Resources for LGBTQ+ Students and Allies

Learn About the Queer Spectrum

On this page is a list of identities, orientations, and terminology often used by the LGBTQ+ community that are helpful to know when being a good ally or when learning about the queer spectrum!

On this page:

Gender Identities

  • Agender
    Agender is defined as not having a gender or having a “lack of gender”, some agender individuals describe themselves as being gender neutral. Sometimes referred to as androgynous, individuals who identify with this identity are neither specifically feminine nor masculine
  • Cisgender (Cis)
    Cisgender (can be shortened to cis-) usually describes a person whose gender identity is the same as their sex assigned at birth.
  • Gender Fluid
    Gender fluidity can be attributed to those individuals who may not identify as any one particular identity when it comes to gender, but often express a desire to remain flexible about their gender identity. They may fluctuate among differing gender expressions over their lifetime, or express multiple aspects of various gender identities at the same time.
  • Gender Identity
    This is a term often used to describe the relationship an individual has with a particular identity or set of characteristics, be it male, female, non-binary, agender, or any other identity in the queer spectrum. Usually a gender identity can be associated with gender terms/pronouns (with respect to the individuals' choices of self-represenation). The best policy is to ask, rather than assume, if you are unsure of someone's preffered pronouns or gender identity.
  • Gender Queer
    They may define their gender as falling somewhere in between man and woman, or they may define it as wholly different from these terms.
  • Non-Binary
    Generally refers to those whose gender identity and/or gender expression falls outside the binary categories of man and woman or those who do not identify with any binary genders.
  • Transgender
    Transgender is an umbrella term that describes people whose gender identity or expression does not match the gender they were assigned at birth.

more terms: - Gender Neutral - Mahu


Sexualities/Orientations

  • Aromantic (Aro)
    Individuals who identify as Aromantic generally have little or no romantic attraction to others and they may or may not feel sexual attraction. An aromantic person's sexuality can often fall into one of these two groups: aromantic sexuality or aromantic asexuality.
  • Abrosexual
    Refers to someone who is fluid in their sexuality or who experiences fluctuation in their orientation - typically falling under, but not limited to, the umbrella of Asexuality - an Abrosexual person's sexuality may change more frequently over the course of hours, days, months, or years. Some Abrosexual people may not seek out a relationship or may prefer a wavership due to the variability of thier attraction to others.
  • Asexual (Ace)
    Asexuality can be seen as the lack of a sexual attraction to others, or low interest in sexual activities. Some individuals consider asexuality to be their sexual orientation, and others describe it as an absence of sexual orientation. Asexual people may identify as cisgender, non-binary, transgender, or any other gender identity and orientation.
  • Biromantic
    Biromanticism is usually when a person is romantically attracted to people of two specific and distinct gender identities. Individuals who identify as biromantic aren't necessarily sexually attracted to the same people they're romantically attracted to.
  • Bisexual
    Bisexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior toward both males and females, or to more than one gender.
  • Gay
    This is an umbrella term for an orientation that refers to a same sex attraction. Usually describing the relationship between those who identify as male or transgender. Often paired withe term homosexual (the difference in the terms is very slight and is generally attributed to political affiliation.)
  • Lesbian
    Most widely used to describe sexual and romantic attraction between those who identify as female.
  • LGBTQ+
    LGBTQ+ is an acronym consisting of "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender," the Q has been used in different ways for many people, whether that stands for "Queer or Questioning" that can depend on you; and the plus is for all the missing letters inbetween. There is often an "I" which stands for intersex, multiple "A" which can be commonly found as "Asexual, Aromantic, Agender" so forth. LGBTQ+ stands for inclusivity and not leaving anyone or any identity out.
  • Pansexual
    Generally meaning not limited in sexual choice with regard to gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • Polyamorous
    the romantic, emotional, and/or sexual attraction to multiple individuals. This can be through a relationship including three or more people or having a string of other relationships that are knowledgeable to the fact they are one of many and consent to these conditions willingly.
  • Zygosexual
    Individuals identifying with this orientation are known as having or wanting more sexual partners with your current romantic and/or sexual partner. Both of the romantically involved partners MUST agree upon whether or not the new person or people that the couple are getting sexually involved with will be a good fit for them and both partners must consent and participate in any sexual acts performed with the new person(s).

more terms: - Heterosexual - Homoromantic - Homosexual - Monogamous - Panromantic - Polysexual


General Terms

  • Closet
    The term closet or closeted can be used to describe the state of a queer person who is not yet "out", or rather who has not shared their sexual orienation or gender identity with other individuals.
  • Coming Out
    Another term in relation to the closet- usually stated as coming out of the closet or coming out to the world/other individuals with one's own queer identity and no longer being in the closet/ freely presnting one's orientation or identity.
  • Drag
    The term "drag" usually refers to the performance of masculinity, femininity or other forms of gender expression. A drag queen is someone who performs femininity and a drag king is someone who performs masculinity. The term may be used as a noun as in the expression in drag or as an adjective as in drag show.
  • FTM
    FTM usually represents a Female-To-Male transgender person. Often used to identify as a transgender man or someone assigned the female gender at birth who identifies on the male spectrum.
  • Gender Affirming
    An adjective used to refer to the behaviors or interventions that affirm a person’s gender identity, for example: a physician using cross-sex hormones for a transgender patient may be called gender affirming or even the use of a correctly gendered pronoun when addressing someone.
  • Gender Expression
    Typically shown through appearance, apparel, and behavior, gender expression is often defined as the way in which a person expresses their gender identity.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
    The process in which transgender people choose to take a prescription of synthetic hormones (usually (but not limited to) being used near the beginning and then throughout their transition. This may include taking estrogen and testosterone as well as taking estrogen and testosterone blockers.
  • Intersex
    Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural bodily variations and those individuals born with sex characteristics (including genitals, gonads and chromosome patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies. Being intersex relates to biological sex characteristics, and is distinct from a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. An intersex person may be straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or asexual, and may identify as female, male, both or neither.
  • MTF
    Male-to-female transgender person, Sometimes known as a transgender woman, is usually someone assigned the male gender at birth who identifies on the female spectrum.

more terms: - Outing - Queer - Questioning

Don't see what your looking for? Head to the LGBTQ+ Studies/Theory/History tab and check out the resources there for more!