*This list is neither comprehensive nor inviolable, but a continual work in progress. With identity terms, trust the person who is using the term and their definition of it above any dictionary.
abrosexual – adj. : refers to a person whose sexuality/sexual orientation is changing or fluid.
advocate – 1 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 petition in favor of a particular cause, the action of working to end intolerance or educate others.
agender – adj. : a person with no (or very little) connection to the traditional system of gender, no alignment with the concepts of either man or woman, and/or someone who sees themselves as existing without gender. Sometimes called gender neutrois, gender neutral, or genderless.
ally /“al-lie”/ – noun : a (typically straight and/or cisgender) person who supports and respects members of the LGBTQ+ community. We consider people to be active allies who take action in support and respect.
androgyny /“an-jrah-jun-ee”/ (androgynous) – 1 noun. : a gender expression that has elements of both masculinity and femininity; 2 adj. : occasionally used in place of “intersex” to describe a person with both female and male anatomy, generally in the form “androgyne."
androsexual / androphilic – adj. : being primarily attracted to men, males, and/or masculinity.
aromantic /”ay-ro-man-tic”/ – adj. : experiencing little or no romantic attraction to others and/or has a lack of interest in romantic relationships/behavior. Aromanticism exists on a continuum from people who experience no romantic attraction or have any desire for romantic activities, to those who experience low levels, or romantic attraction only under specific conditions. Many of these different places on the continuum have their own identity labels (see demiromantic). Sometimes abbreviated to “aro” (pronounced like “arrow”).
asexual – adj. : experiencing little or no sexual attraction to others and/or a lack of interest in sexual relationships/behavior. Asexuality exists on a continuum from people who experience no sexual attraction or have any desire for sex, to those who experience low levels, or sexual attraction only under specific conditions. Many of these different places on the continuum have their own identity labels (see demisexual). Sometimes abbreviated to “ace.”
bicurious – adj. : a curiosity toward experiencing attraction to people of the same gender/sex (similar to questioning). This term is often weaponized against bisexual people to demean their sexuality and is often tied to erasure of bi-identities both within and outside the community.
bigender – adj. : a person who fluctuates between traditionally “woman” and “man” gender-based behavior and identities, identifying with both genders (or sometimes identifying with either man or woman, as well as a third, different gender).
binder - noun : an undergarment used to alter or reduce the appearance of one’s breasts (worn similarly to how one wears a sports bra). binding - adj. : 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, male, or intersex. Often referred to as simply “sex,” “physical sex,” “anatomical sex,” or specifically as “sex assigned at birth.”
biphobia – noun : a range of negative attitudes (e.g., fear, anger, intolerance, invisibility, resentment, erasure, or discomfort) that one may have or express toward bisexual individuals. Biphobia exists within the LGBTQ+ community as well as general society. This term can also be adapted as panphobia, queerphobia, or other identities under the bisexual umbrella.
biphobic – adj. : a word used to describe individuals, institutions, or laws/policies that demonstrate elements of this range of negative attitudes toward bisexual people.
bisexual – 1 noun & adj. :. a person who experiences attraction to people of their gender and other genders 2 adj. : a person who experiences attraction to men and women. Bisexual attraction does not have to be equally split, or indicate a level of interest that is the same across the genders an individual may be attracted to. Sometimes used interchangeably with “pansexual”.
butch – noun & adj. : a person who identifies themselves as masculine, whether it be physically, mentally, or emotionally. ‘Butch’ is sometimes used as a derogatory term for lesbians, but is also be claimed as an affirmative identity label.
cisgender /“siss-jendur”/ – adj. : a gender description for when someone’s sex assigned at birth and gender identity align (e.g., someone who was assigned male at birth, and identifies as a man). A simple way to think about it is if a person is not transgender, they are cisgender. The word cisgender can also be shortened to “cis.”
cisnormativity – noun : the assumption, in individuals and in institutions, that everyone is cisgender, and that cisgender identities are superior to transgender identities and people. Leads to invisibility of non-cisgender identities.
cissexism – noun : behavior that grants preferential treatment to cisgender people, reinforces the idea that being cisgender is somehow better or more “right” than being transgender, and/or makes other genders invisible.
