Unfamiliar With a Term?
That’s okay! Here is an alphabetical list of commonly used terms on our website. We encourage visitors to learn and be accepting of others no matter what identity or background they have.
Allyship - The action of working with, holding space for, advocating for, and supporting members of a community other than one’s own
Asexual – A sexual orientation generally characterized by not feeling sexual attraction or a desire for partnered sexuality. Asexuality is distinct from celibacy, which is the deliberate abstention from sexual activity. There are many diverse ways of being asexual and may include sex, and often includes romantic relationships.
Bias- Prejudice; an inclination or preference, especially one that interferes with impartial judgment.
Bisexuality - Also bi. A person who is attracted to multiple sexes and/or genders, but not necessarily simultaneously or equally. This attraction may be to their own gender and others, or a variation of attraction to multiple genders. People may experience this attraction in differing ways and degrees over their lifetime.
BlaQ/BlaQueer - Folks of Black/African descent who recognize their queerness/LGBT*QIA2S+ identity as a salient identity attached to their Blackness and vice versa
Body Policing - any behavior which indirectly or directly attempts to correct or control a person’s actions regarding their own physical body, frequently with regards to gender expression, size, and medical decisions
Bullying - Simply defined, bullying means to treat someone abusively. The harm, or threats to harm, can target a student’s physical, social, or emotional well-being. Can be written, including via electronic communication, verbal, or physical conduct. May limit a student’s ability to participate in, or benefit from, a program or activity of a public school or local educational agency; or create a hostile or abusive educational environment, adversely affecting a student’s education, including acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression or intimidation. Also includes conduct that targets a student because of a characteristic of a friend, family member, or other person or group with whom a student associates.
Cisgender - a gender identity where an individual’s experiences of their own gender matches the sex they were assigned at birth.
Cissexism - The belief that there are, and should be, only two genders and being cisgender is superior to all other genders. A system of oppression that discriminates based on whether one’s gender identity matches the “sex” they were assigned at birth
Cross Dresser - A word to describe individuals who regularly or occasionally wear clothing socially associated with a gender they do not identify with, but who usually identify with the gender/sex they were assigned at birth (i.e. they are not transgender) and does not connotate sexuality. “Cross Dresser” is the preferred term as “transvestite” is commonly considered an offensive term.
Demi - denotes a partial connection or identification with. Demigender (e.g. demigirl, demiboy, demifluid) describes the gender identity of someone who partly identifies with a gender identity and demisexual describes folks who only feel a sexual attraction to those with whom they have an emotional bond
Domestic partner/partner - One who lives with their beloved and/or is emotionally and financially connected in a supportive manner with another. Another word for spouse, lover, significant other, etc.
Drag - The act of dressing in gendered clothing as performance. Drag Queens perform in highly feminine attire. Drag Kings perform in highly masculine attire. Drag is often performed as a political comment on gender, as parody, or simply as entertainment. Drag performance does not indicate sexuality, gender identity, or sex identity. The performance piece is what makes it differ from cross-dressing in general.
Gay - A man attracted to a man. Occasionally used to describe anyone attracted to someone of their same gender, and as an umbrella term for all LGBQ people
Gender Identity - A socially constructed system of classification that ascribes qualities of masculinity and femininity to people. Societal definitions of gender can change over time and are different between cultures. Gender is the way a person sees themselves. Words that refer to gender include: man, woman, transgender, nonbinary, queer, etc. Gender is fundamentally different than sex/sex-assigned-at-birth
Gender Dysphoria - Used to describe experiences of discomfort, distress, or discrepancy between one’s gender identity and their sex-assigned-at-birth, body, and prescribed gender role. The term used for a condition by the American Psychiatric Association when an individual does not feel that their sex assigned at birth is congruent with their gender identity. This terminology has been changed from Gender Identity Disorder in the DSM-IV in order to reduce stigma.
Gender-inclusive - Language, actions, spaces, and relationships that include and recognize all genders and are not gender-specific/exclusive—e.g. “spouse” and “partner” instead of “husband/boyfriend” “wife/girlfriend,” or “folks,” “everyone,” or “people” instead of “Guys/Gals”
Gender non-conforming/gender variant/gender queer - People who do not ascribe to the dominant/normative understandings of gender and do not conform to the gender expressions and roles expected/assigned to them by society. A label for people who challenge normative understandings of gender and embrace more expansive understandings and experiences.
Gender role - Norms regarding how individuals should behave or perform, expecting people to have personality characteristics and/or act a certain way based on their sex/gender identity.
Heterosexual/Straight - Sexual, emotional, and/or romantic attraction to people of a gender other than your own.
Heterosexism - Assuming every person to be heterosexual therefore marginalizing persons who do not identify as heterosexual. It is also believing heterosexuality to be superior to all other sexual identities.
Homophobia/Transphobia - The intolerance, discrimination, fear, hatred, harassment, and violence towards lesbian, gay, queer, pansexual, bisexual, trans, all those who identify (or appear to identify) outside of cisgender and heterosexual. Describes personal/individual, institutional, and cultural forms of oppression.
