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(last updated October 2020)

AGAB / DGAB (noun phrase / abbreviation) – Assigned Gender At Birth or Designated Gender At Birth or InterSex.  It is sometimes written as GAAB or GAB. This refers to what gender someone was assigned at birth. This is used when talking about a range of people who experience a set of common issues based on their birth assignment. AGAB is also used by many transgender people to talk about their gender experience without having to use narratives about “what gender they used to be,” as many trans people never identified with their birth assigned gender.

 

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.

Allosexual  (adjective | allosexuality, noun) – Someone who is not asexual. Someone who experiences sexual attraction irrelevant of whether or not they engage in any sexual behavior. e.g. An allosexual person experiences sexual attraction.

 

Ally (noun) – A person who supports and stands up for the rights of LGBT people.


Androgyne (adjective / noun referring to a person) –
Androgyne people define their gender in a variety of ways. Some androgyne people define their gender as being between men and women while others understand themselves as being outside of the binary gender spectrum altogether. Androgyne people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, androgyne people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically. See also: androgynous

 

Androgynous (adjective | androgyny, noun | androgynously, adverb) – This term is often used regarding outward gender expression, though it has been occasionally used as an identity term very similar to androgyne. In terms of expression, it is generally understood as having an appearance that is beyond contextually feminine or masculinity traits or specifically blending contextually gendered traits.

 

Aporagender (adjective) – Aporagender people have a strong understanding of their own gender as being completely separate from the gender binary and spectrum. Aporagender does not include men or women, nor people who identify with femininity or masculinity in any way, such as nonbinary people who are bigender or genderfluid between wo/man. This can be hard to understand, as there is almost no language around gender that isn’t tied to masculinity or femininity, and even aporagender people can struggle to further specify their experience of gender. That’s why this word exists, so that there can at least be a start to that conversation– “I know my gender isn’t tied to masculinity or femininity, but beyond that, I’m not entirely sure. But I know I’m at least aporagender.” Aporagender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, aporagender people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

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.


Attraction (noun) –
There are many different types of attraction. All of these attractions are valid and may be independent from each other or interact with each other in a variety of ways. They can be present or absent in everything from friendships to life partners. Each relationship is a unique experience. This is why some people identify not only with their sexuality (heterosexual, bisexual, etc) but also with their romantic attraction using the suffix -romantic (panromantic, homoromantic). This is especially common in the asexual community where a focus on romantic relationships or platonic relationships is more visible.

Types of Attraction:

  • Sexual attraction: attraction that makes people desire sexual contact or shows sexual interest in another person(s). This is different from a sexual drive, which is a biological instinct distinct from someone’s sexual attraction.
  • Romantic attraction: attraction that makes people desire romantic contact or interaction with another person(s).
  • Aesthetic attraction: occurs when someone appreciates the appearance or beauty of another person(s), disconnected from sexual or romantic attraction.
  • Sensual attraction: the desire to interact with others in a tactile, non-sexual way, such as through hugging or cuddling.
  • Emotional attraction: the desire to get to know someone, often as a result of their personality instead of their physicality. This type of attraction is present in most relationships including platonic friendships.
  • Mental attraction: the desire to engage with another in a thoughtful manner, such as having deep conversations or engaging in thought provoking activities together. This has nothing to do with western ideas of “intelligence” as something measurable, but rather an attraction to how a person thinks, how they solve problems, or how they interpret and engage with the world.

 

Bigender / Trigender / Multigender / Pangender (adj.) – Describes a person whose gender identity is a combination of two or more genders.  Some bigender people shift between genders while others are multiple genders simultaneously. Individual genders may or may not be binary. Some bigender people are both cisgender and transgender. Bigender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, bigender people are considered under the polygender, nonbinary, and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as polygender, nonbinary, or transgender specifically.

Binarism (noun | binarist, adjective or a noun referring to people) – The erasing or antagonizing of people whose genders are outside of the gender binary in indigenous and colonized cultures. This is specifically the erasure of indigenous genders by colonialism as it is echoed in cultures worldwide today.