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 is able to be open about their sexuality or gender identity they “come out” of the closet. (See coming out)
coming in – verb : the process by which one comes to understand or accept one’s own gender identity or sexuality. Can be used interchangeably with “coming out to oneself.”
coming out – 1 noun : the process by which one accepts and/or comes to identify one’s own sexuality or gender identity (to “come out” to oneself). 2 verb : the process by which one shares one’s sexuality or gender identity with others.
constellation – noun : a way to describe the arrangement or structure of a polyamorous relationship.
cross-dresser – noun : someone who wears clothes of another gender.
demigender – adj. : little or no connection to a gender identity or the concept of gender.
demiromantic – adj. : little or no capacity to experience romantic attraction until a strong sexual or emotional connection is formed with someone, often within a sexual relationship.
demisexual – adj. : little or no capacity to experience sexual attraction until a strong romantic or emotional connection is formed with someone, often within a romantic relationship.
down low – adj. : typically referring to men who identify as straight but who secretly or discretely have sex with men. Down low (or DL) originated in, and is most commonly used by, communities of color.
drag king – noun : someone who performs (hyper-) masculinity theatrically.
drag queen – noun : someone who performs (hyper-) femininity theatrically.
dyke – noun : referring to a masculine presenting lesbian. While often used derogatorily, it is also reclaimed affirmatively by some lesbians and gay women as a positive self identity term. This term should not be used except by members of the queer community.
emotional attraction – noun : a capacity that evokes the want to engage in emotionally intimate behavior (e.g., sharing, confiding, trusting, partnership, etc.), experienced in varying degrees (from little-to-none to intense). Often conflated with sexual attraction, romantic attraction, and/or spiritual attraction.
fag(got) – noun : derogatory term referring to a gay person, or someone perceived as queer. While often used derogatorily, it is also used reclaimed by some gay people (often gay men) as a positive in-group term though it should never be used by someone outside the community.
feminine-of-center; masculine-of-center – adj. : a phrase that indicates a range in terms of gender identity and expression for people who present, understand themselves, and/or relate to others in a generally more feminine/masculine way, but don’t necessarily identify as women or men. Feminine-of-center individuals may also identify as “femme,” “transfeminine,” etc.; masculine-of-center individuals may also often identify as “butch,” “stud,” “boi,” “transmasculine,” etc.
feminine-presenting; masculine-presenting – adj. : a way to describe someone who expresses gender in a more feminine/masculine way. Often confused with
feminine-of-center/masculine-of-center, which generally include a focus on identity as well as expression.
femme – noun & adj. : someone who identifies themselves as feminine or expresses themselves in a feminine way, whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally. Often used to refer to a feminine-presenting queer 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 / F2M; MtF / M2F – abbr. : female-to-male transgender person; male-to-female transgender person.
gay – 1 adj. : experiencing attraction solely or primarily to members of the same gender. Can be used to refer to men who are attracted to other men and/or women who are attracted to women. 2 adj. : an umbrella term used to refer to the queer community as a whole, or as an individual identity label for anyone who is not straight, although some do not use this term since it centers gay men in the community.
gender binary – noun : the idea that there are only two genders (man and woman) and that every person is one of those two.
gender dysphoria – noun : a feeling on discomfort or distress from a disconnect between one’s internal sense of gender or their gender identity and their gender expression or how others perceive or attribute their gender. Dysphoria can be experienced socially, mentally, or physically. Not all transgender people experience dysphoria, although many do. To receive treatment through hormone replacement therapy or gender affirmation/confirmation surgery, gender dysphoria may have to be diagnosed by a doctor or psychologist/psychiatrist.
gender expression – noun : the external display of one’s gender, through a combination of clothing, grooming, demeanor, social behavior, and other factors, generally attributed on scales of masculinity and femininity. Also referred to as “gender presentation.”
