A phrase that indicates the gender identity and gender expression of persons who understand and present themselves in a generally more masculine way without necessarily identifying as men.

Metrosexual

(Noun) a man with a strong aesthetic sense who spends more time, energy, or money on his appearance and grooming than is considered gender normative.

Microaggressions

(Noun) Brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral, or environmental exchanges, which, whether intentional or unintentional, communicate slights and insults toward marginalized identities.

Monosexism

(Noun) The belief that monosexuals are superior, including the assumption that everyone is attracted to only one gender, it is better to be monosexual than to be bisexual, only monosexual identities are real, or monosexual issues are the only ones deserving of attention.

Monosexual

(Adj.) Describes a person who has romantic, sexual, or affectional desire for one gender only. May be used for people who identify as straight, gay, lesbian, etc.

Neutrois /Neutrosis

(Adj.) Describes a non-binary gender identity that falls under the genderqueer umbrella. There is no one definition of Neutrois, the idea being that each person that self-identifies as neutrois experiences their gender differently. The most common neutrois gender identities are: gender neutral, null-gender, neither male nor female, genderless and/or agender.

Non-binary

(Adj.) An identity that does not conform to traditional two-sided categories of sex, gender, and sexual orientation, such as male-female, man-woman, and gay-straight.

Outing

(Noun or verb) When someone discloses information about another’s sexual orientation, intersex status or gender identity without their knowledge and/or consent.

Pansexual / Omnisexual

(Adj.) Describes a person who experiences emotional, romantic, and/or physical attraction to persons of all gender identities and gender expressions. An alternative to bisexual, which evokes the idea of an attraction to only two genders.

Passing

(Adj./Verb) Transgender people being accepted as, or able to “pass for,” a member of their self-identified gender identity (regardless of sex assigned at birth) without being identified as transgender; Also an LGB/queer individual who is perceived as straight.

Polyamory

(Noun) The practice of consensually being in/open to multiple romantic and/or sexual relationships at the same time (with knowledge and consent of all partners), including: open relationships, polyfidelity (which involves multiple romantic relationships with sexual contact restricted to those), and sub-relationships (which denote distinguishing between a primary relationship or relationships and various secondary relationships).

Polygender / Pangender

(Adj.) Describes a person whose gender identity is comprised of multiple genders.

Polysexual

(Adj.) Distinct from Pansexuality, polysexuality is the sexual or romantic attraction to multiple, but not all, possible genders.

Pomosexual

(Adj.) Describes a person who does not define their sexual orientation in terms of conventional labels or classifications (e.g., gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, etc.).

Pronouns

(Noun) Traditional examples include “she/her/hers” or “he/him/his”. Some people prefer gender-neutral pronouns, such as “ze/hir/hirs,” or “they/them/ theirs”. Some people prefer no pronouns at all.

QPOC / QTPOC

(Abbreviation) Initialisms that stand for queer people of color and queer and/or trans people of color.

Queer

(Adj.) Alternative term to LGBTQ+. An umbrella term for anyone who does not identify as heterosexual. Historically a negative term and insult, queer is being reclaimed by many LGBTQ+ people—particularly youth—as a source of pride and political identity. The term is valued by some for its defiance, by some because it can be inclusive of the entire community, and by others who find it to be an appropriate term to describe their more fluid identities. “Queer” is still disliked by some people in the LGBTQ+ community and its use by straight people can be considered offensive. Due to its varying meanings, this word should only be used when self-identifying or quoting someone who self-identifies as queer (i.e. “My cousin identifies as genderqueer.”)

Questioning

(Adj.) When a person is in the process of discovery and exploration about their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or a combination thereof.

Same-sex attraction (SSA)

(Noun) A term often used by to describe attraction to persons of the same sex/gender.

Same Gender Loving (SGL)

(Adj.) Sometimes used by members of the African American community to express a non-straight sexual orientation.

