Agender (adj.) – Describes a person who identifies as having no gender.
Advocate (noun) – A person who actively works to end intolerance, educate others, and support social equity for a marginalized group. 2 (verb) – To actively support or plea in favor of a particular cause, the action of working to end intolerance or educate others.
Ally (noun) – A person who supports and stands up for the rights of LGBT people.
Aromantic (adj.) – An orientation that describes a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others and/or a lack of interest in forming romantic relationships.
Asexual (adj.) – Describes a person who experiences little or no sexual attraction to others. Asexuality is not the same as celibacy.
Assigned sex at birth (noun) – The sex (male or female) assigned to a child at birth, most often based on the child’s external anatomy. Also referred to as birth sex, natal sex, biological sex, or sex.
Bigender (adj.) – Describes a person whose gender identity is a combination of two genders. Binding (verb) – The process of tightly wrapping one’s chest in order to minimize the appearance of having breasts. This is achieved through use of constrictive materials such as cloth strips, elastic or non-elastic bandages, or specially designed undergarments.
Binder / inding (noun) – An undergarment used to alter or reduce the appearance of one’s breasts (worn similarly to how one wears a sports bra). binding (verb) – The (sometimes daily) process of wearing a binder. Binding is often used to change the way other’s read/perceive one’s anatomical sex characteristics, and/or as a form of gender expression.
Biological Sex (noun) – A medical term used to refer to the chromosomal, hormonal and anatomical characteristics that are used to classify an individual as female or male or intersex. Often referred to as simply “sex,” “physical sex,” “anatomical sex,” or specifically as “sex assigned at birth.”
Biphobia (noun) – The fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of bisexual people or those who are perceived as such.
Bisexual (adj.) – A sexual orientation that describes a person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to people of their own gender and people of other genders.
Bottom surgery (noun) – Colloquial way of describing gender affirming genital surgery.
Cisgender (adj.) – A person whose gender identity and assigned sex at birth correspond (i.e., a person who is not transgender).
Closeted (adj.) – An individual who is not open to themselves or others about their (queer) sexuality or gender identity. This may be by choice and/or for other reasons such as fear for one’s safety, peer or family rejection, or disapproval and/or loss of housing, job, etc. Also known as being “in the closet.” When someone chooses to break this silence they “come out” of the closet. (see coming out)
Coming out (verb) – The process by which one accepts and/or comes to identify one’s own sexual orientation or gender identity (to come out to oneself). Also the process by which one shares one’s sexual orientation or gender identity with others (to come out to friends, etc.).
Cross-sex hormone therapy (noun) – The administration of hormones for those who wish to match their physical secondary sex characteristics to their gender identity.
Demiromantic (adj.) – Little or no capacity to experience romantic attraction until a strong sexual onnection is formed with someone, often within a sexual relationship.
Demisexual (adj.) – Little or no capacity to experience sexual attraction until a strong romantic connection is formed with someone, often within a romantic relationship.
Disorders of Sex Development (DSD) (noun) – Group of rare conditions where the reproductive organs and genitals do not develop as expected. Some DSDs include Klinefelter Syndrome and Androgen Sensitivity Syndrome. Sometimes called differences of sex development. Some people prefer to use the term intersex.
Drag (verb) – The performance of one or multiple genders theatrically. Those who perform are called Drag Kings and Drag Queens.
Drag King (noun) – Someone who performs (hyper-) masculinity theatrically.
Drag Queen (noun) – Someone who performs (hyper-) femininity theatrically.
Femme (noun & adj.) – someone who identifies themselves as feminine, whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally. Often used to refer to a feminine-presenting queer woman or people.
Fluid(ity) (adj.) – Generally with another term attached, like gender-fluid or fluid-sexuality, fluid(ity) describes an identity that may change or shift over time between or within the mix of the options available (e.g., man and woman, bi and straight).