gender fluid – adj. : a gender identity best described as a dynamic mix of genders. A person who is gender fluid may always feel like a mix of multiple genders but may feel more masculine some days and more feminine other days.
gender identity – noun : the internal perception of an one’s gender, and how they label themselves, based on how much they align or don’t align with what they understand their options for gender to be. Often conflated with biological sex, or sex assigned at birth.
gender neutrois – adj. : see agender.
gender non-conforming – 1 adj. : a gender expression descriptor that indicates a non-traditional gender presentation (e.g. masculine woman or feminine man). 2 adj. : a gender identity label that indicates a person who identifies outside of the gender binary. Often abbreviated as “GNC.”
gender normative / gender straight – adj. : someone whose gender presentation, whether by nature or by choice, aligns with society’s gender-based expectations.
genderqueer – 1 adj. : a gender identity label often used by people who do not identify within the binary of man/woman. 2 adj. : an umbrella term for many gender non-conforming or non-binary identities (e.g., agender, bigender, genderfluid).
gender variant – adj. : someone who either by nature or by choice does not conform to gender-based expectations of society (e.g. transgender, intersex, genderqueer, cross-dresser, etc).
greygender – adj. : a person who has ambivalence about their gender identity or gender expression. They may feel a weak connection to their gender identity or gender expression, although they also may not feel that connection most of the time.
greyromantic – adj. : a person who experiences romantic attraction infrequently or only in specific circumstances. Greyromantic is an identity on the aromantic spectrum.
greysexual – adj. : a person who experiences sexual attraction infrequently or only in specific circumstances. Greysexual is an identity on the asexual spectrum.
gynesexual / gynephilic /“guy-nuh-seks-shu-uhl”/ – adj. : being primarily attracted to woman, females, and/or femininity.
hermaphrodite – noun : an outdated medical term previously used to refer to someone who was born with some combination of typically-male and typically-female sex characteristics. This term is considered stigmatizing and inaccurate. See intersex.
heteronormativity – noun : the assumption, in individuals and/or in institutions, that everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is superior to all other sexualities. Leads to invisibility and stigmatizing of other sexualities: when learning a woman is married, asking her what her husband’s name is. Heteronormativity also leads us to assume that only masculine men and feminine women are straight.
heterosexism – noun : behavior that grants preferential treatment to heterosexual people, reinforces the idea that heterosexuality is somehow better or more “right” than queerness, and/or makes other sexualities invisible.
heterosexual/straight – adj. : experiencing attraction solely or primarily to people of a different gender.
homophobia – noun : an umbrella term for a range of negative attitudes (e.g., fear, anger, intolerance, resentment, erasure, or discomfort) that one may have toward people in the LGBTQ+ community. The term can also connote a fear, disgust, or dislike of being perceived as LGBTQ+.
homophobic – adj. : a word used to describe individuals, institutions, or laws/policies that demonstrates a range of negative attitudes, actions, or behaviors toward the LGBTQ+ community.
homosexual – adj. & noun : a person primarily to members of the same sex/gender. This medical term is considered stigmatizing (particularly as a noun) due to its history as a category of mental illness, and is discouraged for common use (use gay or lesbian instead).
intersex – adj. : term for a combination of chromosomes, gonads, hormones, internal sex organs, and genitals that differs from the two expected patterns of male or female. Formerly known as hermaphrodite (or hermaphroditic), but these terms are now outdated and derogatory. Some intersex people do not consider themselves a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
lesbian – noun & adj. : women or some non-binary people who are primarily attracted to other women.
LGBTQ+ – abbr. : shorthand or umbrella terms for all folks who have a non-straight (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 to be more inclusive.
MSM / WSW – abbr. : men who have sex with men or women who have sex with women, to distinguish sexual behaviors from sexual identities: because a man is straight, it doesn’t mean he’s not having sex with men. Often used in the field of HIV/Aids education, prevention, and treatment.
