Glossary

Abroromantic/Abromantic

(Adj.) Describes a person whose romantic orientation is highly fluid or changing over time. An abroromantic person experiences their romantic attraction as shifting among romantic orientations, for instance, homoromantic, heteroromantic and biromantic. Learn More

Ace

(Noun) A shortened term for a person who identifies as asexual, meaning someone who experiences little or no sexual attraction or sexual desire. Asexuality is a sexual orientation distinct from a chosen behavior such as celibacy or sexual abstinence. Learn More

Aesthetic attraction

(Noun) Refers to a physical attraction to a person's appearance--how they look and/or how they present themselves.
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AFAB

(Acronym) An acronym meaning Assigned Female at Birth. Generally not considered an identity, as calling a transgender man “AFAB,” for example, negates his identity as a man. Learn More

Affirmed Gender

(Noun) A term used to describe a person's gender, based on their innate understanding of themselves -- as opposed to the gender they were assigned at birth. A person can affirm their gender socially (e.g. changing one's pronouns), legally (e.g. legal name change), and/or medically (e.g. gender-affirming surgery). Increasingly used in place of older terms, such as preferred gender or chosen gender. Learn More

Agender

(Adj.) Describes a person who does not identify with any gender. Learn More

Akoiromantic / Lithsexual

(Adj.) A sexual orientation in which an individual feels romantic attraction to others, but does not want these feelings reciprocated. Learn More

Allosexual

(Adj.) An umbrella term for people who experience sexual attraction. A person who is allosexual can identify as gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual or any other sexual orientation. Learn More

Ally

(Noun) An ally is someone who openly supports people in the LGBTQ+ community. Although it usually refers to people who do not identify as LGBTQ+, people within the LGBTQ+ community can be known as allies of other identities within the LGBTQ+ group. Learn More

Alternative lifestyle

(Noun) Refers to a lifestyle perceived to be outside the norm for a given culture. Often used pejoratively to mischaracterize persons in the LGBTQ+ community.

AMAB

(Acronym) An acronym meaning Assigned Male at Birth. Generally not considered an identity, as calling a transgender woman “AMAB,” for example, negates her identity as a woman. Learn More

Androgyne / Androgyny / Androgynous

(Adj.) Having the characteristics of masculinity and femininity; identifying and or presenting as neither specifically masculine nor specifically feminine. Learn More

Androphilic

(Adj.) Refers to the attraction to males or masculinity, regardless of one’s own sex or gender identity (i.e., both heterosexual women and gay men could be described as androphilic in their sexual attraction). Learn More

Androsexual

(Adj.) Refers to the attraction to males or masculinity, regardless of one’s own sex or gender identity (i.e., both heterosexual women and gay men could be described as androphilic in their sexual attraction). Learn More

Aroflux

(Adj.) Describes a person who is on the aromantic spectrum and who experiences their romantic orientation as fluctuating between experiencing romantic attraction and not experiencing it, and/or experiencing romantic attraction to varying degrees.
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Aromantic

(Adj.) Describes a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction. Learn More

Asexual

(Adj.) Describes a person who does not experience any form of sexual attraction. People who identify as asexual may or may not experience emotional, physical, or romantic attraction. Asexuality is a sexual orientation distinct from a chosen behavior such as celibacy or sexual abstinence. Learn More

Asexual spectrum

(Noun) Refers to the broad spectrum of asexuality, including those who do not experience sexual attraction at all (asexual) as well as persons who experience sexual attraction rarely or at a very low level (greysexual) or experience sexual attraction only for persons with whom they have first formed a close emotional bond (demisexual).
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Assigned Sex

(Noun) The sex assigned to an infant at birth based on the appearance of genitalia. It’s important to remember that biological sex consists of more than just genitalia, and includes internal reproductive organs as well as sex traits like hormone levels, chromosomes and genes. Learn More

Assumed Gender

(Noun) Describes the gender others presume an individual to be based on their assigned sex as well as societal gender markers, such as physical build, clothes, hair and voice. Learn More

Attraction

(Noun) A feeling of interest in another person. Attraction can take different forms, including sexual, romantic, physical, emotional, and aesthetic attraction. Individuals may experience just one or multiple types of attraction for another person. Learn More

Bear/Bear Culture

(Adj./Noun) Originating within gay men’s subculture, someone who has facial/body hair and a larger body. Also used as an umbrella term to refer to a sense of comfort with masculinity and male bodies. Learn More

Bicurious

(Adj.) Describes a person who identifies as gay or straight who is interested in exploring their attraction to people with a gender they do not usually engage with. Bicurious is considered a sexual identity and should only be used when self-identifying or when an individual self-identifies as bi-curious. Learn More

Bigender

(Adj.) A term used to describe a person whose gender identity is a combination of two or more genders or is shifting between two or more genders. Learn More

Binding

(Verb) The action, typically performed by transgender men and gender nonconforming individuals, of tightly wrapping one’s chest in order to minimize the appearance of having breasts and/or to flatten breast tissue. Learn More

Biphobia

(Noun) The fear of, discrimination against, or hatred toward bisexuals, pansexuals and omnisexuals. Biphobia occurs within the LGBTQ+ community, as well as in general society. Learn More