 

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.


Birth Assignment (noun phrase) –
The gender we are assigned at birth, usually based on genitals alone. It is assumed that our identities should and will match this assignment but this isn’t the case for most transgender people. It is also known as ‘gender assignment.’

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.


Boi (noun | bois, plural) –
This term is used often by transgender people to express a relationship to masculinity or maleness but who may not have a completely male identity, used predominantly by trans people who are AFAB. It has a long history both in TQPOC communities and in BDSM/Leather communities, so it may be seen as appropriative in some contexts. Bois may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, bois are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

Bottom surgery (noun) – Colloquial way of describing gender affirming genital surgery.

Breast Forms / Packer (noun) – Prosthetics that some trans people, crossdressers, and drag performers use to alleviate dysphoria and adjust their presentation. Prosthetics like breast forms (basically what they sound like) and packers (soft penis) allow people to better fill out cisnormative clothing. They are usually made of silicone and can come in a variety of colors and sizes. Some are self-adhesive, some require adhesive such as double sided tape, and some require specific prosthetic undergarments designed to hold them in place.

 

Chosen Family (noun) – Chosen family is the concept of a family made out of those who are unaffiliated by blood. Chosen families have been around since the beginning of time, especially in marginalized communities where biological families are broken up by both external and internal bigotry.

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.

DGAB / AGAB (noun phrase / abbreviation) – Designated Gender At Birth or Assigned Gender At Birth.  It is sometimes written as GAAB or GAB. This refers to what gender someone was assigned at birth. This is used when talking about a range of people who experience a set of common issues based on their birth assignment. AGAB is also used by many transgender people to talk about their gender experience without having to use narratives about “what gender they used to be,” as many trans people never identified with their birth assigned gender.

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.

Dysphoria (noun) – Everyone experiences dysphoria differently; therefore, it can be hard to explain. Dysphoria is often described as the discomfort, pain, and unhappiness that is experienced by many transgender people in relationship to the commonly gendered parts of their body (physical dysphoria), and/or to the way people interact with them (social dysphoria), and/or to how they are legally required to fill out documentation (social dysphoria enforced by the legal system). Not all transgender people experience dysphoria. Some may not understand themselves as experiencing dysphoria but later recognize it as such. Transition is one way that folks manage their dysphoria.

 

Enby (adjective / noun) – A word based on how the letters “NB” are pronounced, with NB being short for nonbinary. “Enby” can be employed in the same ways that “nonbinary” can be. Some nonbinary people find this word diminutive and prefer other words.

Facial Feminization Surgery (FFS) (noun phrase) – Facial feminization is a broad term for a variety of surgeries that alter the facial structure so that it will conform more closely to (typically) white European standards of femininity. The procedures involved include hairline correction, brow lifting, forehead recontouring, orbital recontouring, rhinoplasty, chin and jaw contouring, lip lifting, Adam’s apple reduction, and face/neck lifts. It is fairly standard to see multiple of these surgeries done at the same time, or done in two different surgeries. While most are fairly common plastic surgeries, orbital recontouring and chin/jaw recontouring are specialized surgeries that generally require the shaving of bone, removal of bone sections, and alteration and removal of muscle systems. Those surgeries are more complex and come with larger risks of prolonged and permanent damage to the jaw, esophagus, eye, and face. As such, those surgeries require specialized and experienced surgeons.

 

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.

Gaff (noun) – A gaff is a garment worn under clothes in order to better cover the genitals of someone who was AMAB, as well as smooth the region so that clothing designed for AFAB people fit better.

 

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 (noun) –
A complex combination of roles, expression, aesthetics, identities, performances, social interactions, and more that are assigned certain meanings by society. Gender is both self-defined and society-defined. How gender is embodied and defined varies from culture to culture and from person to person. Gender is often simplified– purposely, due to colonization– into a binary or a spectrum, but neither fully encapsulates the whole of gender.

