Ally: someone who supports LGBTQ people. Allies often help and provide visible and vocal supper to ensure the safety and fair treatment of members of the LGBTQ community

Asexual: a lack of sexual feelings toward men and/or women (Huegel, 2011).

Bisexual: a term used to describe someone who is capable of being attracted to women and men (Owens-Reid & Russo, 2014)

Cisgender: a gender identity in which one’s assigned sex at birth correlates with how one identifies socially, emotionally, and physically (e.g. someone who was assigned male at birth who identifies as a man is a cisgender man) (Owens-Reid & Russo, 2014)

Closeted: a per on who does not disclose his/her sexual orientation or gender identity (Heugel, 2011)

Coming Out: disclosing one’s sexual orientation or gender identity to others. Some people may never come out, other com out to few individuals, other are to to everyone, and for some, the coming out process takes place more slowly (Heugel, 2011). The coming out process may be an ongoing or consistent process within one’s world

Discrimination: the unfair and unequal treatment of others based on some aspect, component or perception of their identity.

Gay: an identity term used to describe both homosexual men and homosexual women, although it may culturally cannote a man who identifies as homosexual (individual who are emotionally, physically attracted to others of the same sex)

Gender Expression: the way a person expresses their sense of gender identity (e.g. through dress, clothing, body movement, etc.) (Institute of Medicine, 2011)

Gender Identity: a person’s internal sense of being male, female or something else. Gender identity is internal, so it is not necessarily visible to other. Gender identity is also very personal, so some people may not identity as male or female while others may identify as both male and female (Institute of Medicine, 2011)

Gender Non-conforming/Gender Variant: a person whose gender expression differs from how their family, culture or society expects them to behave, dress and act (Institute of Medicine, 2011)

Heterosexual: term describing a man who is attracted to women or a woman who is attracted to men

Homophobia: the fear or hatred of people who are not heterosexual or do not appear heterosexual, which can lead to discrimination, rejection, and/or violence (Erickson-Schroth, 2014)

Homosexual: describes a man who’s attracted to men, or woman who’s attracted to women (Erickson-Schroth, 2014)

Intersex: a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit the typical definitions of female or male. Not everyone who has one of these conditions identifies as interest (Erickson-Schroth, 2014)

LGBTQ: acronym that often stands for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (or Transsexual), Queer (or Questioning)”

Lesbian: identity term to describe a woman who’s attracted to women

Pansexual: an identity term for those who are attracted to people of many different genders (Erickson-Schroth, 2014)

Passing: the ability to be accepted in society as someone of a different biological sex (Huegel, 2011)

Queer: a term that was historically used as a slur against the LGBTQ communities. Has more recently been reclaimed by some people, although others are uncomfortable with its use. Can imply a transgressive stance toward sexuality and the gender binary (Erickson-Schroth, 2014)

Questioning: an identity term that may indicate that individual is uncertain of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity (Huegel, 2011)

Sexual Orientation: a person’s emotional, sexual and/or relational attraction to others. Sexual orientation is usually classified as heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual (lesbian & gay), and includes components of attraction, behavior and identity (Laumann et al., 1994). Sexual orientation is expressed in relationship to others to meet basic human needs for love, attachment and intimacy (Institute of Medicine, 2011)

Straight: another term for someone who identifies as heterosexual

Transgender: a person who feels that their gender identity does not match their physical body and differs from the gender that others observed and gave them at birth (assigned or birth gender) (Institute of Medicine, 2011)

Transsexual: a term often used to describe those who have undergone some form of gender-related surgery. Some people who identify as transsexual do not identify as transgender and vice-versa (Erickson-Schroth, 2014)




Erickson-Schroth, Laura (2014). Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Huegel, Kelly (2011). GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Teens. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing.

Owens-Reid, Dannielle & Kristin Russo (2014). This Is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.







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