BIPOC

(Abbreviation) Acronym that stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

Bi+

(Adj.) An umbrella term for identities such as bisexuality and pansexuality, in which a person is attracted romantically and/or sexually to persons of more than one gender.
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Biromantic

(Adj.) Describes a person who is capable of feeling romantic attraction to persons of more than one gender. They may or may not be sexually attracted to the persons they are romantically attracted to.
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Bisexual

(Adj.) Refers to the sexual orientation of a person who experiences sexual, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to persons of more than one gender, not necessarily equally or at the same time, in the same way, or to the same degree. Also known as "bi". Distinct from pansexual, which refers to the capacity to be attracted to persons regardless of gender identity. Learn More

Bisexual erasure

(Noun) The tendency to question, ignore or outright deny the existence and legitimacy of bisexuality. Sometimes referred to as bisexual invisibility.
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BlaQ/BlaQueer

(Adj.) Describes individuals of Black/African descent who recognize their LGBTQ+ identity as salient to their Blackness and vice versa. Learn More

Boston Marriage

(Noun) Originated in New England during the late 1800s to describe a situation where two women lived together in a committed relationship. Boston marriages typically occurred between women who were college-educated and financially independent, thereby eliminating the need for male support. Learn More

Bottom surgery

(Noun) Refers to the surgery performed on an individual’s reproductive system as a part of gender-affirming surgery that some transgender people undergo (See Transition). Learn More

Butch

(Adj./Noun) Refers to a person who embodies traditionally masculine traits and characteristics. The term is often used within lesbian communities. Learn More

Chosen Family

(Noun) A term used to describe people who are not related by birth or marriage yet whose bond is like that of family. Oftentimes LGBTQ+ people find and build their chosen family out of necessity, due to a lack of understanding or familial acceptance.

Cis/Cisgender

(Adj.) A term used to describe an individual whose gender identity aligns with their sex assigned at birth. i.e., a person born with female anatomy who identifies as a girl/woman. Learn More

Cisnormativity

(Noun) The assumption that everyone is cisgender, and that cisgender people’s identities are more normal, valid, and worthy of respect than transgender people’s identities. Learn More

Cissexism

(Noun) Refers to prejudice or discrimination on the basis of sex, especially towards transgender or gender-expansive people. Includes the assumption that being cisgender is more natural or superior.

Cissexual

(Adj.) Another term for cisgender that is not frequently used as it confuses the use of the terms sex and gender. Characterized by a match between gender identity and sex characteristics observed at birth, i.e., a person born with female anatomy who identifies as a girl/woman. Learn More

Closeted

(Adj.) Describes a person who is not open about their sexual orientation, gender identity or status as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, either totally or partially. Learn More

Coming in/Letting in

(Noun) The process of sharing one’s gender or sexual identity with a trusted friend or loved one; may more accurately represent the experiences of those in circumstances where it is unsafe to “come out."

Coming Out

(Noun or Verb) The process in which a person first acknowledges, accepts and appreciates their sexual identity or gender identity and begins to share that with others. Learn More

Constellation

(Noun) A way to describe the arrangement or structure of a polyamorous relationship. Learn More

Cross-dressing

(Verb) To wear clothes typically associated with persons of a different gender for fun, self-expression, relaxation, etc. Cross-dressing is a form of gender expression and is not indicative of being transgender; persons who cross-dress are usually comfortable with their gender identity and do not wish to change it. Cross-dressing is distinct from drag in that it is not performative. Cross-dressing is not necessarily tied to erotic activity and is not a reflection of sexual orientation. Learn More

Cross-sex hormone therapy

(Noun) A treatment to help individuals with gender dysphoria transition from their biological gender to their desired gender. Therapy may include use of estrogen or testosterone treatments to develop female or male secondary sex characteristics. Learn More

Culturally Queer

(Adj.) A term coined by people who grew up with LGBTQ+ parents. Used to describe the feeling of being immersed in queer culture, traditions, celebrations, media and language and learning about society through a primarily queer lens.

Deadnaming

(Verb) Occurs when an individual, intentionally or not, refers to the name that a transgender or gender-expansive individual used at a different time in their life. Can also be referred to as birth name, given name or old name. Deadnaming can cause stress, trauma, embarrassment and even danger for trans people. Learn More

Demiboy

(Adj.) A person who feels a partial but not full connection to a boy/man gender identity, regardless of their assigned gender at birth. Learn More

Demigender

(Adj.) An umbrella term for a person who feels a partial but not full connection to a particular gender. Anyone can be demigender, regardless of their assigned gender at birth. (See demiboy and demigirl.) Learn More

Demigirl

(Adj.) A person who feels a partial but not full connection to a girl/woman gender identity, regardless of their assigned gender at birth. Learn More

Demiromantic

(Adj.) Describes a person who does not experience romantic attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. Learn More

Demisexual

(Adj.) Describes a person who has little to no interest in sexual activity, although they may feel some degree of sexual attraction to people with whom they have a strong emotional bond. Someone who is demisexual is considered to be on the asexual spectrum, meaning they are closely aligned with asexuality. Learn More

Disorder of Sex Development (DSD)

