A process of social, psychological, and cultural change that stems from the balancing of two cultures while adapting to the prevailing culture of the society.
An individual with no gender identity.
Systemic discrimination and exclusion of asexual people from the assumption that everyone does and should experience sexual attraction.
An individual that experiences sexual attraction; one who is not asexual.
A romantic orientation generally characterized by not feeling romantic attraction or a desire for romance.
A broad spectrum of sexual orientations generally characterized by feeling varying degrees of sexual attraction or desire for partnered sexuality.
Americans of Asian ancestry. Reported entries from the U.S. Census Bureau include people with Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and other Asian ancestors.
A variety of both erotic and non-erotic activities or roleplaying that involve bondage, discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism. BDSM refers to a wide spectrum of activities and forms of interpersonal relationships. While not always overtly sexual in nature, the activities and relationships within a BDSM dynamic are almost always eroticized by the participants in some fashion. Many forms of BDSM fall outside of commonly held social norms regarding sexuality and human relationships.
A subset of the queer community comprised of queer men similar in looks, being big and hairy.
- Cub – a younger (or younger-looking) version of a bear, sometimes but not always, with a smaller frame.
- Chub – A heavy-set man who might be described as overweight or obese. These men are also a distinct subculture within the gay community, and may or may not identify with the bear movement per se.
- Otter – Considered a subspecies of "bear" by some, an Otter is a hairy height/weight proportionate to slim man.
- Ursula – A lesbian bear.
- Panda (or Panda Bear) – A bear of Asian descent.
- Polar Bear – An older bear whose facial and body hair is predominantly or entirely white or grey.
Disproportionate weight in favor of or against an idea or thing, usually in a way that is closed-minded, prejudicial, or unfair.
Having two genders, exhibiting cultural characteristics of masculine and feminine roles.
Someone intolerant of others' differing ideas, races, genders, religions, politics, etc.
A person whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same gender and opposite gender.
BlaQ / BlaQueer
A person of Black/African descent who recognizes their queerness/LGBTQIA+ identity as attached to their Blackness and vice versa.
A gender expression that fits societal definitions of masculinity. Usually used by queer women and trans people, particularly by lesbians. Some consider “butch to be its own gender identity.
Chicano / Chicana
Chosen identity for Mexican Americans in the United States. Chicano or Xicano are sometimes used interchangeably with Mexican-American, and both names exist as chosen identities within the Mexican-American community in the United States.
“On this side of”
A gender identity or expression that society determines matches a person’s sex at birth.
Cissexism / Genderism
Systemic discrimination and exclusion founded on the belief that there are only two genders.
The process of voluntarily sharing one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity with others. This process is unique for each individual and there is no right or wrong way to come out. The term “coming out” has also been broadened to include other pieces of potentially stigmatized personal information. Terms also used that correlate with this action are: "Being out" which means not concealing one's sexual orientation or gender identity, and "Outing, " a term used for making public the sexual orientation or gender identity of another who would prefer to keep this information secret.
The adoption of elements of one culture by members of another culture. This can be controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from disadvantaged minority cultures.
Describes a person who dresses, in part or otherwise, as a member of a gender other than their assigned sex. This carries no implications of sexual orientation and has replaced “transvestite” as socially acceptable.
A sexual orientation on the asexual spectrum in which someone feels sexual attraction to people with whom they have an emotional bond. Most demisexuals feel sexual attraction rarely compared to the general population, and some have little to no interest in sexual activity.
An individual, often a woman, who appears as a man. In general this is for an act or performance with no implications regarding gender identity.
An individual, often a man, who appears as a woman. In general this is for an act or performance with no implications regarding gender identity.
Is a category of people who identify with each other, usually on the basis of presumed similarities such as common language, ancestry, history, society, culture, nation or social treatment within their residing area.Ethnicity is often used synonymously with the term nation, particularly in cases of ethnic nationalism, and is separate from but related to the concept of races.
Is used in social sciences and anthropology to describe the act of judging another culture and believing that the values and standards of one's own culture are superior – especially with regard to language, behavior, customs, and religion.
Historically used in the lesbian community, it is being increasingly used by other LGBTQIA people to describe gender expressions that reclaim and disrupt traditional constructs of femininity.
A sexual and affectional orientation toward people of the same gender.
A social construct used to classify individuals as men, women, or other identities that are fundamentally different from the sex they were assigned at birth.
An umbrella term used for individuals who broaden their own culture’s commonly held definitions of gender, including expectations for its expression, identities, roles, and/or other perceived gender norms. Gender expansive individuals include those who identify as transgender, as well as anyone else whose gender in some way is seen to be broadening the surrounding society’s notion of gender.
How an individual expresses themselves in terms of dress and/or behaviors. Society, and people that make up society characterize these expressions as “masculine,” “feminine,” or “androgynous.” Individuals may embody their gender in a multitude of ways and have terms beyond these to name their gender expression(s).
A person whose self-identification and presentation changes, being fluid between two or more genders.
An individual whose sense of self as trans, genderqueer, woman, man, or some other identity, which may or may not correspond with the sex and gender one is assigned at birth.
