Glossary of Terms from LGBTQ+ Hofstra
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 define these terms slightly different than how they are identified here. We are attempting to cover a foundational understanding of the vocabulary that will be effective in continued Ally development to the LGBTQ+ Community. This is a non-exhaustive list. If you would like to add terms to this list, please contact Chad Freeman, Remington.c.freeman[at]hofstra.edu.
Always remember that when utilizing terms to identify someone else, the best practice is to first politely ask them how they identify themselves and then how they would like you and others to refer to them. This is important in all avenues of identity, especially in pronoun usage, preferred name, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. Also, remember that outing someone is a practice that is discouraged, so please ask if first if they would mind if you disclose their identities if asked, or if that information should be kept private.
Agender – A gender identity that falls outside of the binary. A term used to describe someone who identifies as neither a man nor a woman, and may not conform to gender roles or performance.
Androgynous – A gender expression where in someone does not conform to masculine nor feminine expression but a blend of both, or neither.
Asexual – A sexual orientation in which a person does not experience sexual attraction
Assigned Sex at Birth – The assumption of gender based on genitalia, chromosomes and/or gonads at birth.
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.
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 (Male/Female), 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.
FTM (female-to-male) – A transgender 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.
Gender Dysphoria – Discomfort in one’s sex assigned at birth
Gender Queer – A word people use to describe their own nonstandard gender identity, or by those who do not conform to traditional gender norms.
Gender Fluid – Expression and Identity being “fluid” in nature.
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 “Straight” folks 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.
Intersex – having primary and/or secondary sex characteristics that are predominately seen as male or female. This may be a combination of chromosomes, phenotypical attributes, gonads and/or genitalia. Few children are born intersex, however most have their birth sex usually defined by surgery. This often can cause gender dysphoria.
LGBTQ+ 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, plus (or beyond)"
Lesbian – A woman who is emotionally, romantically, sexually and relationally attracted to other women.
MTF (male-to-female) – A transgender 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 cisgender.
Questioning – Describes a person who is unsure of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
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.
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 identify as transsexual, cross-dressers or otherwise gender non-conforming, gender non-conforming, or GenderQueer.
Transphobia – the fear and hatred of, or discomfort with, people whose gender identity or gender expression do not conform to cultural gender norms.