Mx. / “mix” or “schwa” / - noun : an honorific (e.g. Mr., Ms., Mrs., etc.) that is gender neutral. It is often the option of choice for folks who do not identify within the gender binary: Mx. Smith is a great teacher.
non-binary – adj. : a person whose gender identity falls outside of the binary or man or woman. Non-binary is sometimes used as an umbrella term for gender identities which do not fall within the gender binary.
omnisexual – adj. : a person who experiences attraction to all genders, where gender often plays a role in one’s attraction. Someone who is omnisexual may experience attraction to different genders at different levels of intensity. Often shortened to “omni.”
outing – verb : involuntary or unwanted disclosure of another person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status. Outing someone is traumatic and can often have serious safety implications.
pangender – adj. : a person wo who experiences their gender identity as multiple genders. The person may experience this identity as static or as fluidity between the genders.
pansexual – adj. : a person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction for members of all gender identities/expressions. Often shortened to “pan.”
passing – 1 adj. & verb : transgender people being accepted as, or able to “pass for,” a member of their self-identified gender identity (regardless of sex assigned at birth) without being identified as transgender. 2 adj. : an LGB/queer individual who is believed to be or perceived as straight. This terms was originally used by People of Color to describe individuals who “passed” as white.
polygender – adj. : a gender identity where a person experiences more than one gender identity either simultaneously or at varying times.
polyamory (polyamorous) – noun : refers to the practice of, desire for, or orientation toward having ethical, honest, and consensual non-monogamous relationships (i.e. relationships that may include multiple partners). Often shortened to “poly.”
polysexual – adj. : a person who experiences attraction to multiple, but not necessarily all, genders. The attraction is not necessarily equally divided among the genders to which a person is attracted.
pronouns – abbr. : also known as gender pronouns. Often used during introductions, becoming more common as a standard practice. Many suggest using the term “preferred,” but it is often considered offensive because it indicates flexibility and/or the power for the speaker to decide which pronouns to use for someone else.
queer – 1 adj. : an umbrella term to describe individuals who don’t identify as straight and/or cisgender. 2 noun: a slur used to refer to someone who isn’t straight and/or cisgender. Due to its historical use as a derogatory term, and how it is still used as a slur many communities, it is not embraced or used by all LGBTQ+ people. The term “queer” can often be use interchangeably with LGBTQ+ (e.g., “queer people” instead of “LGBTQ+ people”).
queerphobia – noun: an umbrella term for a range of negative attitudes (e.g., fear, anger, intolerance, resentment, erasure, or discomfort) that one may have toward people in the LGBTQ+ community. The term can also connote a fear, disgust, or dislike of being perceived as LGBTQ+. This term is sometimes used in place of homophobia to move away from using a word related to homosexual.
queerspawn – adj.: an identity term used by youth and adults with one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer parents/guardians. It is often used to articulates one’s connection to queer community and claim a space in it.
questioning – verb, adj. : an individual who or time when someone is unsure about or exploring their own sexual orientation or gender identity.
QPOC / QTPOC – abbr. : initialisms that stand for queer people of color and queer and/or trans people of color.
romantic attraction – noun : a capacity that evokes the want to engage in romantic intimate behavior (e.g., dating, relationships, marriage), experienced in varying degrees (from little-to-none, to intense). Often conflated with sexual attraction, emotional attraction, and/or spiritual attraction.
same gender loving (SGL) – adj. : sometimes used by some members of the African-American or Black community to express an non-straight sexual orientation without relying on terms and symbols of European descent.
sex assigned at birth (SAAB) – abbr. : 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 attraction – noun : a capacity that evokes the want to engage in physically intimate behavior (e.g., kissing, touching, intercourse), experienced in varying degrees (from little-to-none, to intense). Often conflated with romantic attraction, emotional attraction, and/or spiritual attraction.
sexual orientation – noun : the type of attraction one has the capacity to feel for others, generally labeled based on the gender relationship between the person and the people they are attracted to.
