LGBTQ+ Terminology

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LGBTQ+ TERMINOLOGY

Aporagender – Both an umbrella term and nonbinary gender identity that describes the experience of having a specific gender that’s different from male, female, or any combination of the two.

Asexual – The lack of a sexual attraction or desire for other people.

Bigender – This term describes someone who identifies with two distinct genders.

Bisexual –  A person emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to more than one sex, gender, or gender identity though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way, or to the same degree. Sometimes used interchangeably with pansexual.

Cisgender –  denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.

Gay – A person who is emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to members of the same gender. Men, women, and non-binary people may use this term to describe themselves.

Gender fluid – A person who does not identify with a single fixed gender or has a fluid or unfixed gender identity.

Gender nonconforming – A broad term referring to people who do not behave in a way that conforms to the traditional expectations of their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category.

Gender questioning – A person who’s questioning one or multiple aspects of their gender, such as their gender identity or expression.

Gender variant – Similar to gender nonconforming, gender variant is an umbrella term used to describe people with a gender identity, expression, or presentation that’s different from the perceived social norm or dominant group.

Genderqueer – Genderqueer people typically reject notions of static categories of gender and embrace a fluidity of gender identity and often, though not always, sexual orientation. People who identify as “genderqueer” may see themselves as being both male and female, neither male nor female nor as falling completely outside these categories.

Heterosexual – A sexual orientation in which a person feels physically and emotionally attracted to people of a gender other than their own.

Intersex – Intersex people are born with a variety of differences in their sex traits and reproductive anatomy. There is a wide variety of differences among intersex variations, including differences in genitalia, chromosomes, gonads, internal sex organs, hormone production, hormone response, and/or secondary sex traits.

Lesbian – A woman whose primary sexual orientation is toward people of the same gender.

Nonbinary – An adjective describing a person who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary people may identify as being both a man and a woman, somewhere in between, or as falling completely outside these categories. While many also identify as transgender, not all non-binary people do. Non-binary can also be used as an umbrella term encompassing identities such as agender, bigender, genderqueer, or gender-fluid.

Pangender – A nonbinary gender identity that describes people who experience all or many gender identities on the gender spectrum simultaneously or over time.

Pansexual – Describes someone who has the potential for emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction to people of any gender though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way, or to the same degree. Sometimes used interchangeably with bisexual.

Queer – A term people often use to express a spectrum of identities and orientations that are counter to the mainstream. Queer is often used as a catch-all to include many people, including those who do not identify as exclusively straight and/or folks who have non-binary or gender-expansive identities. This term was previously used as a slur but has been reclaimed by many parts of the LGBTQ+ movement.

Transexual – A person who lives full-time in a gender different than their assigned birth sex and gender. Some pursue hormones and/or surgery while others do not. Sometimes used to specifically refer to trans people pursuing gender or sex confirmation.

Transgender – An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation. Therefore, transgender people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc.

Two-spirit – “Two-spirit” refers to a person who identifies as having both a masculine and a feminine spirit, and is used by some Indigenous people to describe their sexual, gender, and/or spiritual identity. As an umbrella term, it may encompass same-sex attraction and a wide variety of gender variance, including people who might be described in Western culture as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, gender queer, cross-dressers, or who have multiple gender identities. Two-spirit can also include relationships that could be considered poly.

Sources

CA LGBTQ Health

http://lgbtqhealth.ca/

Healthline

https://www.healthline.com/health/different-genders#why-it-matters

Human Rights Campaign

https://www.hrc.org/resources/glossary-of-terms

Merriam Webster

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agender

See Change Happen

https://seechangehappen.co.uk/faqs/trans-terminology/

UCSF

https://lgbt.ucsf.edu/glossary-terms

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