Sex / Sex assigned at birth / Biological sex

(Noun) A person's sex (male, female, or intersex) is often determined based on the appearance of the genitalia, either in ultrasound or at birth. In reality, biological sex is more complicated, referring to a combination of anatomical, physiological, genetic, and physical attributes. These include genitalia, gonads, hormone levels, hormone receptors, chromosomes, genes, and secondary sex characteristics. The phrase "sex assigned at birth" is used by some to emphasize that genitalia alone are not always a sufficient indication of a person's sex, as well as the fact that a person's gender identity is not always aligned with the sex characteristics observed at birth.

Sexuality

(Noun) The components of a person that include their biological sex, sexual orientation, sexual behaviors, etc.

Sexual identity

(Noun) The way a person views and understands their sexual orientation, such as gay, straight, bisexual, or some other orientation.

Sexual orientation

(Noun) An enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction or non-attraction to other people. People use a variety of labels to describe their sexual orientation. Some of the better-known labels or categories include bisexual, pansexual, asexual, lesbian, gay or straight. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Transgender and gender non-conforming people may identify with any sexual orientation, and their sexual orientation may or may not change before, during or after gender transition.

Skoliosexual

(Adj.) Term describing an individual who may be sexually or romantically attracted to non-binary identified people.

Stealth

(Adj.) A term to describe when a transgender person is not “out” as transgender, and is perceived or known by others as cisgender.

Straight

(Adj.) Another term for heterosexual. Refers to the sexual, emotional, and/or romantic attraction to a gender other than one's own. Typically this means a woman who is primarily attracted to men and vice versa.

Structural stigma

(Noun) Societal conditions, cultural norms, and institutional policies that constrain or restrict the opportunities, resources, and wellbeing of a stigmatized community.

Trigender

(Adj.) A non-binary gender identity that describes an individual shifting among three genders: male, female, and a nonbinary gender.

Transfeminine

(Adj.) Relating to an individual who was born with male sex characteristics but whose gender identity is more feminine than masculine.

Transgender / Trans*

(Adj.) Describes a person whose gender identity does not match their sex characteristics observed at birth. People who identify as transgender (sometimes shortened to "trans") may or may not decide to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically to match their gender identity. This word is also sometimes used as a broad umbrella term to describe those who transcend conventional expectations of gender identity or expression, such as people who identify as genderqueer, gender variant, gender diverse, or androgynous.

Transmasculine

(Adj.) Relating to an individual who was born with female sex characteristics but whose gender identity is more masculine than feminine.

Transphobia

(Noun) The aversion towards, fear and hatred of, or discomfort with people who are transgender or gender ambiguious. Transphobia is often expressed as discrimination, hostility, harassment and violence.

Transition

(Noun) The process by which some people strive to more closely align their outward appearance with their internal feelings/perceptions of their gender. This may, but does not always, include hormone therapy, surgical or other medical procedures, and changing names, pronouns, identification documents, and more. Often referred to as gender transition.

Transsexual (TS)

(Adj./Noun) An older term that describes a person whose assigned sex assigned at birth and gender identity do not align. Persons who identify as transsexual may or may not undergo medical treatment to change their physical sex to match their gender identity through hormone treatments and/or surgery. The term transexual has largely been replaced by transgender, to avoid confusing gender identity with sexual orientation.

Transvestite

(Noun) An outdated term that is now considered pejorative (the preferred term is cross-dresser). Describes individuals who regularly or occasionally wear clothes traditionally and culturally associated with people of a different gender for fun, self-expression, relaxation, etc. Transvestites/cross-dressers are usually comfortable with their anatomy and do not wish to change it; their gender expression is not necessarily tied to erotic activity, and is not a reflection of sexual orientation.

Trans man/FtM

(Noun) A transgender person who was assigned female at birth but identifies as a man.

Trans woman/MtF

(Noun) A transgender person who was an assigned male at birth but identifies as woman.

True Hermaphrodite

(Noun) An outdated clinical term used to describe an individual’s unequivocal and full presentation of both testicular and ovarian sexual organs. Today this condition is clinically referred to as “Ovo-Testicular Disorder of Sexual Differentiation” (OVO-DSD) under the DSD classification. See also Disorder of Sex Development (DSD).

Two-spirit

(Adj.) A term traditionally used within Native American communities to recognize individuals who possess qualities or fulfill both masculine and feminine roles. Adopted by some members of the LGBTQ+ community to describe their gender identity.