General Info and Definitions


Gay: A man whose primary romantic, emotional, physical and sexual attractions to other men. (This term can also be applied to lesbians). On some occasions, the term is used as a catch-all term for all LGBT people (i.e., “gay movement”)

Lesbian: A woman whose primary romantic, emotional, physical and sexual attractions are to other women.

Bisexual: An umbrella term that embraces the diversity of sexual orientation, attraction and fluidity, sometimes shortened to "bi". This usually refers to sexual, emotional, and/or physical attraction to people of the same gender and/or another gender(s). The frequency, intensity, or quality of attraction is not necessarily directed toward different genders equally.

Pansexual: A personal label which is most commonly defined as the sexual attraction towards others regardless of gender identity, gender presentation, or biological sex.

Asexual: A person who does not possess an inherent desire to engage in sexual intimacy with another individual. There is a continuum of degrees of asexuality including, demisexual & gray-a.

Attraction/Orientation: It can refer to the spiritual, intellectual, sexual, romantic, physical, emotional attraction. These terms are self-identified and can have different intensities, frequency or quality.

Aromantic: A person who does not desire to be in romantic relationships with others. An aromantic may not necessarily be asexual, however, and may feel sexual attraction and thus engage in intimate acts with other individuals. (Some individuals identify as both asexual AND aromantic).

Queer: An umbrella term that embraces the diversity of sexual orientation, attraction and gender identities. It can be used to indicate that someone is simply not heterosexual or not heteronormative. Sometimes, it is used as a political identity that seeks to deconstruct, challenge & reconstruct societal norms. Originally used as a negative term, the word queer has been reclaimed by many people within the LGBT community; it can still be used in a derogatory way, though.

Questioning: For some, the process of exploring and discovering one's own sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Refusal of labels: There are some individuals who feel that labels are insufficient in describing their identity and simply do not ascribe to the use of any.

GP: Gender Pronoun (i.e.,: he, she, they, ze, xe, etc.)

Transgender: Used as both an umbrella term and as an identity, sometimes shortened to trans. Transgender can refer to a group of diverse individuals who identify with a gender that differs from the one assigned at birth and/or those who transgress or reject gender norms. As an umbrella term, it can include transsexuals, cross-dressers, drag performers, and individuals whom identify as genderqueer or intersex. *Sexual orientation varies and is not dependent upon gender identity. Some transgender people feel they exist not within one of the two standard gender categories, but rather somewhere between, beyond, or outside of those two genders.

Cisgender: Coined as a term for individuals whose gender identity is congruent with the one they were assigned at birth and used to reject the notion that transgender narratives are “abnormal”. Cis folks are often held by society to be the “standard” gender identity.

Gender Identity: the internal perception (psychological sense of self) of an individual’s gender, and how they label themselves.

Genderqueer: People whose gender identity challenges, rejects, or is outside of the gender binary (male or female gender roles). They may express their gender as neither male nor female, between or beyond genders, or as any combination of gender or no gender. A term that can refer to individuals or groups who “queer” or problematize the hegemonic notions of sex, gender and desire in a given society. 

Gender expression: A person’s way of communicating gender identity to others.

Agender: A person whom does not identify with either male, female, or a combination of genders. This is considered a non-binary identity.

Fluid(ity): generally with another term attached, like gender-fluid or fluid-sexuality, fluid(ity) describes an identity that is a fluctuating mix of the options available

Intersex: An individual whose chromosomes, hormones, internal sex organs, and genitalia differs from the two expected patterns of XX and XY.

Heterosexism: The system of oppression that reinforces the belief in the inherent superiority of heterosexuality and heterosexual relationships which thereby negate gay, lesbian, and bisexual lives and relationships.

Cisexism: The system of oppression that reinforces the belief in the inherent superiority of cis identities and cis relationships, thereby negating trans* spectrum lives and relationships.

Homophobia: Negative feelings, attitudes, actions, or behaviors towards anyone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, OR perceived to be LGBT.

Trans*phobia: Negative feelings, attitudes, actions, or behaviors towards anyone who is trans*, OR perceived to be non-cis.


***These definitions are not inclusive of all individual identities and may be viewed as potentially problematic***