LGBTQIA+ TerminologyThis list below includes a portion of terms and definitions of queer language, but be mindful that such language is constantly evolving and often means different things to different people/ This list is not conclusive, but acts as a starting point for discussion and understanding.
Ace - Shorthand for asexual, and may refer to anyone along asexual or graysexual spectrums.
AFAB/AMAB - Stands for Assigned Female at Birth/Assigned Male at Birth
Affirming - Clear support for an individual person regardless of their identities; supporting oppressed identities by ensuring they are fully represented, included, valued, and honored.
Agender - One who does not identify as having a gender identity.
Ally - One who confronts oppression and privilege within themselves and others out of self- interest and a concern for the well-being of oppressed minorities. They realize that justice requires dismantling generations of systematic oppression.
Androgynous - One who expresses themselves on conventionally gender nonconforming ways, such as both masculinely and feminely, neither or a mixture therof.
Androsexual - One who attracted to people who present as men.
Aromantic - One who does not experience romantic feelings or attractions.
Assigned Sex - One's combination of genitals, chromosomes, and hormones which causes society to assign them a gender at birth under the assumption that their body matches a notion of how they should act. Noted as female, male, assigned male at birth, assigned female at birth, intersex.
Asexual: One who does not experience sexual attractions.
Biphobia: Fear or hatred of people who are bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, or non-monosexual. Closely linked with transphobia and homophobia.
Bisexual: One whose sexual and affectional orientation is towards two or more groups of people. Similar terms: Pansexual, Omnisexual
Coming Out: Describes voluntarily making public one's sexual orientation or gender identity.
Cisgender, Cissexual, or Cis: One whose gender identity matches the biological sex they were assigned at birth.
Cissexism: Societal assumption that all people should be cisgender and gender nonconformity and transgender people are deviant. It is a systematic form of oppression against trans individuals by excluding the needs, concerns, or life experiences of trans people while giving societal advantages to cisgender individuals.
Deadname: One’s birth name, typically in reference to trans people. Deadnaming refers to using someone’s birth name instead of their chosen name, either intentionally or unintentionally.
Demisexual: One who only experiences sexual attraction to those they are emotionally close to.
Drag King: One who performs as an exaggerated version of a masculine individual.
Drag Queen: One who performs as an exaggerated version of a feminine individual.
Emotional Tax: The effects of being on guard to protect against bias due to sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, etc and therefore has compounding effects on one’s health, well-being, and ability to be successful.
Enby: Shorthand for nonbinary, originates from the phonetic pronunciation of NB.
Equity: Proportional representation and resources based on sexual orientation, gender, class, race, ethnicity, etc. Compared to equality, which implies equal resources to all populations regardless of prior standing, equity implies proportionally dividing up resources to give based on need.
Femme: One who performs their gender in a feminine manner.
Gay: One whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same gender. Can apply to any gender.
Gender Dysphoria: Feeling of discomfort or discontent with one’s gender assigned at birth and is often experienced by trans people
Gender Expression: The way a person performs their gender in society.
Genderfluid: A term to describe a gender that changes over time.
Gender Identity: One's internal sense of who they are as a gendered being—specifically, the gender with which they identify themselves. All people have a gender identity. Noted as woman, man, non-binary, trans man, trans woman, etc.
Gender Nonconforming (GNC): One who does not conform to gender expressions or roles expected of them by society. Sometimes also called Gender Variant.
Gender Policing: Enforcement of normative gender expressions on one who is not perceived as not participating in behavior that aligns with their assigned gender at birth.
Gender Role: Socially assigned expectation or cultural norm related to behavior, mannerisms, dress, etc based on gender
Gender Spectrum: Theory that gender identity occurs along a spectrum rather than a strict binary.
Greysexual: One with any variety of limited sexual or romantic attraction.
Gynesexual: One who is attracted to people who present as women.
Heterosexism: Societal assumption that all people should be heterosexual, monogamous, and get married, have children, and support the dominant lifestyle. Heterosexism excludes the needs, concerns, and life experiences of polyamorous, lesbian, gay and bisexual people while it gives advantages to heterosexual people. It is a systematic form of oppression of marginalized gender, sexual, and romantic identities. Related to heteronormativity, implying heterosexual people are “normal” whereas queer identities are deviant.
Heterosexuality: One whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the gender that society claims is its opposite.
Homophobia: Fear or hatred of queer people. Often used as a blanket term to describe a hatred or fear of all LGBTQ+ people. Homophobia leads to prejudice, discrimination, harassment, and acts of violence brought on by fear and hatred. It occurs on personal, institutional, and societal levels. Homophobia is closely linked with transphobia and biphobia.
Homosexuality: A medical term to describe a person whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same gender. Historically, it was a term used to pathologize gay and lesbian people.
Internalized homophobia: The fear and self-hate of one’s own lesbian, gay or bisexual identity, that occurs for many individuals who have learned negative ideas about LGBT people. One form of internalized oppression is the acceptance of the myths and stereotypes applied to the oppressed group.