FTM or F2M (female to male) (adj.) – A transgender person who is transitioning or has transitioned from female to male.
Gay (adj.) – A sexual orientation that describes a person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to people of their own gender. It can be used regardless of gender identity, but is more commonly used to describe men.
Gender affirming surgery (GAS) (noun) – Surgeries used to modify one’s body to be more congruent with one’s gender identity. Also referred to as sex reassignment surgery (SRS) or gender confirming surgery (GCS).
Gender binary (noun) – The idea that there are only two genders, male and female, and that a person must strictly fit into one category or the other.
Gender dysphoria (noun) – Distress experienced by some individuals whose gender identity does not correspond with their assigned sex at birth. Manifests itself as clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) includes gender dysphoria as a diagnosis.
Gender expression (noun) – The way a person acts, dresses, speaks, and behaves (i.e., feminine, masculine, androgynous). Gender expression does not necessarily correspond to assigned sex at birth or gender identity.
Gender fluid (adj.) – Describes a person whose gender identity is not fixed. A person who is gender fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel more one gender some days, and another gender other days.
Gender identity (noun) – A person’s internal sense of being a man/male, woman/female, both, neither, or another gender.
Gender non-conforming (adj.) – Describes a gender expression that differs from a given society’s norms for males and females.
Gender role (noun) – A set of societal norms dictating what types of behaviors are generally considered acceptable, appropriate or desirable for a person based on their actual or perceived sex.
Genderqueer (adj.) – Describes a person whose gender identity falls outside the traditional gender binary. Other terms for people whose gender identity falls outside the traditional gender binary include gender variant, gender expansive, etc. Sometimes written as two words (gender queer).
Heteronormativity (noun) – The assumption that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is superior to all other sexualities.
Heterosexual (straight) (adj.) – A sexual orientation that describes women who are emotionally and sexually attracted to men, and men who are emotionally and sexually attracted to women. Homophobia (noun) – The fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of lesbian or gay people or those who are perceived as such.
Hir (pronoun) – A gender-neutral pronoun, used in place of him/her. Pronounced “here.” See also “ze.”
Hormone therapy (noun) – Synthetic hormones are taken to affect things like body shape, hair growth patterns, and secondary sex characteristics.
Intersectionality (noun) – The idea that identities are influenced and shaped by race, class, ethnicity, sexuality/sexual orientation, gender/gender identity, physical disability, national origin, etc., as well as by the interconnection of all of those characteristics.
Intersex (noun) – Group of rare conditions where the reproductive organs and genitals do not develop as expected. Some prefer to use the term disorders (or differences) of sex development. Intersex is also used as an identity term by some community members and advocacy groups.
Lesbian (adj., noun) – A sexual orientation that describes a woman who is emotionally and sexually attracted to other women.
LGBTQ; GSM; DSG; TGNC (abbreviations or acronyms) – Shorthand or umbrella terms for all folks who have a non-normative (or queer) gender or sexuality, there are many different initialisms people prefer. LGBTQ is Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer and/or Questioning (sometimes people at a + at the end in an effort to be more inclusive) and there are longer versions of LGBTQ that can be found but are not often used due to the length; GSM is Gender and Sexual Minorities; DSG is Diverse Sexualities and Genders; TGNC is Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (sometimes you’ll see “NB” added for non-binary). Other options include the initialism GLBT or LGBT and the acronym QUILTBAG (Queer [or Questioning] Undecided Intersex Lesbian Trans* Bisexual Asexual [or Allied] and Gay [or Genderqueer])
Men who have sex with men/Women who have sex with women (MSM/WSW) (noun) – Categories that are often used in research and public health settings to collectively describe those who engage in same-sex sexual behavior, regardless of their sexual orientation. However, people rarely use the terms MSM or WSW to describe themselves.
Minority stress (noun) – Chronic stress faced by members of stigmatized minority groups. Minority stress is caused by external, objective events and conditions, expectations of such events, the internalization of societal attitudes, and/or concealment of one’s sexual orientation.
