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TERMINOLOGY
 

Wikipedia: Sexual Orientation Terminology

OK2BME: What Does LGBTQ Mean?

We Are Family: Glossary of LGBTQ Terms

UC Davis: LGBTQ Glossary of Terms

 

Glossary of LGBTQ Terms

 

Advocate – Person who actively works to end intolerance, educate others, and support social equity for a marginalized group.  To actively support or plead in favor of a particular cause, the action of working to end intolerance, educate others.

Ally – Person, typically straight or cis-identified, who supports and respects for members of the LGBTQ community.

Androgyny/Androgynous – Gender expression that has elements of both masculinity and femininity.  Occasionally used in place of “intersex” to describe a person with both female and male anatomy.

Androsexual/Androphilic – Attraction to men, males, and masculinity

Aromantic – Person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others and/or a lack of interest in forming romantic relationships.

Asexual – Having a lack of (or low level of) sexual attraction to others and/or a lack of interest or desire for sex or sexual partners. Asexuality exists on a spectrum from people who experience no sexual attraction or have any desire for sex to those who experience low levels and only after significant amounts of time. Another term used within the asexual community is “ace,” meaning someone who is asexual.

 

BDSM – Initialism used as an umbrella term to describe a variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission, role-playing, restraint, and other "kinky" interpersonal dynamics. It is sometimes referred to as kink sexual identity or lifestyle. The term BDSM derives from joining the term B&D (bondage and discipline) with S&M (sadomasochism or sadism and masochism), or as a compound initialism from B&D, D&S (dominance and submission), and S&M.

Bigender – Person who fluctuates between traditionally “woman” and “man” gender-based behavior and identities, identifying with both genders (and sometimes a third gender).

 

Bicurious – Curiosity about having attraction to people of the same gender or sex (similar to questioning).

 

Wikipedia: Sexual Orientation Terminology

OK2BME: What Does LGBTQ Mean?

We Are Family: Glossary of LGBTQ Terms

UC Davis: LGBTQ Glossary of Terms


Biological Sex – Medical term used to refer to the chromosomal, hormonal, and anatomical characteristics that are used to classify an individual as female or male or intersex. Often referred to as simply “sex,” “physical sex,” or “anatomical sex."  Sex assigned or designated at birth.

Biphobia – Range of negative attitudes (fear, anger, intolerance, resentment, erasure, discomfort) that one may have/express towards bisexual individuals. Biphobia can come from and be seen within the queer community as well as straight society. Biphobic is a word used to describe an individual who harbors some elements of this range of negative attitudes towards bisexual people.

Bisexual – Person emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to both male/men and females/women. Other individuals may use this term to indicate an attraction to individuals who identify outside of the gender binary. Others may use the term as a way to indicate an interest in more than one gender or sex (i.e. genderqueer people).

Butch – Person who identifies themselves as masculine, whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally. ‘Butch’ is sometimes used as a derogatory term for lesbians, but is also be claimed as an affirmative identity label.

 

Cisgender – (Pronounced “siss-jendur”) Person whose gender identity and biological sex (assigned at birth) align.  A person who is not transgender is cisgender.

Cisnormativity – Assumption, in individuals or in institutions, that everyone is cisgender, and that cisgender identities are superior to transgender identities or people. Leads to invisibility of non-cisgender identities.

Closeted – Individual who is not open to themselves or others about their sexuality or gender identity. This may be by choice and/or for other reasons such as fear for one’s safety, peer or family rejection or disapproval and/or loss of housing or job.  Also known as being “in the closet.” When someone chooses to break this silence they “come out” of the closet.

Coming Out – Process by which one accepts and/or comes to identify one’s own sexuality or gender identity (to “come out” to oneself).  Process by which one shares one’s sexuality or gender identity with others (to “come out” to friends, family, co-workers).

 

Wikipedia: Sexual Orientation Terminology

OK2BME: What Does LGBTQ Mean?

We Are Family: Glossary of LGBTQ Terms

UC Davis: LGBTQ Glossary of Terms


Constellation – Arrangement or structure of a polyamorous relationship.

