Language is constantly evolving, and these definitions are not by any means comprehensive. These are terms of self-identification and should not be used to label others without their consent.
Ally: Any person who opposes heterosexism/homophobia and actively supports LGBTQ causes.
Asexual: A person who feels no significant physical or sexual attraction to other people.
Biological Sex/Natal Sex/Birth Sex: The medical term used for the identification of male, female, or intersex sex i.e. chromosomes, gonads, and/or genitalia.
Binding: The act of pressing one's breast to one's chest with restrictive materials to have the appearance of a more masculine chest.
Bisexual/Bi: A person who has significant romantic, emotional, physical and sexual attractions to members of the male and female sex. The frequency, intensity, or quality of attraction is not necessarily directed toward these sexes equally.
Butch: A term typically used to a person with a masculine gender presentation, although this term has been and is still used negatively towards members of the LGBTQIA community, this term has been re-appropriated by some lesbians to identify themselves.
Cisgender/Gender Normative/Gender Straight: A person who has a normative gender presentation, when a person’s gender identity, gender expression, and biological sex match.
Closet: A metaphorical place in which queer people exist when they are unable to express publicly their queer identities. It can be very damaging to the psyche and lead to internalized homophobia and transphobia, also used as an adverb “closeted”.
Coming out/Coming out of the Closet: Coming to terms with one’s sexual or gender identity. It can also mean stating openly that one is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer.
Cross Dresser: Typically defined as someone who identifies as one gender donning clothes or traits of another gender.
Down-low: A term typically used to describe men in the African American community who have secret sexual relationships on occasion, while maintaining heteronormative identities and lifestyles.
Drag Queen: Someone who performs female gender, not typically a permanent presentation.
Drag King: Someone who performs male gender, not typically a permanent presentation.
Dyke: Although this term has been and is still used negatively, this term has been re-appropriated by some lesbians to identify themselves as a type of lesbians that are typically characterized as tough.
Femme: A term typically used to describe a person with an extremely feminine gender presentation.
Flaming: Although this term has been and is still used negatively the term has also been re-appropriated by the queer community and is typically directed at gay men to describe their effeminate mannerisms and their “gayness”.
FTM: female-to-male. Indicates a trans individual who was assigned the sex of female at birth, but has claimed a male gender identity.
Gay: typically used to describe a man whose primary romantic, emotional, physical and sexual attractions are to other men. This term is sometimes an umbrella term for LGB people and the mainstream fight for equal rights.
Gender Confirmation Surgery: any surgery to make a person’s outward appearance more closely align with their gender rather than biological sex, also known as gender reassignment surgery, many have transitioned to Gender Confirmation Surgery as it utilizes more positive language.
Gender Bending: The process of any gender expression that is non-normative.
Gender Binary: The socially constructed idea that all people identify as either male or female. This concept ignores all identities that on the gender spectrum between male and female.
Gender Cues: Societal norms and practices that indicate gender.
Gender Expression: The outward presentation of gender.
Gender/Gender Identity: How one thinks of one’s gender. This conviction is not contingent upon the individual’s sex. There are ranges of different gender identities and everyone has an individualized experience.
Genderqueer: A rejection of the gender binary (male/female) in favor of a more fluid, nontraditional identity. This is sometimes used as an umbrella term for all gender non-conforming individuals. Sometimes known as Gender Fluid or Gender Non-Conforming.
Gender Spectrum: The idea that not all people identify as either male or female, some identify somewhere in between male or female or do not identify with the terms ‘male’ or ‘female’ at all. This concept contradicts the gender binary.
GSM/Gender and Sexual Minority: Another title for the queer community.
Heteronormative: Societal structure that assumes heterosexual lifestyles is the normal way of living
Heterosexism: The system of oppression that reinforces the belief in the inherent superiority of heterosexuality and heterosexual relationships, thereby negating gays’, lesbians’, and bisexuals’ lives and relationships.
Heterosexual Privilege/Heteronormativity: The societal assumption and norm that all people are heterosexual. There are basic civil rights and social privileges that a heterosexual person automatically receives that are systematically denied to queer persons, simply because of their sexual orientation.