Inclusive Language: Use of nonspecific or ungendered language to avoid assumptions about sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
In the Closet: One who will not or cannot disclose their minority identity to their friends, family, co-workers, or society. There are varying degrees of being “in the closet”; for example, a person can be out in their social life, but in the closet at work, or with their family.
Intersectionality: Theory that all people experience the world in a different way based upon the intersection of all of their identities. When examining privilege and oppression, one must examine with a unique lens that takes all of their identities into account. For instance, women of color experience the world with a much different set of rules and experience than white women or black men. One’s intersecting identities exponentially marginalizes them as their identities interact in relation to one another and larger society
Intersex: One who has developed primary or secondary sex characteristics that do not fit neatly into society's definitions of male or female. Many visibly Intersex people are mutilated in infancy and early childhood by doctors to make their sex characteristics conform to their idea of what normal bodies should look like.
Lesbian: A woman whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same gender.
Misgender: To refer to someone (especially with pronouns or form of address) in a manner that does not reflect their gender identity.
Mx.: The gender-neutral title for Mr. or Mrs/Ms. Pronounced “mix.”
Nonbinary: An umbrella term that can refer to one that identities outside exclusively masculine or exclusively feminine.
Oppositional Sexism: Belief that femininity and masculinity are exclusive and rigid categories, often affecting transgender people disproportionally
Othering: The act of viewing or treating another as intrinsically different and separate from oneself.
Outing: An involuntary disclosure of one’s minority status.
Pansexual: One whose sexual and affectional orientation is toward people regardless of their gender or sex assigned at birth. Similar terms: Bisexual, Omnisexual
Passing: The act of effectively presenting as one’s identified gender rather than being perceived as their gender assigned at birth or as transgender. Relates to clocking, which is the act of being perceived as either transgender or one’s gender assigned at birth rather than one’s identified gender.
Polyamory: The concept that people can experience sexual and/or romantic love for more than one partner. This can include: open relationships (partners can have sex and/or relationships with other people), polyfidelity (three or more partners who are in a closed relationship with only those in their relationship), and sub-relationships (which denote distinguishing between a primary relationship or relationships and various secondary relationships).
Pronouns: Consciously chosen phrases used to represent and note gender identity. Examples include he/him, she/her, they/them, xe/xem, etc.
Queer: Any person who strays from straight, cisgender, cissexual, and monogamous. Some still find it offensive, while others reclaim it to encompass a broader range of identities, politics, and histories.
Queerplatonic: A relationship that is more intense and intimate than friendship, but not at the level of a romantic relationship. Often between friends, these may or may not include a sexual relationship. Often, the partner is jokingly called their zucchini. Also seen as: QP, QPP (Queerplatonic Partners)
Questioning: One who is unsure or exploring preferred labels in reference to their identities. Going between labels, changing one’s mind, etc are natural and should be supported.
Oppression: When one social group, whether knowingly or unconsciously, exploits another social group for its own benefit.
Reclaimed Language: Language that has been traditionally used to degrade marginalized groups, but now reclaimed and used by members of that marginalized group for their own. Examples include queer, queen, faggot, tranny, etc.
Sexual Orientation: A label for people that describes who they are attracted to sexually.
Stealth: This term refers to when a person chooses to be secretive in the public sphere about their gender history when they are not seen as the gender they were assigned at birth.
TERF: Stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism. Branch of feminism that seeks to further degrade, marginalize, and discriminate against transgender people.
Transfeminine/Transmasculine: Transfeminine refers to transgender people identifying along the feminine side of the gender spectrum, whereas transmasculine refers to transgender people identifying along the masculine side of the gender spectrum.
Transition: Primarily used to refer to the process a gender variant person undergoes when changing their appearance and demeanor to be more congruent with their gender.
Transphobia: Fear or hatred of people whose gender identity or expression is incongruent with the biological sex they were assigned at birth. Closely linked with biphobia and homophobia.
Transgender/Trans: An adjective to describe a person whose gender identity is incongruent with the gender they were assigned at birth.
Trans Man: Female-to-male transsexual/transgender person. Also Trans Guy, FtM, F2M.
Trans Woman: Male-to-female transsexual/transgender person. Also, Trans Girl, MtF, M2F.
Two-Spirit: Used by First Nation people to indicate that they embody both a masculine and a feminine spirit. Can refer to sexuality or gender.
Womyn: A term used to change the etymology of woman away from its Old English root “of man;” sometimes used in conjunction with womxn. From second wave feminism, and can either denote inclusivity within feminism or exclusion. TERFs occasionally use terms like “womyn born womyn” to discriminate against transgender people and dogwhistle to others.
LGBTQQTSIAA: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Two-Spirit, Intersex, Asexual, and Allies. An everchanging umbrella term that is used to refer to people marginalized because of their sexuality or gender identity. Other Forms: LGBT, GLBT, QUILTBAG, MOGI (Marginalized Orientations and Gender Identities), GSRM (Gender, Sexual, and Romantic Minorities)