Cross-dresser – Someone who wears clothes of another gender/sex. Same as Transvestite.

Demisexual – Individual who does not experience sexual attraction unless they have formed a strong emotional connection with another individual. Often within a romantic relationship.

Down Low - Term used to refer to men who maintain a heterosexual identity and lifestyle in their daily lives, but engage in same-sex intercourse as a secret part of their lives.

 

Drag King – Someone who performs masculinity theatrically.

Drag Queen – Someone who performs femininity theatrically.

 

Dyke – Term referring to a masculine presenting lesbian. While often used derogatorily, it can is adopted affirmatively by many lesbians (and not necessarily masculine ones) as a positive self-identity term.

Emotional/Spiritual Attraction – Affinity to engage in empathetic (interdependent) intimate behavior (sharing, confiding, trusting, loving) with another person.


Fag/Faggot  -  Derogatory term referring to a gay person, or someone perceived as queer. Occasionally used as an self-identifying affirming term by some gay men.

Feminine Presenting/Masculine Presenting – Way to describe someone who expresses gender in a more feminine or masculine way, for example in their hair style, demeanor, clothing choice, or style.

Feminine of Center –  Term that indicates a range of descriptions of gender identity and gender presentation for folks who present, understand themselves, and relate to others in a more feminine way. Feminine of Center individuals may also identify as femme, submissive, transfeminine.
 

Wikipedia: Sexual Orientation Terminology

OK2BME: What Does LGBTQ Mean?

We Are Family: Glossary of LGBTQ Terms

UC Davis: LGBTQ Glossary of Terms

 

Femme – Someone who identifies themselves as feminine, whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally. Often used to refer to a feminine-presenting queer woman.

Fluid/Fluidity  -  Describes an identity that may change or shift over time.  Identity described on a continuum or spectrum.  Identity described as between or within the mix of the options available (man and woman, gay and straight, male and female).  Example of usage: gender-fluid, fluid-sexuality.

FTM / F2M  – Abbreviation for female-to-male transgender or transsexual person. 

Gay – Term used to describe individuals who are primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex and/or gender. More commonly used when referring to males/men-identified people who are attracted to males/men-identified people.  Can be applied to females/women-identified people as well.  An umbrella term used to refer to the queer community as a whole, or as an individual identity label for anyone who does not identify as heterosexual.

Gender - A socially constructed collect of traits, behaviors, and meanings that have been traditionally attributed to biological differences. 

 

Gender Binary – Idea that there are only two genders (male/female or man/woman) and that a person must be strictly identified as one or the other, with no options in between.

Gender Expression – External (social) display of one’s gender, through a combination of dress, demeanor, social behavior, and other factors, generally measured on scales of masculinity and femininity.  Also referred to as “gender presentation.”

Gender Fluid – Gender fluid is a gender identity best described as a dynamic mix of boy and girl. A person who is gender fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel more man some days, and more woman other days.

 

Gender Identity – Internal (emotional) perception of an one’s gender, and how they label themselves, based on how much they align or don’t align with what they understand their options for gender to be. Common identity labels include man, woman, genderqueer, trans, and more.

Gender Neutral Pronouns (GNP) -  Alternate pronouns that are gender neutral and preferred by some transgender or genderqueer people.  A popular gender neutral pronoun is "ze" (pronounced zee) for "he" or "her."

 

Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) – Someone whose gender presentation, whether by nature or by choice, does not align in a predicted fashion with gender-based expectations.

Gender Normative/Gender Straight – Someone whose gender presentation, whether by nature or by choice, aligns with society’s gender-based expectations.

 

Wikipedia: Sexual Orientation Terminology

OK2BME: What Does LGBTQ Mean?