MTF or M2F or male to female (adj.): A transgender person who is transitioning or has transitioned from male to female.
Non binary (adj.) – Describes 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.
Outing (verb) – Involuntary or unwanted disclosure of another person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Pangender (adj.) – Describes a person whose gender identity is comprised of many genders.
Pansexual (adj.) – A sexual orientation that describes a person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to people regardless of gender.
Polyamorous (adj.) – Describes a person who has or is open to having more than one romantic or sexual relationship at a time, with the knowledge and consent of all their partners. Sometimes abbreviated as poly.
QPOC (noun) – An acronym that stands for Queer Person of Color or Queer People of Color.
Queer (adj.) – An umbrella term used by some to describe people who think of their sexual orientation or gender identity as outside of societal norms. Some people view the term queer as more fluid and inclusive than traditional categories for sexual orientation and gender identity. Due to its history as a derogatory term, the term queer is not embraced or used by all members of the LGBT community.
Questioning (adj.) – Describes an individual who is unsure about or is exploring their own sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Sex (noun) – This refers to how someone is classified—either male or female. Babies are assigned a male or female sex at birth, typically due to their external anatomy (whether they have a penis or a vagina). This assignment is then written on their birth certificate. Regardless of this traditional classification, a person’s sex is actually a mix of bodily characteristics like chromosomes, hormones, internal and external reproductive organs, and secondary sex characteristics.
Sex Assigned at Birth (SAAB) – A phrase used to intentionally recognize a person’s assigned sex (not gender identity). Sometimes called “designated sex at birth” (DSAB) or “sex coercively assigned at birth” (SCAB), or specifically used as “assigned male at birth” (AMAB) or “assigned female at birth” (AFAB): Jenny was assigned male at birth, but identifies as a woman.
Sexual orientation (noun) – How a person characterizes their emotional and sexual attraction to others.
Top surgery (noun) – Colloquial way of describing gender affirming surgery on the chest.
Trans man/transgender man/female-to-male (FTM) (noun) – A transgender person whose gender identity is male may use these terms to describe themselves.
Trans woman/transgender woman/male-to-female (MTF) (noun) – A transgender person whose gender identity is female may use these terms to describe themselves.
Transfeminine (adj.) – Describes people who were assigned male at birth, but identify with femininity to a greater extent than with masculinity.
Transgender (adj.) – Describes a person whose gender identity and assigned sex at birth do not correspond. Also used as an umbrella term to include gender identities outside of male and female. Sometimes abbreviated as trans.
Transition (noun) – For transgender people, this refers to the process of coming to recognize, accept, and express one’s gender identity. Most often, this refers to the period when a person makes social, legal, and/or medical changes, such as changing their clothing, name, sex designation, and using medical interventions. Sometimes referred to as gender affirmation process.
Transmasculine (adj.) – Describes people who were assigned female at birth, but identify with masculinity to a greater extent than with femininity.
Transphobia (noun) – The fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of transgender or gender non-conforming people or those who are perceived as such.
Transsexual (adj.) – Sometimes used in medical literature or by some transgender people to describe those who have transitioned through medical interventions.
Tucking (verb) – The process of hiding one’s penis and testes with tape, tight shorts, or specially designed undergarments.
Two-Spirit (adj.) – A contemporary term that connects today’s experiences of LGBT Native American and American Indian people with the traditions from their cultures.
ze / zir/ “zee”, “zerr” or “zeer”/ (pronoun) – alternate pronouns that are gender neutral and preferred by some trans* people. They replace “he” and “she” and “his” and “hers” respectively. Alternatively some people who are not comfortable/do not embrace he/she use the plural pronoun “they/their” as a gender neutral singular pronoun.
Here is a link to a pdf with all the terms that can be downloaded and printed:
GLOSSARY OF LGBTQ TERMS