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LGBTQ+ 101 > Terms / LGBTQ101

Words and Terms to Know 

Here's a list of common terms and what they mean. This list will be updated regularly, and if there are any questions, additions, or concerns, feel free to contact Maxx Pyron
*To find a specific term quickly, press Ctrl+F together in your browser. This will pull up an option to "find in document."

Sexual Orientation Terms

Sexual Orientation - a term frequently used to describe a person's innate romantic, emotional, or sexual attraction to another person. Use the term sexual orientation instead of "sexual preference," "lifestyle," or other misleading terms.
LGBPTTQQIIAA+ - any combination of letters attempting to represent all the identities in the queer community, this near-exhaustive one (but not exhaustive) represents Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Intergender, Asexual, Ally. Commonly used terms are LGBTQ+, LGBT, LGBTQ, and QUILTBAG
Queer - includes individuals who transcend labels of sexual orientation or gender identity. Non-cisgender and non-heterosexual folks. Can also be an umbrella term that refers to the entire LGBTQ community.
Androgyny - (1) a gender expression that has elements of both masculinity and femininity; (2) occasionally used in place of "intersex" to describe a person with both female and male anatomy
Androsexual/Androphilic - attracted to males, men, and/or masculinity
Gynesexual/Gynephilic - Attracted to females, women, and/or femininity
Asexual - a person who generally does not experience sexual attraction (or very little) to any group of people
Gay - a person who is romantically/sexually attracted to someone of the same gender as them.
Lesbian - a woman who is romantically/sexually attracted to other women.
Gay (man) - a man who is romantically/sexually attracted to other men.
Bisexual - a person who is romantically/sexually attracted to two genders, generally a gender the same as their own and a different gender. Note: bisexuality no longer inherently implies that there are only two sexes or genders, but rather that an individual is generally attracted to folks of the same gender as them as well as a different, or many different, genders than them. Some folks also prefer this term because it is more visible and easily understood
Pansexual - a person who is romantically/sexually interested in other people regardless of gender.
MSM - Men who have sex with Men (may not identify as gay). Similar is MFM, or men for men.
WSW - Women who have sex with Women (may not identify as a lesbian). Similar is WFW, or women for women.


Gender Identity Terms

Gender Identity - a person's deeply felt sense of being male, female, something other, or, in between. Everyone has a gender identity.
Binary Sex - a traditional and outdated view of sex, limiting possibilities to "female" or "male"
Biological Sex - the physical anatomy vand gendered hormones one is born with, generally described as male, female, or intersex, and often confused with gender
Bigender - a person who fluctuates between traditionally "woman" and "man" gender-based behavior and identities, identifying with both genders (and sometimes a third gender)
Binary Gender - a traditional and outdated view of gender, limiting possibilities to "man" and "woman"
Gender Expression - an individual's characteristics and behaviors, such as appearance, dress, mannerisms, speech patterns and social interaction.
Transgender - An umbrella term used to describe all kinds of people who sit outside the gender binary or who's gender identity is different from the sex assigned to them at birth. (Note that the term is not transgendered...it's intentionally in the present tense, not the past tense. It's a state of being.)
Transsexual - an individual who considers themselves a member of the opposite sex and who, by surgery or therapy, acquire the physical characteristics of the opposite sex.
Transphobia/transmisia- dislike, hatred, or fear of gender variance or persons who identify as gender variant (can be internal and external)
Drag - Refers to theatrical performances of gender, Includes drag kings and drag queens.
Cross Dresser - A person who has an emotional need to express their alternative gender identity and be accepted in that role on a less permanent basis.
Transition or Transitioning - May consist of a change in style of dress, selection of new name, and a request that people use the correct pronoun. This may or may not include necessary medical care like hormone therapy, counseling, and/or surgery.
F to M / FtM / "Trans Man"/ WtM - an assigned female at birth individual who is transitioning or has transitioned to a male/ man. FtM stands for female to male, whereas WtM stands for Woman to Man.
M to F / MtF / "Trans Woman"/ MtW - an assigned male at birth individual who is transitioning or has transitioned to a female/woman. MtF stands for male to female, whereas MtW stands for Man to Woman.
SRS - Sexual Reassignment Surgery. Top = chest area. Bottom = genital area.
Intersex - a person who has ambiguous genitalia or born with both male and female genitalia or DNA (although historically used, the term hermaphrodite is no longer considered an appropriate term and is derogatory).
Cisgender - someone who is comfortable in the gender they were assigned at birth (this term is more appropriate than "normal" or "typical").
- Refers to people who do not identify or express themselves as completely male or female. Genderqueer people may or may not identify as transgender.
GSM - stands for gender and sexual minorities. Includes all non-heterosexual, non-cisgender (and some argue non-monogamous) sexualities and genders.
GNC - Stands for gender non-conforming. Refers to folks whose identities, expressions, or presentations are outside of current cultural and societal expectations of what is considered appropriate for their gender.
AMAB/ CAMAB - Stands for assigned male at birth or coercively assigned male at birth.
AFAB/ CAFAB - Stands for assigned female at birth or coercively assigned female at birth.


Other terms:

Advocate - a person who actively works to end intolerance, educate others, and support social equity for a group
Ally: a straight person who supports queer people
Homophobia / homomisia - A strong dislike or hatred of homosexuals; phobia meaning fear and misia meaning hatred.
Transphobia / transmisia - A strong dislike or hatred of transgender folks; phobia meaning fear and misia meaning hatred.
Biphobia/ bimisia - A strong dislike or hatred of bisexuals; phobia meaning fear and misia meaning hatred.
Queerphobia/ queermisia - A strong dislike or hatred of queer folks; phobia meaning fear and misia meaning hatred.
DSG - Stands for Diverse Sexualities and Genders


Derogatory Language and Terms to Avoid

Transvestite - Derogatory term for an individual who dresses in clothing most often associated with the opposite sex for fetish or arousal purposes (this is not synonymous with drag queens).
He/She - Derogatory term for transgender or gender non-conforming people.
She-Male - Derogatory term for transgender or gender non-conforming people.
It - Derogatory pronoun used to dehumanize gender non-conforming people.