(Noun) Clinical terminology first introduced in 2006 to describe variations in biological sex development. DSD acts as an umbrella classification for more than twenty distinct variations. The term is controversial in part because the word “disorder” reinforces the view that variations in sex development are inherently problematic. Many prefer either the term intersex or "difference" or "variation" of sex development. Learn More

Double-Outsider

(Noun) Someone who experiences multiple, compounding disadvantages due to overlapping, systemic inequities.
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Down-low

(Adj.) An African American term that refers to men who identify as straight but secretly/discreetly have sex with other men.
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Drag / Drag King / Drag Queen

(Noun) The theatrical performance of one or multiple genders, often including makeup, costume, and/or dance. Performers in distinctly feminine attire are called Drag Queens, while performers in distinctly masculine attire are Drag Kings. Drag is a form of gender expression and is not an indication of gender identity. Individuals who dress in drag may or may not consider themselves to be transgender. They may identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight or some other sexual orientation. Learn More

Emotional Attraction

(Noun) Refers to the desire to engage in emotionally intimate behavior, such as sharing, confiding, trusting, and inter-depending. Emotional attraction can be experienced in varying degrees. Learn More

Enby

(Noun) A slang term used for nonbinary. Enby is the phonetic pronunciation of “NB,” an abbreviation for nonbinary. Learn More

Eunuch

(Noun) Refers to a human male who has been castrated, typically to serve a specific social function. Eunuchs served in a variety of roles in ancient societies. Learn More

Fairy

(Noun). Historically, a derogatory term used to describe gay men. Some gay men use the term "fairy" affirmatively to refer to themselves, but it is not a term that should be used by others to refer to gay men. Learn More

Femininity

(Noun) Refers to qualities, behaviors and roles typically associated with girls and women.
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Femme

(Adj./Noun) A (traditionally) feminine woman. Historically used in the lesbian community to refer to a feminine lesbian. This term is increasingly used by other LGBTQ+ people to describe gender expressions that claim and/or disrupt traditional constructs of femininity. Learn More

Feminine-of-center

(Adj.) A phrase that indicates the gender identity and gender expression of persons who understand and present themselves in a generally more feminine way without necessarily identifying as women. Learn More

Feminine-presenting

(Adj.) A way to describe someone who expresses gender in a more feminine way. Often confused with feminine-of-center, which generally include a focus on gender identity as well as expression. Learn More

Fraternal birth order effect

(Noun) Refers to the research finding that a man's likelihood of being gay is impacted by the number of older brothers that he has. The fraternal birth order effect is a marker for an innate, biological predisposition in regard to sexual orientation.

FTM

(Adj.) Short for Female to Male. Refers to a transgender man, or a person who was assigned female at birth who identifies as a man. FTM was sometimes used as a notation in medical and psychiatric literature in the mid-late 20th century. While it is sometimes used today, FTM is considered inappropriate and offensive by some in the transgender community for implying that transgender men were originally women, as opposed to men who just happen to be transgender. Learn More

FTX

(Adj.) Stands for Female To X. Describes a person who was assigned female at birth based on their outward appearance but who has a nonbinary gender identity, such as genderqueer or gender non-conforming. Learn More

Gay

(Adj.) Describes the sexual orientation of persons who are emotionally, sexually, and/or romantically attracted to persons of the same sex/gender. While the term is most often used to describe men, it can also be used more broadly to refer to both men and women (i.e., gay man, gay woman, gay people). Learn More

Gender

(Noun) A social construct used to classify a person as a man, woman, or some other identity and ascribe qualities of masculinity and femininity to people. Gender characteristics can change over time and vary between cultures. Learn More

Gender affirmation

(Noun) Refers to the interpersonal, interactive process whereby a transgender person affirms and receives recognition and support for their gender identity and expression. This may or may not include steps to align their outward appearance with their gender identity, and/or changing names, pronouns, identification documents, and more. Sometimes referred to as gender transition or simply as "transition." Learn More

Gender affirming care

(Noun) Gender affirming care encompasses a range of medical, mental health, and social services that are designed to support and affirm a person's gender identity when it is different from the gender they were thought to be at birth. Gender affirming care occurs across a continuum, ranging from counseling and support for changes in social expression to medications, such as puberty blockers or hormone therapy, and, in some cases, surgical interventions. Learn More

Gender Affirming Surgery (GAS)

(Noun) Surgical procedures that allow persons to match their physical bodies to their gender identity. These procedures can include “top surgery” (e.g. reshaping a chest or providing breast augmentation) and/or “bottom surgery” (e.g. reshaping genitals). Also referred to as gender-confirming surgery, gender reassignment surgery or medical transition. Learn More

Gender binary

(Noun) A socially constructed system that defines gender as consisting solely of two categories--masculine/man and feminine/woman. Learn More

Gender discordance

(Noun) A discrepancy or misalignment between sex observed at birth and individual gender identity. Learn More

Gender diverse

An umbrella term that describes an array of gender identities and expressions that do not conform to the norms and stereotypes of an assigned sex. Learn More

Gender dysphoria

(Noun) Clinically significant distress that can occur in persons whose gender identity differs from the sex they were thought to be at birth. Can also describe a desire to change the characteristics that are the source of the distress, such as physical anatomy. Learn More

