Glossary of Terms
We hope that these terms will serve as a resource for you when learning about the LGBTQ community. Please note that some terms are loosely defined and some members of the LGBTQ community may disagree with how we've defined an identity.
In red are terms that should be avoided because they are either outdated or derogatory. We are including them here so you know not to use these terms.
Ally – A person who supports and honors sexual diversity, acts accordingly to challenge homophobic remarks and behaviors and explores and understands these forms of bias within him- or herself.
Asexual – A sexual orientation in which a person does not experience sexual attraction
Bisexual – A person emotionally, romantically, sexually and relationally attracted to both men and women, though not necessarily simultaneously; a bisexual person may not be equally attracted to both sexes, and the degree of attraction may vary as sexual identity develops over time.
Bigendered – A gender identity characterized by a coexistence of two separate but not necessarily equal male and female identities.
Biphobia – The fear and hatred of or discomfort with people who love and are sexually attracted to members of both sexes
Cisgender – A person whose gender they were assigned at birth matches their bodies, and their personal identity. This term calls attention to the privilege those who are not transgender enjoy in society.
Cissexism – Oppression, discrimination and invisibility experienced by transgender individuals based on nonconformity to binary gender, body concept, or anatomy that matches their sex at birth
Coming Out – A person who chooses to make their sexual orientation or gender identity known to others. This can describe both a single event of disclosure and the life long process of making your identity known in a society in which heterosexuality is assumed.
Dyke – A derogatory slur for a lesbian. Sometimes it is reclaimed as a term of pride
Fag(got) – A derogatory slur for gay men. Sometimes it is reclaimed as a term of pride.
FTM (female-to-male) – A transsexual or transgendered person who was assigned female sex at birth but whose gender identity is male.
Gay – A word describing a man or a woman who is emotionally, romantically, sexually and relationally attracted to members of the same sex.
Genderqueer – A word people use to describe their own nonstandard gender identity, or by those who do not conform to traditional gender norms.
Gender Expression – How a person behaves, appears or presents him- or herself with regard to societal expectations of gender.
Gender Identity – The gender role that a person claims for his or her self — which may or may not align with his or her physical gender. Examples include: Cisgender, transgender, man, woman, genderqueer
Heterosexism--a system of attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favor of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships. It can include the presumption that other people are heterosexual or that opposite-sex attractions and relationships are the only norm and therefore superior
Heterosexual Privilege – The often unacknowledged benefits and advantages that heterosexuals receive in a heterosexist culture
Homophobia – The fear and hatred of or discomfort with people who love and are sexually attracted to members of the same sex.
Homosexual– A term coined by clinical psychologists to describe a person who is emotionally, romantically, sexually or relationally attracted to a member of the same sex. It should be avoided due to the implication of mental illness.
Intersex – (Formerly known as hermaphrodite) having primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of both sexes. Many children are born intersex and their birth sex is usually defined by surgery. This often causes gender dysphoria.
LGBT History Month – In the United States, every October; United Kingdom every February. An annual affirmation of the history of LGBT people and their achievements throughout the world, held to celebrate the hidden history and to promote understanding and equality.
LGBTQ – An acronym for "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Queer/Questioning"
Lesbian – A woman who is emotionally, romantically, sexually and relationally attracted to other women.
MTF (male-to-female) – A transsexual or transgendered person who was assigned male sex at birth but whose gender identity is female.
Pansexual – A sexual orientation in which a person’s emotional, romantic, sexual and relational attraction is not based on gender or sexual identity. Attraction to another individual can be had regardless of the gender binary.
Queer – An identity choice that s inclusive of people who are not heterosexual or cisgendered.
Questioning – Describes a person who is unsure of their sexual orientation
Same-Gender Loving – A term some prefer to use instead of "gay" or "lesbian" to express attraction to and love of people of the same gender.
Sexual Orientation – An enduring emotional, romantic, sexual and relational attraction to another person; may be a same-sex orientation, opposite-sex orientation or bisexual orientation.
Sexual Preference – What a person likes or prefers to do sexually; a conscious recognition or choice not to be confused with sexual orientation. This term can seem offensive.
Transgender – A term describing a broad range of people who experience and/or express their gender differently from what most people expect. It is an umbrella term that includes people who are transsexual, cross-dressers or otherwise gender non-conforming.
Transphobia – the fear and hatred of, or discomfort with, people whose gender identity or gender expression do not conform to cultural gender norms.