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Glossary of LGBTQIA+ Definitions

LGBTQIA+ Definitions

Asexual: “An adjective used to describe people who do not experience sexual attraction (e.g., asexual person). A person can also be aromantic, meaning they do not experience romantic attraction.” 25

Bisexual (Bi): “A person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions to those of the same gender or to those of another gender. People may experience this attraction in differing ways and degrees over their lifetime. Bisexual people need not have had specific sexual experiences to be bisexual; in fact, they need not have had any sexual experience at all to identify as bisexual.” 25

Cisgender: “A term used to describe people who are not transgender. "Cis-" is a Latin prefix meaning ‘on the same side as,’ and is, therefore, an antonym of ‘trans-’.  A more widely understood way to describe people who are not transgender is simply to say, non-transgender people. " 26

Gay: “The adjective used to describe people whose enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions are to people of the same sex (e.g., gay man, gay people). Sometimes lesbian (n. or adj.) is the preferred term for women. Avoid identifying gay people as ‘homosexuals’ an outdated term considered derogatory and offensive to many lesbian and gay people.” 25

Gender Affirming Medical Treatment: “Can include treatments that postpone physical changes associated with puberty [hormone blockers], as well as treatments that lead to changes that would affirm one's gender identity [gender affirming hormone therapy].”24

Gender Dysphoria: “Psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity. Though gender dysphoria often begins in childhood, some people may not experience it until after puberty or much later.” 27

Gender Expression: “External manifestations of gender, expressed through a person's name, pronouns, clothing, haircut, behavior, voice, and/or body characteristics. Society identifies these cues as masculine and feminine, although what is considered masculine or feminine changes over time and varies by culture. Typically, transgender people seek to align their gender expression with their gender identity, rather than the sex they were assigned at birth.” 26

Gender Identity: “A person's internal, deeply held sense of their gender. For transgender people, their own internal gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Most people have a gender identity of man or woman (or boy or girl). For some people, their gender identity does not fit neatly into one of those two choices (see non-binary and/or genderqueer below.) Unlike gender expression (see below) gender identity is not visible to others.” 26

Gender Non-Conforming: “A term used to describe some people whose gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculinity and femininity. Please note that not all gender non-conforming people identify as transgender; nor are all transgender people gender non-conforming. Many people have gender expressions that are not entirely conventional – that fact alone does not make them transgender. Many transgender men and women have gender expressions that are conventionally masculine or feminine. Simply being transgender does not make someone gender non-conforming. The term is not a synonym for transgender and should only be used if someone self-identifies as gender non-conforming.” 26

Heterosexual = “An adjective used to describe people whose enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attraction is to people of the opposite sex. Also straight.” 25

Intersex: “An umbrella term describing people born with reproductive or sexual anatomy and/or a chromosome pattern that can't be classified as typically male or female. Those variations are also sometimes referred to as Differences of Sex Development (DSD.) Avoid the term ‘hermaphrodite.’ While some people can have an intersex condition and also identify as transgender, the two are separate and should not be conflated.” 25

Lesbian: “A woman whose enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction is to other women. Some lesbians may prefer to identify as gay (adj.) or as gay women. Avoid identifying lesbians as ‘homosexuals,’ a derogatory term.” 25

LGBTQIA+ = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and Other Identities

LGBTQ+ = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Other Identities

Neopronoun: A pronoun other than she/her/her, he/him/his, and they/them/theirs used by some LGBTQIA+ individuals (e.g. zhe/zhem).

Non-binary or Genderqueer: “Terms used by some people who experience their gender identity and/or gender expression as falling outside the categories of man and woman. They may define their gender as falling somewhere in between man and woman, or they may define it as wholly different from these terms. The term is not a synonym for transgender and should only be used if someone self-identifies as non-binary and/or genderqueer.” 26

Pansexual: A person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions to people of all gender identities, or who is attracted to people regardless of gender.

Pronoun: Words that replace a noun and can be used to refer to people. Some are gendered such as “she” and “he”, while others are gender-neutral such as “they”.

Queer: “An adjective used by some people, particularly younger people, whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual (e.g. queer person, queer woman). Typically, for those who identify as queer, the terms lesbian, gay, and bisexual are perceived to be too limiting and/or fraught with cultural connotations they feel don't apply to them. Some people may use queer, or more commonly genderqueer, to describe their gender identity and/or gender expression (see non-binary and/or genderqueer below). Once considered a pejorative term, queer has been reclaimed by some LGBT people to describe themselves; however, it is not a universally accepted term even within the LGBT community. When Q is seen at the end of LGBT, it typically means queer and, less often, questioning.” 24

Sexual Orientation: “Describes a person's enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer. For example, a person who transitions from male to female and is attracted solely to men would typically identify as a straight woman. Avoid the offensive term ‘sexual preference,’ which is used to suggest that being gay, lesbian, or bisexual is voluntary and therefore ‘curable.’ People need not have had specific sexual experiences to know their own sexual orientation; in fact, they need not have had any sexual experience at all.” 26

TGNC: Transgender and gender non-conforming

Transgender: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. People under the transgender umbrella may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms - including transgender. Some of those terms are defined below. Use the descriptive term preferred by the person. Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to bring their bodies into alignment with their gender identity. Some undergo surgery as well. But not all transgender people can or will take those steps, and a transgender identity is not dependent upon physical appearance or medical procedures.” 26

Two-Spirit: “’ Two-spirit’” refers to a person who identifies as having both a masculine and a feminine spirit, and is used by some Indigenous people to describe their sexual, gender, and/or spiritual identity.  As an umbrella term, it may encompass same-sex attraction and a wide variety of gender variance, including people who might be described in Western culture as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, cross-dressers, or who have multiple gender identities.” 28