We Are Family: Glossary of LGBTQ Terms

UC Davis: LGBTQ Glossary of Terms


Genderqueer – Gender identity label often used by people who do not identify with the binary of man/woman.  An umbrella term for many gender non-conforming or non-binary identities (agender, bigender, genderfluid).  Genderqueer people may think of themselves as one or more identities.  They may define gender terms differently.  They may combine aspects man and woman and other identities (bigender, pangender).  They may not have a gender or identify with a gender (genderless, agender).  they may move between genders (genderfluid).  they may refer to themselves as third gender or other-gendered.  Genderqueer includes those who do not place a name to their gender or have an overlap of, or blurred lines between, gender identity and sexual and romantic orientation.

Gender Variant– Someone who either by nature or by choice does not conform to gender-based expectations of society (transgender, transsexual, intersex, gender-queer, cross-dresser).

Gynesexual/Gynephilic – Attracted to woman, females, and/or femininity.

Heteronormative/Heteronormativity – Assumption, in individuals or in institutions, that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is superior to all other sexualities. Leads to invisibility and stigmatizing of other sexualities. This idea often includes such concepts as gender normativity, gender roles, the assumption that individuals should identify as men and women, the rule of masculine men and feminine women, and the idea that men and women are a complementary pair.


Heterosexism – Behavior that grants preferential treatment to heterosexual people, reinforces the idea that heterosexuality is somehow better or more “right” than queerness, or makes other sexualities invisible.

Heterosexual – Person primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex. Also known as straight.

 

Homophobia – Umbrella term for a range of negative attitudes (fear, anger, intolerance, resentment, erasure, discomfort) that one may have towards members of LGBTQ community.

Homosexual – Medical/clinical term used to describe a person primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex/gender. The term is considered stigmatizing due to its history as a mental illness category, and is discouraged for common use (use gay or lesbian instead)

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) -
Taking hormones to enable one’s outward appearance to conform more closely to one’s inner gender identity.

 

Intersex – Someone whose combination of chromosomes, gonads, hormones, internal sex organs, and genitals differs from the two expected patterns of male or female. In the medical care of infants the initialism DSD (Differing/Disorders of Sex Development). Formerly known as hermaphrodite (or hermaphroditic).

Lesbian – Term used to describe women attracted romantically, erotically, and/or emotionally to other women.

 

Wikipedia: Sexual Orientation Terminology

OK2BME: What Does LGBTQ Mean?

We Are Family: Glossary of LGBTQ Terms

UC Davis: LGBTQ Glossary of Terms


LGBTQ / SOGI / GSM / DSG   -  Initialisms used as shorthand or umbrella terms for all folks who have a non-normative (or queer) gender or sexuality.  LGBTQ is Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer.  SOGI is Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.  GSM is Gender and Sexual Minorities.  DSG is Diverse Genders and Sexualities. 

Lipstick Lesbian – Usually refers to a lesbian with a feminine gender expression. Can be used in a positive or a derogatory way. Is sometimes also used to refer to a lesbian who is assumed to be (or passes for) straight.

Metrosexual – Man with a strong aesthetic sense who spends more time, energy, or money on his appearance and grooming than is considered gender normative.

Masculine of Center –  Term that indicates a range of descriptions of gender identity and gender presentation for folks who present, understand themselves, and relate to others in a more masculine way. Masculine of Center individuals may also often identity as butch, stud, aggressive, boi, transmasculine.

MSM / WSW – Initialisms for “men who have sex with men” and “women who have sex with women,” to distinguish sexual behaviors from sexual identities (because a man is straight, it doesn’t mean he’s not having sex with men). Often used in the field of HIV/Aids education, prevention, and treatment.

MTF / M2F –  Abbreviation for male-to-female transgender or transsexual person.

 

Mx. – (Typically pronounced mix) Title that is gender neutral, replacing Mr., Ms., Miss, Mrs. It is often the option of choice for folks who do not identify within the cisgender binary.

 

Outing/Outed – Involuntary, unwanted, or unexpected disclosure of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity status.

Pansexual – Person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction for members of all gender identities/expressions.

Passing – Term for transgender people being accepted as, or able to “pass for,” a member of their self-identified gender/sex identity (regardless of birth sex).  Any gay/lesbian/queer individual who can is believed to be or perceived as straight.