Genderism / Cissexism
The belief that there are, and should only be, two genders and that one’s gender or most aspects of it are tied to their sex assigned at birth. This belief is often tied to bias that manifests as microagressions or outright aggressions towards trans gender non-conforming people.
An individual who refuses to be defined by conventional definitions of male and female. (“Gender Outlaw” by Kate Bornstein)
Gender Non-Conforming (GNC)
Individuals that do not subscribe to societal expectations of typical gender expressions or roles.
An individual whose gender identity and/or gender expression falls outside of the dominant societal norm for their assigned sex. This identity may encompass two or more genders together or fall beyond current societal construct classifications.
A commonly used model to explain various aspects of one’s identity, including assigned sex at birth, gender identity, gender expression, physical attraction, and romantic attraction. The Gender Unicorn illustrates how, apart from assigned sex at birth, these different aspects of identity exist on spectrums. The Gender Unicorn is available at transstudent.org/gender
An individual who varies from the societal expectations of characteristics that reflect their assigned sex at birth.
The belief that heterosexuality, predicated on the gender binary, is the norm or default sexual orientation
The assumption that all people are or should be heterosexual. Heterosexism excludes the needs, concerns, and life experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer people while it gives advantages to heterosexual people. It is often a subtle form of oppression, which reinforces realities of silence and erasure.
A sexual orientation in which an individual feels physically and emotionally attracted to people of a gender other than their own.
An outdated term that inaccurately describes systems of oppression against sexual and romantic orientations that fall outside the bounds of heteronormativity and misclassifies them as irrational fears. This misclassification is disrespectful to people who truly experience phobias that impact their lives while also perpetuating ableism. See heterosexism for a modern definition.
Homosexual / Homosexuality
An outdated term to describe a sexual orientation in which a person feels physically and emotionally attracted to people of the same gender. Historically, it was a term used to pathologize gay and lesbian people.
An umbrella term to describe a wide range of natural body variations that do not fit neatly into conventional definitions of male or female. Intersex variations may include, but are not limited to, variations in chromosome compositions, hormone concentrations, and external and internal characteristics. Many visibly intersex people are mutilated in infancy and early childhood by doctors to make the individual’s sex characteristics conform to society’s idea of what normal bodies should look like. Intersex people are relatively common, although society's denial of their existence has allowed very little room for intersex issues to be discussed publicly. Hermaphrodite is an outdated and inaccurate term that has been used to describe intersex people in the past.
Latinx is a gender-neutral neologism, sometimes used instead of Latino or Latina to refer to people of Latin American cultural or ethnic identity in the United States. The ⟨-x⟩ suffix replaces the standard ⟨-o/-a⟩ ending of nouns and adjectives that are typical of grammatical gender in Spanish. Its plural is Latinxs.
Traditionally, a woman whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of the same gender; however, some nonbinary people also identify as lesbians, often because they have some connection to womanhood and are primarily attracted to women.
An initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual that is also inclusive for various other sexual orientations and gender identities.
The practice of confronting heterosexism, sexism, genderism, allosexism, and monosexism in oneself and others out of self-interest and a concern for the well being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual people. Is founded on the understanding that dismantling heterosexism, monosexism, trans oppression/trans misogyny/cissexism and allosexism is a social justice issue.
Masculine of Center (MOC)
A term coined by B. Cole of the Brown Boi Project to describe folks, including lesbian/queer womyn and trans folks, who lean towards the masculine side of the gender spectrum. These can include a wide range of identities such as butch, stud, aggressive/AG, dom, macha, tomboi, trans-masculine, etc.
Attributing a gender to someone that is incorrect/does not align with their gender identity whether via subconscious bias or conscious discrimination. Can occur when using pronouns, gendered language, or assigning genders to people without knowing how they identify.
The belief that monosexuality is superior to other forms of sexuality and the systematic oppression of non-monosexuals to support the privileges currently held by the monosexual majority in society.
An individual who has romantic, sexual, or affectional desire for only one sex or gender. Heterosexuality and homosexuality are the most well-known forms of monosexuality.
An inclusive term encompassing individuals who are attracted to more than one gender. It can include sexual attractions such as bisexual, polysexual, omnisexual, and others. Many multisexual individuals use multiple terms that fall under this umbrella interchangeably and for others the distinctions between them are important.
Indigenous peoples of North, Central, and South America and their descendants.
An individual that identifies as non-binary on the transgender or genderqueer spectra that is unique to themselves. The most common being: Neutral-Gender, Null-Gender, Neither male nor female, Genderless and/or Agender. (Neutrois.com)
Non Binary / Nonbinary / Non-Binary
A gender identity and experience that embraces a full universe of expressions and ways of being that resonate for an individual, moving beyond the male/female gender binary. It may be an active resistance to binary gender expectations and/or an intentional creation of new unbounded ideas of self within the world. For some people who identify as non binary there may be overlap with other concepts and identities like gender expansive and gender non-conforming.
Possessing all genders. The term is used specifically to refute the concept of only two genders.
