LGBTQ Terminology

LGBTQ: an acronym for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning community.
 

Lesbian: women whose primary romantic, emotional and/or sexual attractions are to other women.
 

Gay: men, and sometimes women, whose primary romantic, emotional and/or sexual attractions are to other men, or other women.
 

Bisexual: individuals who are romantically, emotionally and/or sexually attracted to both men and women.
 

Queer: an umbrella term used to refer to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Some use queer as an alternative to “gay” in an effort to be more inclusive.

 

Questioning: an individual who is unsure of their sexual orientation.
 

Ally: an individual who does not identify as LGBTQ but actively supports members of the LGBTQ community and opposes heterosexism, homophobia and transphobia.
 

Straight: individuals whose primary romantic, emotional and/or sexual attractions are to people of the opposite sex.
 

Asexual: people who are not sexually attracted to anyone or does not have a sexual orientation. These people may still have romantic attractions and feelings.

 

Demisexual: an identity where people cannot feel sexual attraction until an emotional bond is established.

 

Pansexual: someone who identifies their personal and/or sexual attraction to the personality of the individual nondependent on sex, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Pansexual is often confused/closely related with Bisexual.
 

Gender: characteristics of masculinity and femininity that are learned or chosen. A person’s assigned sex does not always match their gender identity, and most people display traits of more than one gender. It is important to note that gender is different from and not inherently linked to sexual orientation.

 

Gender binary: the concept that there are only two genders and that they are inherently connected to biological sex.

 

Cisgender: people whose gender identity matches the sex and gender role they were assigned at birth.

 

Genderqueer: a term used by some individuals who identify as neither entirely male/masculine nor entirely female/feminine or as outside the gender spectrum all together.
 

Gender Nonconforming: a term used for individuals whose gender expression is different from societal expectations related to gender.
 

Nonbinary: someone who’s identity does not fall at either end of the masculine/feminine spectrum or does not fit on that spectrum.

 

Androgyny: displaying characteristics of both or neither of the two culturally defined genders.

 

Gender Dysphoria: the condition of feeling one's emotional and psychological identity as male or female to be different than one's biological sex.

 

Gender Expression: the way in which a person chooses to dress and present themselves, this is the result of society assigning gender to certain clothes or accessories.

 

Gender identity: describes the gender with which a person identifies (i.e., whether one perceives oneself to be a man, a woman, or describes oneself in some less conventional way.)

 

Transgender (Trans): an umbrella term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth, including but not limited to transsexuals, cross-dressers, androgynous people, genderqueers, and gender non-conforming people.
 

A transgender woman: a transgender individual who currently identifies as a woman.
 

transgender man:  a transgender individual who currently identifies as a man.
 

Transition: the process through which a person begins to live as the gender with which they identify. Transitioning may include dressing as the correct gender, changing one’s name, taking hormones, having surgery, or changing legal documents (e.g. driver’s license, Social Security record, birth certificate) to reflect their gender identity.
 

Hormone Therapy: therapy involving the use of drugs or surgical procedures to suppress the production of or to inhibit the effects of a hormone (such as estrogen or testosterone)

 

Intersex: describes people born with some combination of male and female sex organs. According to the Intersex Society of North America, “Anatomic sex differentiation occurs on a male/female continuum, and there are several dimensions.” It is estimated that anywhere from 1 in 100 to 1 in 1,000 infants is born intersexed, but the most common reaction by the medical establishment is to “fix” these babies immediately through surgical means. Many consider surgeries to often be medically unnecessary and a form of mutilation.
 

Homophobia is the fear and/or hatred of gay, lesbian, or bisexual people.
 

Transphobia is the fear and/or hatred of transgender people.

Safe Space/Zone:  a safe space is a place where LGBTQIA or questioning individuals feel comfortable and secure in being who they are. In this place, they can talk about their gender identity or sexual orientation without fear of being criticized, judged, or ridiculed. A safe space does not provide advice, but rather a caring environment for the sharing of concerns.