Gender Euphoria

(Noun) Describes the feeling of significant right-ness or comfort experienced when a person's gender is recognized and respected by others, when their body aligns with their gender, or when they express themselves in accordance with their gender. Focusing on gender euphoria instead of gender dysphoria shifts focus to the positive aspects of being transgender or gender expansive (see Gender Dysphoria). Learn More

Gender Expansive

(Adj.) An umbrella term used to describe people who do not follow gender stereotypes, or who expand commonly held ideas and norms of gender identity and expression. Gender-expansive people may be cisgender, identify with a mix of genders or not identify with a gender at all (see Agender). Some gender expansive people use gender-neutral pronouns while others do not. It is important to use the terms people use for themselves. Learn More

Gender expression

(Noun) The ways that a person communicates a gender identity to others such as dress, behavior, hairstyle, voice, and/or mannerisms. Learn More

Gender fluid

(Adj.) Describes a person who identifies their gender as shifting within a spectrum of gender identities and expressions. A person who is gender fluid may always feel like a mix of two (or more) genders, but may feel more one gender some days, and another gender other days. Gender-fluid people may or may not also identify as transgender. Learn More

Gender identity

(Noun) One’s deeply held, core sense of being a man, woman, or some other gender. A gender identity can be a combination of two or more genders (such as gender fluid), and some individuals don't identify with any gender at all--described as being agender. May or may not correspond with the sex or gender assigned at birth. Learn More

Gender neutral

(Adj.) Not gendered. Examples include language to describe relationships, such as the terms "spouse" or "partner" instead of husband/boyfriend or wife/girlfriend. Similarly, gender-neutral restrooms are for use by all people, regardless of gender. The pronouns "they" and "ze" are gender neutral pronouns. Learn More

Gender non-conforming (GNC)

(Adj.) Describes a person who does not behave in a way that conforms to traditional expectations for their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category. GNC does not mean non-binary and cisgender people can be GNC as well. Also known as gender variant. Learn More

Gender perception

(Noun) How others interpret a person's gender identity based on their gender expression. Learn More

Genderqueer

(Adj.) Describes a person whose gender identity is neither masculine nor feminine, is between or beyond gender, or is some combination of genders. Genderqueer people may or may not pursue any physical changes, such as hormonal or surgical intervention, and may or may not identify as transgender. Learn More

Gender role

(Noun) The role or behavior learned by a person as appropriate to their gender, determined by the prevailing cultural norms. Learn More

Gender socialization

(Noun) Refers to the social process that introduces members of a society, such as children, about the social expectations, attitudes and behaviors that are typically associated with girls/women and boys/men. Varies across cultures and is usually taught through parents, teachers, peers, media and faith traditions. Learn More

Gender Spectrum

(Noun) The concept that gender exists along a continuum beyond man/masculine and woman/feminine. Some people may be more aligned with masculine or feminine aspects, some move fluidly along the spectrum, and some exist outside the spectrum entirely. Learn More

Gender transition

(Noun) Refers to the interpersonal, interactive process whereby a transgender person outwardly affirms their gender identity. This may or may not include steps to align their outward appearance more closely with their gender identity, and/or changing names, pronouns, identification documents, and more. Sometimes simply referred to as "transition". See also gender affirmation. Learn More

Gender variant

(Adj.) Describes a person who does not behave in a way that conforms to traditional expectations for their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category. Also known as gender non-conforming. Learn More

Graysexual

(Adj.) Describes someone who rarely experiences sexual attraction. Someone who is graysexual is on the asexual spectrum, meaning they are closely aligned with asexuality. Also known as gray asexuality. Learn More

Gynephilic/Gynosexual

(Adj.) Describes the attraction to females or femininity, regardless of one's own sex or gender identity (i.e., both heterosexual men and lesbian women could be described as gynephilic in their sexual attraction). Typically used within the field of behavioral science. Learn More

Groom

(Verb) Refers to the action by which a pedophile pursues an individual child. Used by persons and organizations hostile to LGBTQ+ inclusion and equality to falsely characterize the intentions of LGBTQ+ persons, for instance educators and others who interact with children.

Hermaphrodite

(Noun) A term previously used for individuals with atypical sex anatomy that dates to the 14th century. The term hermaphrodite is no longer in use and is considered offensive to intersex individuals due to its longtime association with the view that persons with atypical sex development are inherently problematic. Learn More

Heteroflexible

(Adj.) Describes a person who identifies as primarily or "mostly" straight but who at times experiences same-sex attraction. A person who identifies as heteroflexible may or may not act on their same-sex attraction. Learn More

Heteronormativity

(Adj./Noun) An (often subconscious) assumption, in individuals or in institutions, that everyone is straight and cisgender, or that being straight and cisgender is the superior and “normal” way to be. Learn More

Heteroromantic

(Adj.) Describes a person who experiences romantic attraction to persons of the opposite gender. They may or may not experience sexual attraction to the persons they are romantically attracted to.

