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Terminology

Before you read, please understand that everyone has a different outlook on their own sexuality and gender. Identifying with a term is not necessarily to explain yourself to other people, but it’s often to find a community or label that resonates with you. Because there’s a multitude of identities and outlooks, there are several different words and labels people use to describe themselves. Please be respectful as you scroll. ​

 

Please note that you don’t have to fit into any of the labels or terms given below. Identity is fluid:). That being said, it’s also great if you resonate with a specific term or feel like you come under one of these umbrellas! 

 

If there are any questions, please feel free to reach out!

Agender /agen·​der/ -

Agender denotes someone who doesn’t identify as having a gender. 

E.g. They are agender. 

Ally /al·​ly/

Ally refers to a person who is cisgender and/or heterosexual and supports the LGBTQIA+ community as a whole, or people within the community who support each other (a bisexual person can be an ally to the trans community).

Aromantic /aro·​man·​tic/-

Aromantic is having little to no romantic feelings or desire. Aromantic people may experience sexual desire, and may experience other types of love within different relationships, but have a low or non-existent level of romantic attraction. 

Asexual /asex·​u·​al/ -

An asexual person experiences little to no sexual desire. They may experience romantic feelings, but have low libidos and don’t experience sexual attraction. 

Biphobia /bi·​pho·​bia/ -

Prejudice or discrimination against bisexual people. 

E.g. I have experienced biphobia. 

Bisexual /bi·sex·u·al/ -

Often characterised as having romantic/sexual feelings towards one’s own gender as well as other gender identities, not necessarily in the same way or degree. It is also used as an umbrella term to refer to being attracted to two or more genders. 

E.g. I am bisexual. 

Cisgender -

Cisgender refers to the identification of an individual with the sex assigned to them at birth. 

E.g. He is a cisgender male. 

The Closet -

Being in the closet, or being closeted, are terms used to describe LGBTQIA+ people who haven’t disclosed their identity. 

E.g. I am in the closet. 

Coming out -

Coming out refers to the open declaration of your sexual/romantic orientation or gender identity. 

E.g. I haven’t come out yet. 

This is also shortened to out sometimes, i.e. They aren’t out yet. 

Comp-het -

Compulsory heterosexuality, or comp-het, is the structure of heterosexuality being assumed and enforced onto people. For example, if you meet a new person, and without any discussion, they automatically assume you’re heterosexual until told otherwise. 

Gay -

Gay is a term that is used to describe having feelings of attraction for members of your own gender. Historically, it was used specifically for men. Today, it is also used as an umbrella term for anyone who is part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Gay is used as an adjective rather than a noun, as its noun form (‘ __ is a gay’) is considered derogatory.

E.g. I am gay

Also - the movement of liberation for gays, lesbians and other identities. 

Please note that this term can often be used derogatorily. Do not engage in the usage and do not endorse the word being characterised as offensive.

Gender /gen·der/ -

One’s gender is aligned with one’s internal sense of gender, which manifests in social, psychological and behavioural traits. Gender is different from biological sex. In modern language, it is synonymous with gender identity.  

E.g. They are attracted to all genders. 

Gender binary -

The gender binary is the structure that affirms and acknowledges only two sets of people - masculine and feminine. These constructs affect traditional, expected behaviour patterns and appearance. The system is highly oppressive and contributes to the manifestation of gender roles. 

Gender dysphoria -

Gender dysphoria is the clinically significant distress a person experiences when their sex assigned at birth doesn’t align with their gender identity. 

E.g. They are experiencing gender dysphoria. 

Gender expression -

Gender expression is the outward expression of one’s gender identity - often through clothing, behaviour, appearance, body or voice. These do not need to conform to only traits associated with masculinity or femininity. 

Gender-fluid -

Somebody who doesn’t identify with a specific gender and has a fluid or unfixed gender identity. 

E.g. They are gender-fluid. 

Genderqueer -

Somebody who doesn’t follow the gender binary norms and may identify as non-binary, agender, genderfluid etc.

Heterosexual /het·er·o·sex·u·al/ -

Someone who is only attracted to the opposite sex. 

E.g. He is a heterosexual man.

Homophobia /homo·pho·bia/ -

The prejudice or discrimination against homosexuals - often expanded to include the prejudice or discrimination against all LGBTQIA+ people. 

Intersex /in·ter·sex/-

Intersex is the term used to describe people who are born with several different sex characteristics (chromosomes, genitals, hormones) that do not fit the biological binary of male and female. 

E.g. Non-binary is not the same as being intersex. 

Also - They are an intersex person. 

Lesbian/les•bi•an/ -

Being a lesbian is when someone who identifies as female feels romantic/sexual feelings towards only females.

LGBTQ+ -

LGBTQ+ is an acronym where each respective letter stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual and other terms that may be used to describe people’s identities (outside of cisgender and heterosexual). The term describes the community and is not an adjective. 

E.g. They are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community

Outing /out·ing/-

Outing is the reveal of somebody’s (who is not out) sexuality without their consent.

E.g. He outed me

Pansexual /pan·sex·u·al/-

When someone identifies as pansexual, it means that they are attracted to all genders. It is often a term within the bisexual umbrella. 

Polyromantic /pol·y·ro·man·tic/ -

Being attracted to multiple genders at once. It is also within the bi umbrella, but people may choose to identify as polyromantic without necessarily identifying as bisexual. 

Misgender /Mis·gen·der/ -

To misgender someone is when you refer to someone as a gender that they do not identify with.

E.g. referring to someone who uses she/her pronouns as he/him 

Non-binary  /non·bi·na·ry/-

Non-binary people identify as outside the gender binary (male and female). They may identify as both man and woman, or neither. It is also an umbrella term for a number of gender identities

E.g. they are non-binary

Queer /Qu·eer/-

Queer was a term used to describe LGBTQIA+ people historically. It had a derogatory connotation, however, the community reclaimed it and it’s often used as an umbrella term for non-cishet people. 

Questioning - 

‘Questioning’ is a term used to describe people who are still exploring their identity. 

Same-gender loving - 

A word people use when they do not want to identify specifically as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual etc. but are attracted to the same gender.

Sexual orientation - 

The inherent type and manner of attraction one has towards other people. It is independent of their gender identity. 

Transgender

/Tr·ans·gen·der/-

An umbrella term for those whose gender identity is outside of societal expectations and norms. 

Transitioning 

/Tr·ans·i·tion·ing/ -

Refers to someone who is in the process of changing their gender identity. The steps may be surgical, physical, legal or simply mental. 

Toric /toh-rick/ -

A word non binary people can use to describe attraction to only male/male-aligned people. 

Trixic /trix-ick/ -

A word non-binary people can use to describe attraction to only female/female-aligned people. 

Uranic /you-ran-ick/ -

A word for people attracted to all genders except women/female aligned people

Sapphic -

A word used to describe a woman/female-aligned person who is attracted to other women/female aligned people

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