This glossary was developed by and is being used with the permission of Out Alliance.
This glossary is offered [by Out Alliance] as a starting point for discussion. Language is dynamic, continually growing and changing. This is particularly true with the language we use to identify ourselves. We should strive to ensure that our language does not demean, exclude or offend by respectfully allowing others to self-identify.
Ally: A person who does not identify with a group, but still advocates for that group's rights.
Aromantic: In its broadest meaning, this umbrella term encompasses anyone who has a low or absent romantic attraction or interest in romantic activity. Sexual relationships may be desired.
Asexual: In its broadest meaning, this umbrella term encompasses anyone who has a low or absent sexual attraction or interest in sexual activity. Intimate romantic/affectional relationships may be desired.
Biphobia: Negative feelings, attitudes, actions, or behaviors against people who are, or perceived to be, bisexual or pan sexual. It may also be a fear of one's own bisexual or pansexual attractions.
Bisexual: A person who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to men and women.
Cisgender: Someone who is comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth. The state of not being transgender.
Cissexism: The system of advantages bestowed on people who are cisgender. It can also be assumption that all people are, or should be, cisgender.
Crossdresser: A cisgender person who dresses in the clothing deemed inappropriate by society for the gender assigned them at birth. The purpose is usually emotional comfort of erotic fulfillment.
Drag King and Drag Queen: A person who cross-dresses as a means of performance or entertainment.
Gay: While most often associated with men, in its broadest meaning this is a person who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to people of the same gender.
Gender Expansive: A person whose gender expression and/or identity broadens or overflows our binary cultural and societal expectations for men and women. Some people prefer this term to "gender non-conforming."
Gender Expression: The part of a person's identity that is about expressing masculinity or femininity as influenced by society, culture, and individual expectations.
Gender Identity: The part of a person's identity that is about their sense of self as a male or female, neither or both.
Heterosexism: The system of advantages bestowed on people who are heterosexual. It can also be the assumption that all people are, or should be, heterosexual and gender conforming.
Homophobia: Negative feelings, attitudes, actions, or behaviors against LGBTQ+ people or people percieved to be LGBTQ+. It may also be a fear of one's own same-sex attractions.
Homosexual: An outdated clinical term used to describe someone who is gay or lesbian. This is a dated term. Many prefer the terms gay or lesbian.
Intersex: A person whose biological anatomy and/or genes vary from the expected male or female anatomy and/ or genetics.
Lesbian: A woman who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to other women.
LGBTQ+: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, plus so much more!
MSM: An abbreviation for men who have sex with men. These individuals may or may not identify as gay, bisexual, or pansexual.
Non-Binary: A person who does not identify as a man or a woman. They might identify as both, neither, somewhere between, a different gender or no gender at all. They may prefer other terms for themselves, like: genderqueer, gender-expansive, gender fluid, two-spirit, agender, etc.
Pansexual: A person who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to people regardless of their gender identity, gender expression or biological sex. This term goes beyond a gender binary.
Polyamory: The practice of or desire for intimate relationships with more than one partner at a time. These relationships depend upon consent and knowledge of all involved.
Queer: A simple label to explain orientations, gender identities and/or gender expressions that do not conform to societal expectations. Some people view this as a term of empowerment and others strongly dislike this term.
Questioning: A person who is unsure about their orientation and/or gender identity.
Romantic Orientation: The part of our identity related to whom we are romantically attracted; also known as affectional orientation.
Same-Gender Loving: A term used most frequently in communities of color that affirms the same-sex attraction of individuals. The term may be preferred over lesbian, gay or bisexual.
Sexual Orientation: The part of our identity related to whom we are sexually attracted.
Transgender: In its broadest meaning, this umbrella term encompasses anyone whose gender identity does not correspond to the gender they were assigned at birth.
Transphobia: Negative feelings, attitudes, actions, or behaviors against transgender people or people perceived to be transgender. It may also be a fear of one's own gender non-conformity.
Transsexual: A person whose gender identity is not congruent with the gender they were assigned at birth. Medical and surgical interventions that bring congruency are typically desired. This is a dated term. Many prefer the terms transgender or trans.
Two-Spirit: A Native American term for LGBTQ+ individuals with dual or multiple genders. It can mean having both a masculine and a feminine spirit. It has different meanings in different communities.