Heterosexism

(Noun) The assumption that all people are or should be heterosexual. Assumes that other sexual orientations are substandard, inferior, abnormal, marginal or invalid. Learn More

Heterosexual / Heterosexuality

(Adj.) (Adj./Noun) Describes a primary or exclusive sexual, emotional, and/or romantic attraction to a gender other than one's own. Typically this means a woman who is primarily attracted to men and vice versa. Also referred to as "straight". Learn More

Hijra

(Noun) A term used in South Asia, and particularly in India, which refers to a diverse community including individuals who do not identify as men or women as well as persons who identify as women but who were assigned the sex of male at birth. Legally recognized as a third gender today, hijras have been a part of South Asian culture for centuries but have also suffered marginalization and abuse. Term should be used with care, as some within the community consider it to be offensive. Learn More

Homoflexible

(Adj.) Describes a person who identifies as primarily or "mostly" gay or lesbian but who sometimes experiences opposite-sex attraction. A person who identifies as homoflexible may or may not act on their opposite-sex attraction. Learn More

Homophobia

(Noun) The aversion towards, fear and hatred of, or discomfort towards members of the LGBTQ+ community. Homophobia is often expressed as discrimination, hostility, harassment, and violence. Homophobia often stems from lack of knowledge about LGBTQ+ people and the issues they face and can sometimes be alleviated with education and support. Learn More

Homoromantic

(Adj.) Describes a person who experiences romantic attraction to persons of the same gender. They may or may not experience sexual attraction to the persons they are romantically attracted to.

Homosexual / Homosexuality

(Adj./Noun) Describes a primary or exclusive sexual, emotional, and/or romantic attraction to one’s own sex/gender. The term is considered outdated by many in the LGBTQ+ community but is still used in some research contexts. Learn More

Hormone blockers

(Noun) Also referred to as puberty blockers. Hormone blockers are medications that prevent the body from producing hormones associated with the physical changes of puberty. This is a form of gender-affirming medical care provided to some transgender youth. Learn More

House ballroom community

(Noun) Refers to the underground subculture of mainly Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ people who ‘walk’ to earn recognition and awards--as in a pageant--within their community. Most participants in ballroom belong to ‘houses,’ chosen families with which they compete and often live (see Chosen Family). Ballroom is said to originate in New York City in the late 20th century but exists today in various cities across the United States. Learn More

Hyperfemininity

(Noun) A term used to describe exaggerated feminine qualities, behaviors and roles stereotypically associated with girls and women. Hyperfemininity is sometimes expected of transgender women in order be seen as “real” women. Learn More

Hypermasculinity

(Noun) A term used to describe exaggerated masculine qualities, behaviors and roles stereotypically associated with boys and men. Hypermasculinity is sometimes expected of transgender men in order be seen as “real” men. Learn more

Intergender

(Adj.) Refers to a person who identifies between or as a mix of man/woman. Learn More

Intersectionality

(Noun) A term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in the 1980s to describe how social characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, and age overlap to shape individual identities and experiences, including experiences of privilege and/or discrimination. Learn More

Intersex

(Adj.) An umbrella term for variations in biological sex traits such as genitalia, hormones, reproductive anatomy or chromosomes. Some of these variations are evident at birth while others manifest during puberty or later in life. An intersex person can be of any gender identity and can also be of any sexual orientation and any romantic orientation. Learn More

Kinsey scale

(Noun) The scale developed by Alfred Kinsey in the 1940s, which was used for measuring sexual attraction and behavior along a continuum. Instead of assigning people to two categories—heterosexual and homosexual—Kinsey used a spectrum ranging from 0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual). The scale is an early recognition of varying sexual attractions and behaviors and is credited with challenging the heterosexual/homosexual binary. Learn more

Latinx/Latine

(Adj.) A gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina used to refer to a person of Latin American origin or descent.

Legal Transition

(Noun) Refers to the process through which a transgender person changes names and/or sex/gender categories on legal documents. These documents can include an updated driver’s license, social security card, and birth certificate. Other changes might involve changing government, work, school, bank and other institutional records. Learn More

Lesbian

(Adj./Noun) Refers to the sexual orientation of women who are emotionally, sexually, and/or romantically attracted to women. Learn More

LGBTQ+

(Adj.) LGBTQ+ is an umbrella term used to refer to the community of sexual and gender minorities as a whole. The acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning, with the "+" representing additional sexual orientations and gender identities, such as persons who are intersex or asexual. Learn More

LGBTQ+ Pride

Promotion of the self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of LGBTQ+ people. Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBTQ+ movements. Learn More

Lipstick Lesbian

(Noun) Usually refers to a lesbian with a feminine gender expression. Can be used as an affirmative term or in a derogatory way, depending on who is using it. Is sometimes also used to refer to a lesbian who is passing for heterosexual. Learn More

Lithsexual / Lithosexual

(Adj.) Describes a sexual orientation in which an individual feels romantic attraction to others but may not have a need for their affection to be reciprocated or may not have a need to engage in a relationship with that person. Also known as akoiromantic. Learn More

Masculinity

(Noun) Refers to qualities, behaviors and roles typically associated with boys and men.
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Masculine-of-center

(Adj.) A phrase that indicates the gender identity and gender expression of persons who understand and present themselves in a generally more masculine way without necessarily identifying as men. Learn More

Masculine-presenting

(adj.) A way to describe someone who expresses gender in a more masculine way. Often confused with masculine-of-center, which generally includes a focus on gender identity as well as expression. Learn More.