sexual preference – noun : the types of sexual intercourse, stimulation, and gratification one likes to receive and participate in. The term is not interchangeable with “sexual orientation”, as one does not have a choice (or “preference”) in who they are attracted to.
gender confirmation/affirmation surgery (GCS or GAS) – noun : used by some medical professionals to refer to a group of surgical options that alter a person’s biological sex to align with their gender identity. In most cases, one or multiple surgeries are required to achieve legal recognition to change a gender marker on identification or with insurance. Some refer to different surgical procedures as “top” surgery and “bottom” surgery to discuss what type of surgery they are having without having to be more explicit.
skoliosexual – adj. : being primarily sexually, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to some genderqueer, transgender, transsexual, and/or non-binary people. This identity is often seen as problematic because it fetishizes transgender people.
spiritual attraction – noun : a capacity that evokes the want to engage in intimate behavior based on one’s experience with, interpretation of, or belief in the spiritual (e.g., religious teachings, messages from a deity, spiritual practices), experienced in varying degrees (from little-to-none, to intense). Often conflated with sexual attraction, romantic attraction, and/or emotional attraction.
stealth – adj. : a trans person who is not “out” as trans, and is perceived/known by others as cisgender.
straight – adj. : a person primarily attracted to people who are not their same sex/gender. A more colloquial term for the word heterosexual.
third gender – noun : for a person who does not identify as a man or woman, but identifies as another gender. This gender category is used by societies that recognize three or more genders and is also a conceptual term meaning different things to different people who use it, as a way to move beyond the gender binary.
top surgery – noun : this term refers to surgery for the construction of a male-type chest or breast augmentation for a female-type chest.
trans* – adj. : an umbrella term covering a range of identities that transgress socially-defined gender norms. Trans with an asterisk is used in written forms to indicate that you are specifically including non-binary identities. Many people have moved away from using trans* because the term transgender inherently includes non-binary identities.
transfeminine – 1 adj. : transgender people who identify with a feminine gender identity. Often shortened to transfem.
transgender –adj. : an umbrella term for anyone whose sex assigned at birth and gender identity do not align (e.g., someone who was assigned male at birth, but does not identify as a man).
transition / transitioning – noun, verb : referring to the process of a transgender person changing aspects of themself (e.g., their appearance, name, pronouns, or making physical changes to their body) to be more congruent with their gender identity (as opposed to the gender they lived as pre-transitioning). Not all transgender people transition or transition in the same ways. It is very personal and unique to each person.
transman; transwoman – noun : An identity label sometimes adopted by female-to-male transgender people to signify that they are men while still affirming their history as assigned female at birth. (sometimes referred to as transguy) 2 Identity label sometimes adopted by male-to-female transgender people to signify that they are women while still affirming their history as assigned male at birth.
transmasculine – 1 adj. : transgender people who identify with a masculine gender identity. Often shortened to transmasc.
transphobia – noun : the fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of transgender people, the transgender community, or gender ambiguity. Transphobia exists within the queer community, as well as in general society.
transphobic – adj. : a word used to describe individuals, institutions, or laws/policies that harbors some elements of this range of negative attitudes, thoughts, intents, towards transgender people.
transsexual – noun and adj. a person who identifies psychologically as a gender/sex other than the one to which they were assigned at birth. Transsexuals often wish to transform their bodies hormonally and surgically to match their inner sense of gender/sex. This word is often seen as derogatory.
transvestite – noun : a person who dresses as the binary opposite gender expression
(“cross-dresses”) for any one of many reasons, including relaxation, fun, and sexual gratification (often called a “cross-dresser,” and should not be confused with transsexual). This word is often seen as derogatory.
two-spirit – noun : an umbrella term traditionally used within Native American communities to recognize individuals who possess qualities or fulfill roles of multiple genders. The term came from the Ojibwa words niizh manitoag (two-spirits) and was adopted in 1990 in Winnipeg at the Intertribal Native American/First Nations gay and lesbian conference to include all members of the LGBTQ+ community within Native communities.