Talking the Talk: LGBTIQ Terms

  • Ally – Someone who advocates for and supports members of a community other than their own. Reaching across differences to achieve mutual goals.
  • Asexual - Person who does not define or express his or her sexuality in any way that is commonly held or identified.
  • Biological Sex – Physiological and anatomical characteristics of maleness or femaleness with which a person is born.
  • Bisexual – Individual who is physically or emotionally attracted to both men and women and who identifies as a member of this community.
  • Cisgender - A person whose biological sex and sex assigned at birth matches with gender identity and presentation.
  • Closet – Place where LGBTIQ people figuratively hide their sexual orientation from others.
  • Cross Dresser – Term representing someone who steps out of their gender role by dressing in clothing socially assigned to another gender.  Term usage is less acceptable in today’s society.
  • Gay – A male who is physically and emotionally attracted to other men.  In addition, term sometimes used to describe anyone with a homosexual or bisexual orientation, regardless of whether a man or woman.
  • Gender – One’s psychological sense of self as being either male or female (or other gender expression).  Can include identity, appearance, expression or behavior.
  • Gender Binary – The classification of sex and gender into two distinct opposites, male and female.
  • Gender Expression – refers to an individual’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms, speech patterns, and social interactions that are perceived as masculine or feminine.
  • Gender Identity – refers to a person’s internal, deeply felt sense of being either male, female, something else or in between. Everyone has a gender identity.
  • Gender Role – Set of socially-defined roles and behaviors assigned to females or males.  Can vary from culture to culture in society.  Often described in terms of masculinity or femininity.
  • Heteronormative – is the assumption that heterosexuality and heterosexual norms are universal or at least the only acceptable conditions. Closely related to heterosexism.
  • Heterosexism – Overt or tacit bias or assumption of superiority in society of heterosexuals or heterosexual behavior.  Could be assumption that all people are heterosexual in society.
  • Heterosexual – Person physically and emotionally attracted to a person of the opposite sex.
  • Homophobia – Fear or hatred of homosexuality, usually held by some heterosexuals.
  • Homosexual – Term used to describe someone physically and emotionally attracted to a person of the same sex.  Slightly derogatory in use for describing a group of LGBTIQ people.
  • Intersex – People born with varying degrees of the biological aspects of both biological males and biological females.  Often “assigned” a male or female identity at birth that may not correspond with identities later in life.
  • Lesbian – Female physically and emotionally attracted to other women.
  • LGBTIQ – Acronym used to describe people of a non-heterosexual orientation and non-cisgender people.  Implies Inclusivity to people of all gender and sexual identities and sexual orientations
  • Outing – Revealing another person’s sexual orientation, especially a person in the LGBTIQ community.
  • Pansexual – A person who is attracted to people without regard to gender.
  • Queer – Term used by some LGBTIQ people to refer to anyone whose sexual orientation, gender identity or expression is not “standard” in society.  Synonym for gay.  Historically was a slur reclaimed by many in the LGBTIQ community.
  • Questioning – Term used to describe people who are in the process of uncovering their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Sexual orientation – Refers to one’s sexual, romantic, physical, emotional, psychological and/or spiritual attraction.
  • Straight – Person physically and emotionally attracted to a person of the opposite sex.
  • Trans* – Inclusive term to refer to anyone who is transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, or gender non-conforming
  • Transgender – Term for communities whose gender identities transcend conventional definitions of “man” and “woman” in society.  Person whose gender identifies with one not assigned by society.
  • Transphobia – Fear or hatred of trans people, sometimes manifested through violence, harassment and discrimination.
  • Transsexual - People who do not identify with their birth-assigned sexes and sometimes alter bodies surgically and/or hormonally.
  • Transvestite - Out-of-date term for someone who chooses to dress in clothing assigned to a different gender.
  • Two-Spirit – General term used for some transgender Native Americans, highly regarded in a tribe and often given special status such as a medicine man/woman.
  • Ze/Zer – A gender neutral pronoun used in publication, print, and by some gender non-conforming individual.