Medical Transition

(Noun) Refers to the process through which a transgender person alters their physical appearance through medical procedures to reflect their gender identity. For example, adolescents might begin with puberty blockers and hormone treatments while adults might choose to undergo gender affirmation surgery. Not all transgender people undergo medical transition. Learn More

Metrosexual

(Noun) A man with a strong aesthetic sense who spends more time, energy, or money on his appearance and grooming than is considered gender normative. Learn More

Microaggressions

(Noun) Brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral, or environmental exchanges, which, whether intentional or unintentional, communicate slights and insults toward marginalized identities. Learn More

Misgender

(Verb) Using pronouns or a form of address that does not align with an individual's gender identity. Misgendering may be unintentional or can be used intentionally to express bias. Learn More

Mispronoun

(Verb) Refers to addressing a person with the incorrect pronouns. To mispronoun may be unintentional or can be used intentionally to express bias. Learn More

Mixed Pronouns

(Noun) Refers to a situation in which a person uses multiple pronouns, such as she/they or they/he/she. Generally, mixed pronouns can be used interchangeably. However, the desired balance among different pronouns can be different for each person. Learn More

MLM

(Adj.) Short for Men Loving Men. Refers to men who are romantically, emotionally and/or sexually attracted to other men. Originated and used most often within the Black community. Learn More

Monogamous

(Adj.)Describes a person who is romantically and/or sexually involved with only one person at a time. Learn More

Monosexism

(Noun) The belief that monosexuals are superior, including the assumption that everyone is attracted to only one gender, it is better to be monosexual than to be bisexual, only monosexual identities are real, or monosexual issues are the only ones deserving of attention. Learn More

Monosexual

(Adj.) Describes a person who has romantic, sexual, or affectional desire for one gender only. May be used for people who identify as straight, gay, lesbian, etc. Learn More

MSM

(Noun) Short for Men Who Have Sex with Men. Used in academic and healthcare contexts to describe two persons of the male sex who engage in sexual activity. This includes cisgender men who have sex with transgender women or with nonbinary people assigned the sex of male, and vice versa. Used commonly in reports on public health and STIs.

MTF

(Adj.) Short for male-to-female. Refers to a transgender woman, meaning a person who was assigned male at birth based on their outward appearance but who identifies as a woman. MTF was sometimes used as a notation in medical and psychiatric literature in the mid-late 20th century. While it is still used sometimes today, MTF is considered inappropriate and offensive by some in the transgender community because it implies that transgender women were originally men, as opposed to women who just happen to be transgender. Learn More

Muxe

(Noun) A third gender category. In the Zapotec culture of Southern Mexico, refers to a person who is assigned male at birth but whose gender identity and expression are not conventionally masculine. Learn More

Neutrois /Neutrosis

(Adj.) Describes a non-binary gender identity that falls under the genderqueer umbrella. There is no one definition of Neutrois, the idea being that each person that self-identifies as neutrois experiences their gender differently. The most common neutrois gender identities are: gender neutral, null-gender, neither male nor female, genderless and/or agender. Learn More

Nonbinary

(Adj.) An identity that does not conform to traditional two-sided categories of sex, gender, and/or sexual orientation, such as male-female, man-woman, and gay-straight. Learn More

Nonbinary Lesbian

(Adj.) Describes a nonbinary person whose primary romantic, emotional and/or sexual attraction is to women. Learn More

Outing

(Noun or verb) When someone discloses information about another’s sexual orientation, intersex status or gender identity without their knowledge and/or consent. Learn More

Panromantic

(Adj.) Describes a person who can be romantically attracted to persons regardless of gender identity. Someone who identifies as panromantic may or may not be sexually attracted to the persons to whom they are romantically attracted. Learn More

Pansexual

(Adj.) Describes the capacity to experience sexual, romantic and emotional attraction to an individual regardless of gender. Persons who identify as pansexual sometimes describe themselves as "gender blind"--that is, gender does not factor into attraction for them. More expansive than the term bisexual, which typically refers to attraction to more than one--but not necessarily all--genders. In fact, the prefix pan-, which comes from the Greek language, means “relating to the whole of the universe.” Learn More

Passing

(Adj./Verb) Transgender people being accepted as, or able to “pass for,” a member of their self-identified gender identity (regardless of sex assigned at birth) without being identified as transgender; Also an LGB/queer individual who is perceived as straight. Learn More

Plurisexual

(Adj) An umbrella term for persons who experience attraction to more than one gender. Identities such as bisexual, pansexual, and queer fall under this category. Learn more

Polyamory

(Noun) The practice of consensually being in/open to multiple romantic and/or sexual relationships at the same time (with knowledge and consent of all partners), including: open relationships, polyfidelity (which involves multiple romantic relationships with sexual contact restricted to those), and sub-relationships (which denote distinguishing between a primary relationship or relationships and various secondary relationships). Learn More

Polygender / Pangender

(Adj.) Describes a person whose gender identity is comprised of multiple genders. Learn More

Polyromantic

(Adj.) Describes a person who experiences romantic attraction towards multiple but not all genders. Learn More