 

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. (see dysphoria)


Gender expansive (compound adjective) –
Gender that expands beyond the typical boundaries of the binary or gender spectrum. Much like genderqueer, it is hard to specifically define because the possibilities are quite literally infinite. Gender expansive people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, gender expansive people are considered under the gender non-conforming umbrella and may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

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 marker / Gender recognition (noun phrase) –
Refers to any gender designation on official forms. Often seen in discussions around driver’s licenses, state IDs, social security, and birth certificates.

Gender non-conforming (adj.) – Describes a gender expression that differs from a given society’s norms for males and females.


Gender Neutral Pronouns (noun phrase) –
Pronouns that are neither ‘he’ nor ‘she’ oriented. Some examples are: they, vi, sie, xe, ze, thon, it, ne, and per.


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).

GSM (abbreviation | noun phrase) – An acronym standing for “gender and sexuality minorities”  GSM can be a useful term as it is succinct and includes a wide range of people including those who are gay, lesbian, queer, bisexual, intersex, pansexual, asexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, genderqueer  etc.

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.

Misgendering (verb) – The act of attributing the wrong gender to a person, whether intentionally or not.

 

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.

Omnisexual (adj) describes someone who is romantically, emotionally, or sexually attracted to persons of all genders and orientations. The term is often used interchangeably with pansexual. There is some dispute as to whether omnisexuality and pansexuality are the same or different. Some have argued that a pansexual person is gender-blind (i.e., they’re attracted to anyone regardless of gender), while an omnisexual person is gender-inclusive, attracted to people of all genders. So, an omnisexual person might say “I like people of every gender,” while a pansexual would answer, “I don’t care about your gender. I like you anyway.” Still, many use the terms interchangeably. Omni is a latin based prefix for all and Pan is a greek based prefix for all.

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. Pansexual people may refer to themselves as gender-blind, asserting that gender and sex are not determining factors in their romantic or sexual attraction to others.

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.

Polygender (adjective) – Polygender is a term for anyone who experiences more than one gender identity. It can be used as a gender identity in its own right, or can be an umbrella term for other identities which fit this description. Some polygender people shift between genders while others are multiple genders simultaneously. Individual genders may or may not be binary. Some multigender people are both cisgender and transgender. Polygender people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, polygender people are considered under the multigender, nonbinary, and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as multigender, nonbinary, or transgender specifically.

Polysexual (adj) describes someone who is romantically or sexually attracted to multiple but not all genders. Polysexuality should not to be confused with pansexuality, which is an attraction to all genders.

 

QPOC / TQPOC (noun) – Acronym that stands for Queer Person (or People) of Color or Trans Queer Person (or 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.

QUILTBAG (acronym) – An alternative to LGBTQ+. Stands for queer, questioning, intersex, lesbian, transgender, two-spirit, bisexual, asexual, agender, aromantic, and gay, genderqueer, gender non-conforming.

 

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. Some will just use the term man.

Trans woman/transgender woman/male-to-female (MTF) (noun) – A transgender person whose gender identity is female may use these terms to describe themselves. Some will just use the term woman.

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.

Trans Man (compound noun) – A man who was not apparently intersex at birth and was mistakenly assigned female at birth. Trans men may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture.

 

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.

Transqueer (adjective) – This term can be hard to define, but is generally understood as a gender that is neither man nor woman, possibly a mix of genders, and possibly fluid. Transqueer people may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture. Generally, transqueer people are considered under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas but may or may not identify as transgender or nonbinary specifically.

 

Transsexual (adj.) – Sometimes used in medical literature or by some transgender people to describe those who have transitioned through medical interventions.

Trans Woman (compound noun) – A woman who was not apparently intersex at birth and was mistakenly assigned male at birth. Trans women may or may not transition physically, legally, or socially. This is based on their understanding of their relationship with gender and their access to transitioning within their culture.

 

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 updated 3.10.2020