Resources for LGBTQ+ Students and Allies

Queer Terminology

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

On this page:

Gender Identities/Expressions

  • Gender : Gender refers to the attitudes, feelings and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person's biological sex. Behavior that is compatible with cultural expectations is referred to as gender-normative; behaviors that are viewed as incompatible with these expectations constitute gender non-conformity. (APA, 2012).
  • 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.
  • FEM : Referring to femininity and the expression of this, regardless of orientation, identity, or gender expression.
  • Gender Expression : referring to an individual's presentation — including physical appearance, clothing choice and accessories — and behavior that communicates aspects of gender or gender role. Gender expression may or may not conform to a person's gender identity.
  • 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, transgender 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 preferred pronouns or gender identity.
  • Gender Neutral :to be associated with both genders or in general it's a term for inclusivity of any gender.
  • 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.
  • Mahu : This identity is particular to Native Hawaiian Communities and resonates with individuals in differents ways but is most widely ocorrelated with the third gender identities and gender fluidity. We have excellent resources for understanding this inricate topic (located on our resources page under: Mahu)
  • MASC : Referring to masculinity and the expressino of this, regardless of orientation, identity, or gender epression.
  • Men / Man : One of the Binary genders, often assigned at birth and can be referred to as one's 'natal sex'. Those who identify as a man often express traits likened to that of traditional masculine aspects but are not limited to such behavior. Some men also utilize the term 'Male(s)', and generally are known to use the pronouns he / him / his.
  • 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.
  • Two-Spirit : Two spirit is a Native American term for individuals who identify as both the masculine and the feminine identities. There are many ways to identify as Two-Spirit and some of the terms often used by contemporary LGBTQIA Native American peoples (to describe a person within this identity) are as follows: winkt (Lakota), nadleehi (Dine), lhamana (Zuni), as well as many other variations depending on the tribe and heritage.
  • Woman / Women : One of the binary genders, often assigned at birth and can be refferred to as one's 'natal sex'. Those who identify as female often express traits likened to that of traditional feminine aspects but are not limited to such behavior. Some women also utilize the term 'Female(s)', and generally are known use the pronouns she/ her/ hers.
  • Womxn : “Womxn” includes the adoption of ‘x’ in representing gender non-conforming individuals, genderqueer folx, two spirit people, femmes, transgender folx, and non-binary people. The term recognizes that the history of feminism has included racism, transphobia, and harmful gender binary views.

more terms: - Demiboy - Demigirl - Bois - Womxn


  • Sexualities
    • Allosexual : Can refer to an individual who does experience sexual attraction to others.
    • 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 their 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.
    • Bisexual : An adjective used to describe a person who has the potential to be physically, romantically, and/or emotionally attracted to people of more than one gender, not necessarily at the same time, in the same way, or to the same degree.
    • Demisexual : This particular sexuality is related to emotional intellect and the way in which an individuals develops and emotional bond with their partner. Demi-sexuality is not a measure of how often somebody engages in intercourse, but represents more so their level of attraction to another person based on emotional connection.
    • Graysexual : This is a sexuality that generally resonates under the umbrella of demisexuality and those who identify with this can be sexual or asexual beings(similar to the prefix demi- meaning the half they are in a halfway point between thise two orientations so to speak). Demi-sexuality is not a measure of how often somebody engages in intercourse but represents more so their level of attraction to another person based on emotional connection.
    • 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.
    • Pansexual : Generally meaning not limited in sexual choice with regard to gender identity and sexual orientation.
    • 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).
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.

more terms:

  • Heterosexual
  • Homoromantic
  • Homosexual
  • Monogamous
  • Panromantic
  • Polysexual

General Terms

  • Androgyne Insensitivity Syndrome : Also known as AIS, is a medical diagnosis for those considered to have hormones that are present outside of the binary notion of hormone placements or amounts. Theer are different erms for each type of AIS : MAIS (look male),CAIS (look female),PAIS (look both male and female. Those with AIS can consider themselves any gender, sexuality and orientation as well as agender, asexual, and aromantic.
  • Attraction : In this context, it refers to a mental or emotional force that draws people together. Asexuals do not experience sexual attraction, but often do feel romantic attraction.
  • 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 orientation 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.
  • Dyadic : an individual who is not intersex
  • 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. Under an expanded definition of intersex, a large portion of the commuity considers those individuals who have atypical hormone levels (with conditions such as PCOS or others) as intersex.
  • Latine / Latinx : Latine (pronounced la·ˈ​ti·​ne) is a gender-neutral form of the word Latino (a collective term with a traditionally masculine ending in Spanish) created by LGBTQIA+, gender non-binary, and feminist communities throughtout Latin America.
  • 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 in between. 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.
  • Monosexism : The societal, institutional, and individual beliefs and practices that assume that all people are attracted to only one other sex or gender and are either exclusively heterosexual or exclusively lesbian/gay. Monosexism leads to prejudice and discrimination against bisexual, pansexual, queer, and non-binary sexual identities.
  • 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.
  • Queer : While it can be simply defined as indicating or correlating to a sexual or gender identity that does not align with binary or societal norms of sexuality and gender this is a term that is a bit controvesial as the word has been known for being used as both in a deragatory sense and uplifting a sense of community. The viewpoint on this term varies within the LGBTQIAA+ community.
  • Romantic Attraction : Desire to be romantically involved with another person, not necessarily including sex or physical intimacy.
  • Sexual Attraction : the desire to have sexual contact with someone else, to share our sexuality with them.

more terms: - Outing - Questioning

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