Homophobia: Negative feelings, attitudes, actions or behaviors towards anyone who is queer, or perceived to identify as queer. Internalized homophobia is a fear of same-sex or queer tendencies within oneself and can lead to repression. Institutionalized homophobia refers to homophobic laws, policies, and positions taken by social and governmental institutions.
Homosexuality: Defines attraction to the same sex. Most prefer the terms “gay”, “lesbian”, “bisexual”, or “queer” to describe their identities.
Hormone Replacement Therapy, HRT: The use of biological hormone treatment for gender-variant or trans people to make their body align more closely with their gender.
Intersex: A biological condition, in which a person has non-definitive biological or physical indicators of sex, can manifest in genitalia or chromosomal abnormality. Formally known as a hermaphrodite, although the queer community has moved away from that term as it has been determined to be offensive.
Lesbian: A woman-identified person whose primary romantic, emotional, physical and sexual attractions are to other women.
Lipstick Lesbian: An extremely feminine presenting lesbian.
LGBTQ (also GLBTQ): the acronym for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer and/or Questioning”, the acronym may be expanded to a variation of LGBTQQIAAPP to include questioning, intersex, ally, asexual, pansexual, and polyamorous. Often shortened to “the Queer Community” or “Gender and Sexual Minority/GSM”.
MTF: Male-to-female. Indicates a trans individual who was assigned a male identity at birth, but has claimed a female identity.
Outing: The act of disclosing the sexual orientation or gender identity of another person against their will.
Packing: Wearing something in the groin region to have a more masculine appearance.
Pansexual: Someone who is sexually and emotionally attracted to people regardless of their gender. People who do not restrict their emotional and physical attraction to people identifying exclusively as “male” or “female” often use this identity. This term adheres to the idea of a gender spectrum rather than a gender binary.
Passing: The ability of a queer person to blend into a gender and heteronormative society, mostly used for gender expression, but can also refer to a cisgendered lesbian or gay person going unnoticed in a heteronormative society.
Polyamorous: Derived from “Poly” meaning many and “amour” meaning love. Polyamorous sometimes shortened to poly generally refers to a relationship between three or more people that involves both physical and emotional intimacy between all members of the relationship.
Queer: Anything outside the ‘norms’ of heterosexuality or cis-gendered. Originally used with negative connotations, but is currently being reclaimed by many within the LGBTQ community. It can also denote a political identity or ideology.
Queer Bashing: Slang term for hate crimes directed at LGBTQIA people.
Questioning: A state of being where one is unsure of their gender expression, sexuality, or queer status.
Same Gender Loving: A term often used by African American queer people to describe gay, lesbian, or bisexual people.
Sex/Sexual Behavior: An act, or series of acts, that humans do as a part of the expression of their sexuality. This can also refer to the identification of biology referring to chromosomes, genitalia, or identity.
Sexuality/Sexual Orientation: How one thinks of oneself in terms of to whom one is sexually or romantically attracted. Orientation is not dependent on physical experience, but rather on a person’s feelings and attractions.
Stud/Aggressive/AG: Terms that typically describe a more masculine and dominant presenting lesbian.
Trans: Used both as an umbrella term and as an identity. Broadly, it refers to those who do not identify or are uncomfortable with their assigned gender and gender roles. As an identity, the term refers to anyone who transgresses traditional sex and gender categories. This can include transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, queer, transvestite, cross-dresser, MTF, FTM, Two-Spirit, etc.
Transman: A person whose natal sex was female and whose gender identity is male.
Transphobia: Negative feelings, attitudes, actions or behaviors towards trans people, or perceived to identify as trans. It can originate from within or outside of the Queer community. Internalized transphobia is a fear of trans tendencies within oneself and can lead to repression of one’s identities. Institutionalized transphobia refers to transphobic laws, policies, and positions taken by social and governmental institutions.
Transwoman: A person whose natal sex was male and whose gender identity is female.
Transvestite: A person who crossdresses, has been used as a slur for homosexuals and cross-dressers, some have reappropriated the term particularly in England.