Polysexual

(Adj.) Distinct from Pansexuality, polysexuality is the sexual or romantic attraction to multiple, but not all, possible genders. Learn More

Pomosexual

(Adj.) Describes a person who does not define their sexual orientation in terms of conventional labels or classifications (e.g., gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, etc.). Learn More

Preference

(Noun) A specific set of desires people have in romantic, emotional and/or sexual partners. It is important to note that sexual orientation is not a preference, but people of all sexual orientations can have preferences (physical, economic, etc.) for the people they are involved with. Learn More

Pronouns

(Noun) Traditional examples include “she/her/hers” or “he/him/his”. Some people prefer gender-neutral pronouns, such as “ze/hir/hirs,” or “they/them/ theirs”. Some people prefer no pronouns at all. Learn More

QPOC / QTPOC

(Abbreviation) Initialisms that stand for queer people of color and queer and/or trans people of color. Learn More

Queer

(Adj.) Alternative term to LGBTQ+. An umbrella term for anyone who does not identify as heterosexual. Historically a negative term and insult, queer is being reclaimed by many LGBTQ+ people—particularly youth—as a source of pride and political identity. The term is valued by some for its defiance, by some because it can be inclusive of the entire community, and by others who find it to be an appropriate term to describe their more fluid identities. “Queer” is still disliked by some people in the LGBTQ+ community and its use by straight people can be considered offensive. Due to its varying meanings, this word should only be used when self-identifying or quoting someone who self-identifies as queer (i.e. “My cousin identifies as queer.”) Learn More

Questioning

(Adj.)Describes the process of discovery and exploration about sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or a combination thereof. Can be an aspect of adolescence as young people explore various facets of their identity.
Learn More

Romantic Attraction

(Noun) Refers to the desire to engage in romantic behavior such as dating and relationships with another person or persons. Can exist independently or alongside other attractions, such as emotional, sexual and/or aesthetic attraction. Learn More

Romantic Identity

(Noun) The way a person identifies in relation to their romantic attractions. For instance, a person might identify as heteroromantic, panromantic or aromantic. Learn More

Romantic Orientation

(Noun) A way of characterizing a person's identity vis-à-vis romantic attractions, behavior and identity. Learn More

Same-gender-loving (SGL)

(Adj.) Originated in the 1990s as a culturally affirming Afrocentric alternative to gay or lesbian. Used by some members of the African American community to express a non-straight sexual orientation. Learn More

Same-sex attraction (SSA)

(Noun) A term used to describe attraction to persons of the same sex/gender. Same-sex attraction can take different forms, including sexual, romantic, physical, emotional, and/or aesthetic attraction. Learn More

Sapiosexual

(Noun) A person who finds intelligence romantically and/or sexually attractive. Learn More

Sapphic

(Adj.) Drawn from the Greek lesbian poet Sappho’s name, sapphic is an inclusive umbrella term used to describe a woman or non-binary person of any sexual orientation (bisexual, lesbian, pansexual, or queer) who is attracted to other women. Learn More

Sex / Sex assigned at birth / Biological sex

(Noun) A person's sex (male, female, or intersex) is often determined based on the appearance of the genitalia, either in ultrasound or at birth. In reality, biological sex is more complicated, referring to a combination of anatomical, physiological, genetic, and physical attributes. These include genitalia, gonads, hormone levels, hormone receptors, chromosomes, genes, and secondary sex characteristics. The phrase "sex assigned at birth" is used by some to emphasize that genitalia alone are not always a sufficient indication of a person's sex, as well as the fact that a person's gender identity is not always aligned with the sex characteristics observed at birth. Learn More

Sexuality

(Noun) The components of a person that include their biological sex, sexual orientation, sexual behaviors, etc. Learn More

Sexual assault

(Noun) Sexual contact or behavior that occurs without consent of the victim. Victims can be of any gender or sexual orientation. LGBTQ+ persons are at heightened risk to be victims of sexual assault.

Sexual Attraction

(Noun) Refers to the desire to engage in sexual behavior or make sexual contact with another person or persons. Learn More

Sexual identity

(Noun) The way a person views and understands their sexual orientation, such as gay, straight, bisexual, or some other orientation. Learn More

Sexual orientation

(Noun) Commonly used to refer to who we are or are not attracted to -- sexually, romantically, and emotionally--the relationships we have, and how we personally identify. Sometimes used more narrowly to refer to sexual attraction, behavior and identity. Attraction and behavior do not always define a person's sexual orientation. (e.g. a man who has sex with men may not identify as gay). Learn More

Skoliosexual

(Adj.) Term describing an individual who may be sexually or romantically attracted to non-binary identified people. Learn More

Social Transition

(Noun) Refers to the process through which a transgender person makes changes in their name, pronouns, and/or appearance. For example, a child might shift to using a name and pronouns that align with their gender identity rather than their sex observed at birth. Trans women might grow their hair out and wear makeup; trans men may ‘bind’ or compress their breasts. Learn More

SOGI

(Abbreviation) Short for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. More commonly written than spoken.

