Terms and Definitions
Ally An individual or group that supports the LGBTQ community.
Asexuality An umbrella term for people who do not experience sexual attraction toward others.
Biphobia Ignorance or fear of bisexual people. Can include prejudice, discrimination, harassment, and acts of violence.
Bisexuality Sexual and romantic feelings for both men and women.
Cisgender Someone who gender identity matches their assigned sex. Example: If Tiffany feels she is female, and was assigned female at birth, she is cisgender.
Closeted People who conceal their sexual identity from others.
Coming Out The process of accepting one’s sexuality and gender identity, then telling others.
Gay People who have sexual and romantic feelings for the same sex. This can mean males or females, though it tends to mean mainly homosexual men.
Gender The way a person is seen as male, female, some combination, or neither. Constructed by societal norms.
Gender Identity A person’s internal feeling of being female, male, both, or neither.
LGBTQIA Acronym meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual. Many different acronyms can be used – LGBT, LGBTQ, GLBT, LGBTQQIAA, QUILTBAG, etc.
Heterosexism Bias against any person that is not exclusively heterosexual. This can include assuming that everyone is heterosexual.
Homophobia Ignorance or fear of non-heterosexual people. Homophobic actions can include prejudice, discrimination, harassment, and acts of violence.
Homosexual People who have sexual and romantic feelings primarily for people of the same sex.
Intersex A biological condition where a person is born with physical characteristics and/or sex chromosomes that are not exclusively male or female. An earlier and now considered offensive word for this was ‘hermaphrodite.’
Lesbian A woman whose sexual and romantic feelings are for women.
Pansexual Sexual attraction to people regardless of gender.
Queer An umbrella term that includes a range of non-heterosexuality and gender identities. Historically used as hate speech toward LGBTQ people, but now reclaimed by many.
Romantic Orientation More formally known as affectional orientation. Refers direction of emotional intimacy not sexual attraction.
Sex A biological term that refers to physical characteristics and/or sex chromosomes.
Sexual Orientation Direction of sexual attraction.
Transgender or Trans An umbrella term for those whose gender identity or expression falls outside their assigned sex. This includes people who feel that their anatomical gender is at odds with their inner sense of self. Some trans people are bigender (two genders), agender (no gender), or polygender (more than two genders).
Transphobia Ignorance or fear of transgender people. Transphobic actions can include prejudice, discrimination, harassment, and acts of violence.
Transsexual People who are born biologically male or female but have a profound identification with another gender. Not all transsexual people see themselves as being transgender. Often seen more as a medical condition whereas transgender is more of an inherent identity.
Adapted from gayfamilysupport.com and Dr. Mark Pope.