The terms below come from several sources, may not be concrete, and different people may have different definitions of certain terms. This is not a complete list, but they are provided as a starting place for discussion.
Aesthetic Attraction- A feeling one has when they are attracted to someone’s physical appearance, without a sexual component.
Ally- A cisgender and/or straight person who supports and honors sexual diversity, challenges heterosexist and cissexist remarks and behaviors, and explores and understands these forms of bias within themself. Also: a supporter.
Androgynous- This word describes both a gender identity as well as a manner of gender presentation. Those who identify as androgynous may identify as between man and woman or something else entirely. Those who present androgynous may dress in a manner that incorporates clothing that is traditionally for men and clothing that’s traditionally for women.
Asexual- A person who does not experience sexual attraction or has lost interest in sex but may still have romantic interests.
Bigender- One might identify as bigender if they connect highly with two gender identities. A person may identify as a man and as a woman or as a man and as genderqueer, and so on. They can relate to both at once, or sometimes switch between the two.
Biological Sex- The classification of people as male, female, or intersex. Determined at birth by the doctor’s interpretation of our chromosomes, hormones, and our internal and external genitalia. Most commonly people are female assign or male assigned at birth (See: FAAB, MAAB, and Intersex).
Bisexual- A bisexual person is physically, romantically, emotionally and/or relationally attracted to both people of the same gender and of different genders, though not necessarily simultaneously; a bisexual person may not be equally attracted to all genders.
Butch- A term used by some lesbian and bisexual women to describe their masculine style of gender presentation and may describe dominant gender roles they ascribe to. This term is less commonly used in the gay and bisexual male culture.
Cisgender- A term meaning "not transgender," that is, having a gender identity or performing in a gender role that society considers appropriate for one's sex.
Cissexism- Cissexism is the attitude that being cisgender is the only valid gender identity. Cissexism often takes the forms of ignoring transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. For example: bathrooms are for “men” and “women”, “Ladies and Gentlemen”, etc.
Closeted- Closeted is an adjective used to describe a person who is not open about his or her sexual orientation.
Coming out- Coming out is the process in which a person first acknowledges, accepts and appreciates his or her sexual orientation or gender identity and begins to self-disclose to others.
Cross-dresser- A cross-dresser is a person who occasionally wears clothes and/or makeup and accessories traditionally associated with people of a different gender. Cross-dressers are usually comfortable with the sex they were assigned at birth and do not wish to change it. Cross-dressing should not to be confused with drag performers. See drag.
Cultural Competence- Cultural competence is the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures. Culturally competent organizations should have a defined set of values and principles and demonstrate behaviors, attitudes, policies and structures that enable them to work effectively cross-culturally.
Demisexual- A word to describe a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. This identity is a part of the asexual spectrum.
D/L or Down Low- Label adopted by some African-American men (and recently, many Latino men) who seek same sex relations, but do not necessarily identify as gay or bisexual.
Drag- An art form where a person appears in clothes assigned to the opposite sex on a temporary basis; they may or may not have any opposite sex expression in their usual life. Generally in reference to an act or performance.
Dyke- Dyke is a derogatory term for a lesbian. Some lesbians have reclaimed this word and use it as a positive term, but it is still considered offensive when used by the general population.
Fag(got)- Faggot (or fag) is a derogatory term for a gay man. Some gay men have reclaimed this word and use it as a positive term, but it is still considered offensive when used by the general population.
Female-Assigned At Birth (FAAB)- A person who is FAAB was assigned the female sex at birth, most likely based on how that person’s genitalia were perceived by the attending physician. Where this assignment corresponds with someone’s gender identity they are said to be cisgender. Similar terms: Designated Female At Birth (DFAB), Coercively Assign Female At Birth (CAFAB).
Female-to-male (FTM) transsexual- See ―Transgender man.
Femme- A term used by some lesbian and bisexual women to describe their feminine style of gender presentation and may describe submissive gender roles they ascribe to. This term is less commonly used in the gay and bisexual male culture.
Gay- Gay is an adjective used to describe a person whose enduring physical, romantic, emotional and/or relational attractions are to people of the same gender.
Gender Expression- Gender expression refers to all of a person‘s external characteristics and behaviors — such as dress, grooming, mannerisms, speech patterns and social interactions — that are socially identified with a particular gender. Social or cultural norms can vary widely and some characteristics that may be accepted as masculine, feminine or neutral in one culture may not be assessed similarly in another. Typically, transgender people seek to make their gender expression match their gender identity, rather than their sex assigned at birth. Gender expression is not necessarily an indication of sexual orientation.
Gender Fluid- This gender identity is when an individual’s gender can flow and fluctuate from month to month or even day to day. They may fluctuate between man and woman or through multiple genders.
Gender Identity- Gender identity refers to a person‘s innate, deeply felt psychological sense of gender, which may or may not correspond to the person‘s assigned sex at birth.
Gender Non-Conforming or Gender Variant- A person who does not subscribe to gender expressions or roles expected of them by society. Includes those who are genderqueer, gender fluid, agender (genderless), bigender, etc.
Gender Role- Gender role is the set of roles and behaviors assigned to females and males by society. Our culture recognizes two basic gender roles: masculine (having the qualities attributed to males) and feminine (having the qualities attributed to females).
Gender and/or Sexuality Minority (GSM)- This term can be used instead of LGBTQ, as many people are still not comfortable using the word queer. It describes those who are not heterosexual and/or not cisgender.
Genderqueer- Genderqueer is a term people use to describe their own nonstandard gender identity, or used by those who do not identify as entirely male or entirely female.
GLBTQ- Acronym used to describe people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. Implies inclusivity to people of all gender and sexual orientations. Also seen as LGBTQ.