Homosexuality - Outdated/pathologized term. Sexual, emotional, and/or romantic attraction to the same/similar gender.
Intersex - People born with sex characteristics that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies. Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural bodily variations. In some cases, intersex traits are visible at birth while in others, they are not apparent until puberty or may not be physically apparent at all. There are about as many intersex people as there are people with red hair.
Intersectionality - A term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe the way that multiple systems of oppression interact in the lives of those with multiple marginalized identities.
In or Out of the closet - Refers to varying degrees of being open about one’s sexual orientation, sex identity, and/or gender identity.
Latinx - A gender-neutral term to refer to someone of any genders (including nonbinary and trans* people) with Latin American ancestry, culture, or origin. The use of an “x” can be found throughout the Spanish language as a replacement for the gendered “a” or “o” in an attempt to create more gender-inclusive language in Spanish.
Lesbian - A woman attracted to a woman.
Misgendering - Attributing a gender to someone that is incorrect/does not align with their gender identity. Can occur when using pronouns, gendered language (i.e. “Hello ladies!”Hey guys”), or assigning genders to people without knowing how they identify (i.e. “Well, since we’re all women in this room, we understand…”).
MSM - Men who engage in sexual behavior with men, but who may not necessarily self-identify as gay. A clinical and data gathering term.
Non-Binary - A gender identity that embraces a full universe of gender experiences and can describe all those who identify outside of the gender binary. May include those who also identify as genderqueer, gender-nonconforming, trans, agender, gender-fluid, and many more.
Pansexual - A person who is attracted to others based on who they are as a person, regardless of their sex or gender identity.
Power - The ability to decide who will have access to resources; the capacity to direct or influence the behavior of oneself, others, and/or the course of events.
Privilege - An unearned advantage, immunity, permission, right or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, group, class, race, gender, sexuality.
Pronouns- (he/she/they/ze etc.) linguistic tools to refer to someone in the third person. The pronouns that you use can only be decided by you, and the only way to know a person’s pronouns is if you ask. If you do not know someone’s pronouns and cannot ask them, using they/them is generally considered safe to use.
Polyamory - Polyamory is the consensual practice of having multiple, open, honest love relationships.
Queer – can be used to refer to any sexuality and/or gender identity that is not straight and/or cisgender. It may mean something different to each person who uses the term, and sometimes used as an umbrella term to refer to all people within the LGBT*QIA2S+ community. Defined as: subverting social expectations of gender and/or sexual identity. Also used as a political statement by a lot of people within the LGBT*QIA2S+ community. *Some people do not identify with this term as it was historically used as a slur.
Questioning - Someone may identify as questioning if they are unsure/exploring their sexual and/or gender identity. This may be a permanent, temporary, or reoccurring identity.
Sex-Assigned-At-Birth- an assignment given to a person based on their anatomical characteristics at birth (external genitalia, internal reproductive system etc.). Sex terms are male, female, and intersex. Occasionally, AFAB (Assigned Female at Birth) and AMAB (Assigned Male at Birth)
Sexual Orientation - The deep-seated direction of one's attraction whether it be sexual, emotional and/or romantic. Sometimes referred to as affection, orientation or sexuality. Sexual orientation evolves through a multistage developmental process that may change over time, and is not a set of absolute categories.
Stereotype - An exaggerated, oversimplified belief about an entire group of people without regard for individual differences.
Transgender – Transgender and/or gender non-conforming (sometimes shortened to trans, trans* or TG) people are those whose gender identity differs from the social expectations for the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender is not a sexual orientation. While some people may fit under this definition of transgender, they may not self-identify as such. This term may have a different definition for each individual and can include two-spirit, nonbinary, androgynes, gender-benders, intersex individuals, gender queer, gender non-conforming, gender subversive, gender fluid folks, and more. Occasionally, you may here MTF ( Male to Female) identified person or FTM (Female to Male) identified person.
Transition - A variety of processes that some transgender individuals go through to help align their bodies with their gender identity. This may include medical transitions such as surgeries and/or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), social transitions such as changes in name, pronouns, interactions, presentation, and/or legal transitions such as changes in name and gender markers on IDs and paperwork. A trans* person may transition in any or none of these ways.
Two-Spirit- A term chosen to distinctly express Native/First Nations gender identity and gender variance, in addition to replacing the otherwise imposed and non-Native terms of berdache and gay. Most Indigenous communities have specific terms in their own languages for the gender-variant members of their communities, and genders vary from tribe to tribe. Can be an umbrella term, and may specifically indicate a Native person who feels their body simultaneously manifests both a masculine and a feminine spirit, including identifying as a “third gender” or “fourth gender.” Do not appropriate this term and identity.
Ze/Zir or They/Them- Gender neutral pronouns that can be used instead of he/she or his/her. There are a number of pronouns that folks may use - just ask!