Glossary

Ace

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

Agender

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

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. Learn More

Allosexual

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

Ally

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

Androgyne / Androgyny / Androgynous

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

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). Learn More

Aromantic

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

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

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). Learn More

Binding

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

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. Learn More

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". Learn More

BlaQ/BlaQueer

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

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

Cissexual

(Adj.) Another term for cisgender that is not frequently used as it confuses the use of the terms sex and gender. 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. Learn More

Closeted

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

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. Learn More

Constellation

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

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

Demiromantic

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

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. Learn More

Disorder 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. Some prefer "difference" or "variation" of sex development as an alternative and more neutral description. Learn More

Double-Outsider

(Noun) Someone who experiences multiple, compounding disadvantages due to overlapping, systemic inequities.

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, straight or some other sexual orientation. Learn More

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. Learn More

Eunuch

(Noun) Refers to a human male who has been castrated, typically to serve a specific social function. Eunuchs served in a variety of roles in ancient societies. Learn More

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

FTX

(Adj.) Stands for Female To X. Describes a person who was assigned female at birth based on their outward appearance but who has a nonbinary gender identity, such as genderqueer or gender non-conforming. Learn More

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). Learn More

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

Gender-affirming

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

Gender binary

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

Gender discordance

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

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

Gender expression

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

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

Gender perception

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

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. Learn More

Gender role

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

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

Heteroflexible

(Adj.) Describes a person who identifies as primarily or "mostly" straight but who at times experiences same-sex attraction. A person who identifies as heteroflexible may or may not act on their same-sex attraction. Learn More

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. Learn More

Heterosexism

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

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". Learn More

Hijra

(Noun) Refers to a person in the Indian subcontinent who does not conform to conventional understandings of male and female. Legally recognized as a third gender today, hijras have been a part of Indian culture for centuries but have also suffered marginalization and abuse. Learn More

Homoflexible

(Adj.) Describes a person who identifies as primarily or "mostly" gay or lesbian but who sometimes experiences opposite-sex attraction. A person who identifies as homoflexible may or may not act on their opposite-sex attraction. Learn More

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

Intergendered

(Adj.) Refers to a person who identifies across or beyond male/female. Learn More

Intersectionality

(Noun) A framework for understanding how social characteristics such as race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, age, etc., combine together to shape individual identities and experiences, including experiences of privilege and/or discrimination.

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). Learn More

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. Learn More

Lesbian

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

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

Microaggressions

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

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

Muxe

(Noun) A third gender category. In the Zapotec culture of Southern Mexico, refers to a person who is assigned male at birth but whose gender identity and expression are not conventionally masculine. Learn More

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

Outing

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

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

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). Learn More

Polygender / Pangender

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

Polysexual

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

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.). Learn More

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. Learn More

QPOC / QTPOC

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

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 queer.”) Learn More

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. Learn More

Same-sex attraction (SSA)

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

Same Gender Loving (SGL)

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

Sapiosexual

(Noun) A person who finds intelligence romantically and/or sexually attractive. Learn More

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. Learn More

Sexuality

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

Sexual identity

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

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. Learn More

Skoliosexual

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

Stealth

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

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. Learn More

Structural stigma

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

Trigender

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

Transfeminine

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

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. Learn More

Transmasculine

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

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

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. Learn More

Trans man/FtM

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

Trans woman/MtF

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

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). Learn More

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. Learn More