Glossary of Terms
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.
Ally-A Safe Zone ally honors sexual diversity, challenges heterosexist and cissexist remarks and behaviors, and explores and understands these forms of bias within their experiences. This person also works to end oppression personally and professionally through support and advocacy of an oppressed population. In this context Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Ally and Asexual individuals.
Androgynous/Androgyny- 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.
Androsexual/Androphilic- Attracted to males, men, and/or masculinity.
Asexual- A person who does not experience sexual attraction or has lost interest in sex but may still have romantic interests.
Binary Gender- A traditional and outdated view of gender, limiting possibilities to "man" and "woman."
Binary Sex- A traditional and outdated view of sex, limiting possibilities to "female" or "male."
Biological Sex- The classification of people as male, female, or intersex. Biological sex assigned at birth, and is associated primarily with physical attributes such as chromosomes, hormone prevalance, and external and internal anatomy.
Bisexual- A person emotionally, romantically, sexually and relationally attracted to both men and women, though not necessarily simultaneoulsy. A bisexual person may not be equally attracted to both sexes, and the degree of attraction may vary as sexual identity develops over time.
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.
Cis-man- A person who identifies as a man, presents himself masculinely, and has male biological sex, often referred to as simply "man."
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 "gentleman", etc.
Cis-woman- A person who identifies as a woman, presents herself femininely, and has female biological sex, often referred to as simply "woman."
Closeted- A person who is keeping their sexuality or gender identity a secret from many (or any) people, and has yet to "come out of the closet."
Coming Out- The process of revealing your sexuality or gender identity to individuals in your life; often incorrectly thought to be a one-time event, this is a lifelong and sometimes daily process; not to be confused with "outing."
Cross Dressing- Wearing clothing and accessories that conflicts with the traditional gender expression of your sex and gender identity (e.g., a man wearing a dress) for any one of many reasons. A stigmatized term for this person may include a transvestite. Those who cross-dress are usually comfortable with their assigned sex and do not wish to change it. Cross-dressing is a form of gender expression and is not necessarily tied to erotic activity.
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.
Drag- An art form where a person who consciously performs in "feminine" "masculine" 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- A derogatory term for 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.
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).
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.
Gender- A persons gender is comprised of gender expression and biological sex. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women. These influence the ways that people act, interact, and feel about themselves. Behavior that is compatible with cultural expectations is referred to as gender-normative; behaviors that are viewed as incompatible with these expectations constitute gender non-conformity.
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.
Gender Expression- Refers to all of a person's external characteristics and behaviors-such as dress, grooming, mannerisms, speech patterns, and social interactions- socially identified with a particular gender.
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- 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).
Genderqueer- A term that people use who identify their gender as falling outside the binary constructs of "male" and "female."
Gynesexual/Gynephilic- Attracted to females, women, and/or femininity.
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, LGBTQ (or other diverse) community. Often the result of homophobia, this can also be seen as "gay bashing." Many states have laws taht offer stricter criminal penalties for committing hate crimes.
Heteronormativity- The tendency to marginalize, persecute, or make invisible any behavior, belief, or lifestyle that deviates from the socially-accepted and enforced model of heterosexuality and the gender binary.
Heterosexism- Behavior that grants preferential treatment to heterosexual people, reinforces the idea that heterosexuality is somehow better or more "right" than queerness, or ignores/doesn't address queerness as existing.
Heterosexual- The adjective used to describe people whose enduring physical, romantic, emotional and/or relational 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.
Homonormativity- The tendency to project heteronormative values onto behavior, relationships, and family models within the queer community. At times, this may be a matter of assimilating heterosexual values into a queer context and/or community (i.e., the assumption that [LGBTQ familes] all have "two moms" or "two dads" without a thought to other family structures such as those that include single or multiple parents).
Homosexual- The term 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.
Intersex- People born with or who develop 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- 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- A state in which LGBTQ people are open with others about being LGBTQ 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.
Misgender- 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- When someone reveals another person's perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity to an individual or group without the person's consent or approval; not to be confused with "coming out."
Passing- 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.
Preferred Gender Pronoun/Personal Pronouns- Ze/Per/Hir/They are 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."
Queer- Describes all people who are not heterosexual or who do not conform to rigid notions of gender and sexuality. For many LGBTQ people this word has negative connotations; however, some are comfortable using it and have reclaimed the word as a symbol of pride.
Questioning- The process of exploring one's own sexual orientation , investigating influences that may come from their family, religious upbringing, and internal motivations.
Second Generation (LGBTQ)- A term that we use to describe queer, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, gay, and questioning children who also have gay parents.
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- An enduring physical, romantic, emotional, and/or relational attraction to another person.
Sexual Preference- 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.
Transitioning- The process of moving from one sex/gender to another so that it reflects the gender you feel on the inside. People transitioning socially includes coming out to friends and family, using different personal pronouns ("she" versus "he"), going by a different name, and wearing different clothes. Some trans people also take hormones and/or get surgery as part of a medical transition process.
Transphobia- A fear, hatred of, or discomfort with people whose gender identity or gender expression does not conform to cultural gender norms.
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.
FTM/MTF- A person who is or has undergone medical treatments to change their biological sex (Female to Male, or Male to Female), often times to align it with their gender identity; often confused with "trans-man"/ "trans-woman."
MTF/FTM- Some female to male transsexuals dislike the term FTM, because they feel that they were never female, and were always male, and that all this surgery is merely cosmetic, to make it clear to everyone else that they are male. Male to Female, usually referring to a transsexual, but also sometimes to a transgendered person or a crossdresser.
Trans- Inclusive term to refer to anyone who is transsexual, transgender, transvestite, gender queer, two-spirit, third gender, or intersex.
Transgender- An umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.
Transgender Man (trans man)- A person who was assigned a female sex at birth but who identifies as a man. Trans men 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 (trans woman)- 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 Transgeder.
Transitioning- The process of moving from one sex/gender to another so that it reflects the gender you feel on the inside. People transitioning socially includes coming out to friends and family, using different pronouns ("she" versus "he"), going by a different name, and wearing different clothes. Some trans people also take hormones and/or get surgery as part of a medical transition process.
Transsexual- A person who medically changes their body to match their gender identity. This may be done through hormone treatments and/or surgical procedures.
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