Stealth

(Adj.) A term to describe when a transgender person is not “out” as transgender, and is perceived or known by others as cisgender. Learn More

Straight

(Adj.) Another term for heterosexual. Refers to the sexual, emotional, and/or romantic attraction to a gender other than one's own. Typically this means a woman who is primarily attracted to men and vice versa. Learn More

Structural stigma

(Noun) Societal conditions, cultural norms, and institutional policies that constrain or restrict the opportunities, resources, and wellbeing of a stigmatized community. Learn More

Stud

(Adj./Noun) A culturally specific identity used to describe Black lesbians who take on an appearance or role that is typically viewed as masculine. This term is not appropriate for non-Black lesbians to use in this regard. Learn More

Third gender

(Noun) A concept in which individuals are categorized by themselves, their society, or outsiders to their society, as not fitting into the Western ideas of binary gender and heterosexual roles. The phrase "third gender" has been used for a wide variety of meanings, including in reference to: hundreds of indigenous societal roles as described (and often misrepresented) by Western anthropologists; transgender people who are nonbinary; and women who are considered to be gender-nonconforming. The term can be considered offensive. When possible, use the culturally appropriate and/or individually preferred term when referring to someone’s gender identity in lieu of “third gender.” Learn more


Top surgery

(Noun) Refers to the surgery performed on a person’s chest or breasts either to reshape a chest or to provide breast augmentation as part of gender-affirming medical care that some transgender persons undergo. (See Gender-affirming Surgery) Learn More

Trigender

(Adj.) A non-binary gender identity that describes an individual shifting among three genders: male, female, and a nonbinary gender. Learn More

Transfeminine

(Adj.) Relating to an individual who was born with male sex characteristics but whose gender identity is more feminine than masculine. Learn More

T4T

(Adj.) Short for Trans 4 Trans. Describes a transgender person who is exclusively attracted to other transgender persons. T4T relationships allow transgender persons to relate to one another without having to explain their identity or experiences. Only those who are transgender or non-cisgender can identify with this term. Learn More

Transgender / Trans*

(Adj.) Describes a person whose gender identity does not match their sex characteristics observed at birth. People who identify as transgender (sometimes shortened to "trans") may or may not decide to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically to match their gender identity. This word is also sometimes used as a broad umbrella term to describe those who transcend conventional expectations of gender identity or expression, such as people who identify as genderqueer, gender variant, gender diverse, or androgynous. Learn More

Transmasculine

(Adj.) Relating to an individual who was born with female sex characteristics but whose gender identity is more masculine than feminine. Learn More

Transphobia

(Noun) The aversion towards, fear and hatred of, or discomfort with people who are transgender or gender ambiguous. Transphobia is often expressed as discrimination, hostility, harassment and violence. Learn More

Transition

(Noun) The process by which some people strive to more closely align their outward appearance with their internal feelings/perceptions of their gender. This may, but does not always, include hormone therapy, surgical or other medical procedures, and changing names, pronouns, identification documents, and more. Often referred to as gender transition. Learn More

Transromantic

(Adj.) Describes a person who experiences romantic attraction to individuals whom they perceive to be transgender. Learn More

Transsexual (TS)

(Adj.) An older term that originated in the medical and psychological communities, the term transexual is still preferred by some people who have changed or seek to change their bodies permanently via medical intervention such as surgery and/or hormone treatments. Most transgender people do not identify as transexual and prefer the term transgender to avoid confusing gender identity with biological sex or sexual orientation. Learn More

Transvestite

(Noun) An outdated term that is now considered pejorative (the preferred term is cross-dresser). Describes individuals who regularly or occasionally wear clothes traditionally and culturally associated with people of a different gender for fun, self-expression, relaxation, etc. Transvestites/cross-dressers are usually comfortable with their anatomy and do not wish to change it; their gender expression is not necessarily tied to erotic activity, and is not a reflection of sexual orientation. Learn More

Trans man/FtM

(Noun) A transgender person who was assigned female at birth but identifies as a man. Learn More

Trans woman/MtF

(Noun) A transgender person who was an assigned male at birth but identifies as woman. Learn More

Trixic

(Adj.) Describes a person with a nonbinary gender identity who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to women. Learn More.

True Hermaphrodite

(Noun) An outdated clinical term used to describe an individual’s unequivocal and full presentation of both testicular and ovarian sexual organs. Today this condition is clinically referred to as “Ovo-Testicular Disorder of Sexual Differentiation” (OVO-DSD) under the DSD classification. See also Disorder of Sex Development (DSD). Learn More

Two-Spirit

(Adj.) "Two-Spirit" is an umbrella term for people across hundreds of diverse Native American nations and tribes who embody both male and female spirits. Two-Spirit people occupy distinct roles and traditions within their culture. The term reflects a long history of gender diversity, as well as complex Indigenous understandings of gender and spirituality, in Native American communities. Learn More

WLW

WLW (Adj.) Short for Women Loving Women. Refers to women who are romantically, emotionally and/or sexually attracted to other women. Can also include bisexual, pansexual or otherwise same-gender loving women. Originated and used most often within the Black community. Learn More

WSW

(Noun) Short for Women Who Have Sex with Women. Used in academic and medical contexts to describe two persons of the female sex who engage in sexual activity. This includes cisgender women who have sex with transgender men or with nonbinary people assigned the sex of female at birth, and vice versa. Used commonly in reports on public health and STIs.

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