Hate Crime- An action that causes physical, mental or emotional harm to someone simply because they are part of, or thought to be a part of, the GBLTQ (or other diverse) community. Often the result of homophobia, this can also be seen as "gay bashing." Many states have laws that offer stricter criminal penalties for committing hate crimes.
Heterosexism- Heterosexism is the attitude that heterosexuality is the only valid sexual orientation. Heterosexism often takes the form of ignoring lesbians, gay men and bisexuals. For example: a feature on numerous Valentine‘s Day cards that omits same-sex couples.
Heterosexual- Heterosexual is the adjective used to describe people whose enduring physical, romantic, emotional and/or spiritual attractions are to people of the opposite sex. Also: straight
Homophobia- Homophobia is a fear, hatred of or discomfort with people who love and are sexually attracted to members of the same sex.
Homosexual- The term "homosexual" is an outdated clinical term considered derogatory and offensive by many gay people. Gay and/or lesbian are more commonly accepted terms to describe people who are attracted to members of the same sex.
Internalized homophobia- Internalized homophobia refers to the self-identification of societal stereotypes by lesbian, gay and bisexual people, causing them to dislike and resent their sexual orientation.
Intersex- People born with varying degrees of biological aspects of both biological males and biological females. Often “assigned” a male or female identity at birth that may not correspond with identities later in life.
Lesbian- Lesbian refers to a woman whose enduring physical, romantic, emotional and/or relational attractions are to other women.
Lifestyle- The term "lifestyle" is inaccurately used to refer to the sexual orientation of lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Avoid using this term. As there is no one heterosexual or straight lifestyle, there is no one lesbian, gay, bisexual lifestyle.
Living openly- Living openly refers to a state in which LGBT people are open with others about being LGBT how and when they choose to be.
Male-Assigned At Birth (MAAB)- A person who is MAAB was assigned the male sex at birth, most likely based on how that person’s genitalia were perceived by the attending physician. Where this assignment corresponds with someone’s gender identity they are said to be cisgender. Similar terms: Designated Male At Birth (DMAB), Coercively Assign Male At Birth (CAMAB).
Male-to-female (MTF) transsexual- See ―Transgender woman.
Misgender- To misgender someone is to ascribe a gender to that person that does not correspond to their actual gender identity. Some actions that would be misgendering are using the wrong pronoun or using a gender specific word for said person (“Miss” or “man”, for example).
Outing- Outing refers to the act of exposing someone‘s sexual orientation or gender identity as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender to others, when that person is not open about it.
Pansexual- Defined as someone who is attracted to other people regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Essentially, they are “gender blind”.
Passing- Passing is a term used by transgender people to mean that they are seen as the gender with which they self-identify. For example, a transgender man (assigned female sex at birth) who most people see as a man.
Queer- Queer describes all people who are not heterosexual or who do not conform to rigid notions of gender and sexuality. For many LGBT people this word has a negative connotation; however, some are comfortable using it.
Questioning- Questioning refers to people who are uncertain as to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Romantic Attraction- A feeling that causes people to desire a romantic relationship with a specific other person(s).
Same-gender loving- Some prefer to use “same-gender loving” instead of “lesbian” or “gay” to express attraction to and love of people of the same gender.
Sensual Attraction- The attraction one feels to engage in sensual, usually tactile, forms of affection and/or intimacy with someone (that lacks sexual intent).
Sexual Attraction- A feeling of wanting to be sexual with another person(s). This can often occur because of emotional or physical factors, but not always.
Sexual Orientation- Sexual orientation is an enduring physical, romantic, emotional and/or relational attraction to another person; may be a same-sex orientation, different-sex orientation or bisexual/pansexual orientation.
Sexual Preference- Sexual preference is sometimes used to mean the same thing as sexual orientation. Many lesbian, gay and bisexual people find this term to be offensive because it implies that their sexual orientation is a choice.
Trans- Inclusive term to refer to anyone who is transsexual, transgender, intersex, or genderqueer.
Transgender- Transgender is used as an umbrella term for people who experience and/or express their gender differently from what others might expect based on the sex they were assigned at birth. This includes people who are transsexual, cross-dressers or otherwise gender non-conforming. Transgender people may identify as: trans man or female-to male (FTM), trans woman or male-to-female (MTF), genderqueer, bigender, androgynous or gender variant.
Transphobia- Transphobia is a fear and hatred of, or discomfort with, people whose gender identity or gender expression does not conform to cultural gender norms.
Transsexual- Transsexual is a term referring to a transgender person who changes their physical and/or legal sex to better conform to their internal sense of gender identity. The term can also be used to describe transgender people who, without undergoing medical treatment, identify and live their lives full-time as a member of the gender opposite that which conforms to their sex assigned at birth. See also―Transgender.
Transgender man (or trans man)- A transgender man is a person who was assigned a female sex at birth but who identifies as a man. Trans man is an identity label sometimes adopted by female-to-male transgender people to signify that they are men while still affirming their gender history. See also ―Transgender.
Transgender woman (or trans woman)- A transgender woman is a person who was assigned a male sex at birth but who identifies as a woman. Trans woman is an identity label sometimes adopted by male-to-female transgender people to signify that they are women while still affirming their gender history. See also ―Transgender.
Two Spirit- General term used for some Native Americans who were transgendered, highly regarded in a tribe and often given special status such as a medicine man/woman.
Ze/Per/Hir/They- Pronouns used in the trans community instead of “he/she” or “him/her”. These pronouns offer inclusion and accuracy for someone who doesn’t identify by the male/female gender classifications. Note: Not all trans people use these pronouns, many use “he” or “she”.
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