Polyamory/Polyamorous– Refers to the practice of, desire to, or orientation towards having ethically, honest, consensually non-monogamous relationships (relationships that may include multiple partners). This may include open relationships or polyfidelity (which involves more than two people being in romantic and/or sexual relationships which is not open to additional partners).

 

Questioning  -  Individual who is unsure about or is exploring their own sexual orientation or gender identity.

Romantic Attraction – Affinity to engage in relational (interactive) intimate behavior (flirting, dating, marriage) with another person.

 

Wikipedia: Sexual Orientation Terminology

OK2BME: What Does LGBTQ Mean?

We Are Family: Glossary of LGBTQ Terms

UC Davis: LGBTQ Glossary of Terms

 

Same Gender Loving (SGL) – Term sometimes used by members of the Black/African-American community to express an alternative sexual orientation without relying on terms and symbols of European descent.

Sexual Attraction – Affinity to engage in physical (carnal) intimate behavior (kissing, touching, intercourse) with another person.

 

Sexual Orientation – Type of sexual, romantic, emotional/spiritual attraction one feels for others, often labeled based on the gender relationship between the person and the people they are attracted to.  Sexual orientation is innate, not chosen.

Sexual Preference – Types of sexual intercourse, stimulation, and gratification one likes to receive and participate in.  Sexual preference connotes choice.

Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) – Term used by some medical professionals to refer to a group of surgical options that alter a person’s biological sex.  Also called Gender Confirmation Surgery. In most cases, one or multiple surgeries are required to achieve legal recognition of gender variance.  Surgical procedures are referred to as “top” surgery (breast augmentation/reduction) and “bottom” surgery (genital reconstruction). 

Skoliosexual – Attracted to genderqueer and transsexual people and expressions.  Attracted to people who don’t identify as cisgender.

 

Stud – Term most commonly used to indicate a Black/African-American and/or Latina masculine lesbian/queer woman. Also known as ‘butch’ or ‘aggressive’.

Third Gender – Term for a person who does not identify with either man or woman, but identifies with another gender. This gender category is used by societies that recognize three or more genders, both contemporary and historic, and is also a conceptual term meaning different things to different people who use it, as a way to move beyond the gender binary.

Top Surgery – Term refers to surgery for the construction of a male-type chest or breast augmentation for a female-type chest.

Trans/Transgender  -  Umbrella term covering a range of identities that transgress socially defined gender norms.  A person who lives as a member of a gender other than that expected based on sex assigned at birth.

Transition/Transitioning  -  Term is primarily used to refer to the process a transgrender person undergoes when changing their bodily appearance either to be more congruent with the gender/sex they feel themselves to be and/or to be in harmony with their preferred gender expression.
 

Wikipedia: Sexual Orientation Terminology

OK2BME: What Does LGBTQ Mean?

We Are Family: Glossary of LGBTQ Terms

UC Davis: LGBTQ Glossary of Terms

 

Transman -  Identity label sometimes adopted by female-to-male transgender people or transsexuals to signify that they are men while still affirming their history as assigned female sex at birth. 

 

Transwoman –  Identity label sometimes adopted by male-to-female transsexuals or transgender people to signify that they are women while still affirming their history as assigned male sex at birth.


Transphobia –  Fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of transgender people, the transgender community, or gender ambiguity.

Transsexual –  Person who identifies psychologically as a gender/sex other than the one to which they were assigned at birth. Transsexuals often wish to transform their bodies hormonally and surgically to match their inner sense of gender/sex.

Transvestite – Person who dresses as the binary opposite gender expression (cross-dresses) for any one of many reasons, including relaxation, fun, and sexual gratification.  Often called a “cross-dresser."

Two-Spirit –  Umbrella term traditionally used by Native American people to recognize individuals who possess qualities or fulfill roles of both genders

 

Ze / Zem / Zir  -  Gender neutral pronouns (used by transgender and genderqueer persons) that replace he/she, him/her, and his/her.

 

 

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