Pansexual / Omnisexual
Terms used to describe people who have romantic, sexual or affectional desire for people of all genders and sexes. Has some overlap with bisexuality and polysexuality (not to be confused with polyamory)
People of Color
Primarily used in the United States to describe any person who is not considered white, including at various points in US history, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans and others. The term emphasizes common experiences of systemic racism.
The practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved. It has been described as "consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy". People who identify as polyamorous believe in an open relationship with a conscious management of jealousy; they reject the view that sexual and relational exclusivity are necessary for deep, committed, long-term loving relationships.
Polygender / Pangender
Exhibiting characteristics of multiple genders, deliberately refuting the concept of only two genders
People who have romantic, sexual, or affectional desire for more than one gender. Not to be confused with polyamory. Has some overlap with bisexuality and pansexuality.
Linguistic tools used to refer to someone in the third person. Examples are they/them/theirs, ze/hir/hirs, she/her/hers, he/him/his. In English and some other languages, pronouns have been tied to gender and are a common site of misgendering (attributing a gender to someone that is incorrect.)
One definition of queer is abnormal or strange. Historically, queer has been used as an epithet/slur against people whose gender, gender expression and/or sexuality do not conform to dominant expectations. Some people have reclaimed the word queer and self identify in opposition to assimilation (adapted from “Queering the Field”). For some, this reclamation is a celebration of not fitting into social norms. Not all people who identify as LGBTQIA+ use “queer” to describe themselves. The term is often considered hateful when used by those who do not identify as LGBTQIA+.
The process of exploring one’s own gender identity, gender expression, and/or sexual orientation. Some people may also use this term to name their identity within the LGBTQIA community.
Grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct by society. The term was first used to refer to speakers of a common language and then to denote national affiliations. By the 17th century the term began to refer to physical (phenotypical) traits. Modern scholarship regards race as a social construct, an identity which is assigned based on rules made by society. While partially based on physical similarities within groups, race does not have an inherent physical or biological meaning.
Systemic separation of people into racial or other ethnic groups in daily life. Segregation can involve spatial separation of the races, and mandatory use of different institutions, such as schools and hospitals by people of different races. Specifically, it may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, riding on a bus, or in the rental or purchase of a home or of hotel rooms. In addition, segregation often allowed close contact in hierarchical situations, such as allowing a person of one race to work as a servant for a member of another race.
The belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to physical appearance and can be divided based on the superiority of one race over another. It may also mean prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against other people because they are of a different race or ethnicity. Modern variants of racism are often based in social perceptions of biological differences between peoples. These views can take the form of social actions, practices or beliefs, or political systems in which different races are ranked as inherently superior or inferior to each other, based on presumed shared inheritable traits, abilities, or qualities.
The concept that affirmative action and similar color-conscious programs for redressing racial inequality are a form of anti-white racism. The concept is often associated with conservative social movements and the belief that social and economic gains by black people in the U.S. and elsewhere cause disadvantages for white people.
An acronym that stands for Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression.
A more inclusive term than transgender for gender non-conforming and non-binary individuals.
A man who was assigned female at birth. The label of transgender man is not always interchangeable with that of transsexual man, although the two labels are often used in this way.
A woman who was assigned male at birth. Trans women may experience gender dysphoria and may transition; this process commonly includes hormone replacement therapy and sometimes sex reassignment surgery, which can bring relief and resolve feelings of gender dysphoria. Trans women may be heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, asexual, or identify with other terms (such as queer).
An adjective used most often as an umbrella term and frequently abbreviated to “trans.” Identifying as transgender, or trans, means that one’s internal sense of gender is different from conventional or cultural expectations based on the sex that person was assigned at birth. While transgender may refer to a woman who was assigned male at birth or a man who was assigned female at birth, transgender is an umbrella term that can also describe someone who identifies as a gender other than woman or man, such as non binary, genderqueer, genderfluid, no gender or multiple genders, or some other gender identity.
Transitioning is the process of taking steps to live as one’s true gender identity. Transitioning is different for each individual and may or may not involve medical interventions like taking hormones or having surgery. Some people may not choose to transition in certain ways for a variety of reasons. The extent of someone’s transition does not make that person’s gender identity any less or more valid.
Transitioning may include socially transitioning, such as going by certain pronouns or going by the Lived Name that affirms one’s gender identity. Transitioning may involve making changes to one’s physical appearance, such as wearing certain clothing, wearing one’s hair in a different style or length, or more complex changes such as medically transitioning through hormones or surgery. Transitioning can also involve changing legal documents to match one’s authentic sense of self.
An outdated term that incorrectly classifies oppression against non-cis persons as an irrational fear.
An umbrella term encompassing sexuality and gender in Indigenous Native American communities. Two Spirit people often serve integral and important roles in their communities, such as leaders and healers. It may refer to an embodiment of masculinity and femininity but this is not the only significance of the term. There are a variety of definitions and feelings about the term two spirit – and this term does not resonate for everyone. Two Spirit is a cultural term reserved for those who identify as Indigenous Native American. Although the term itself became more commonly used around 1990, two spirit people have existed for centuries.
Some lesbians, particularly butch dykes, also participate in Bear culture referring to themselves with the distinct label Ursula.
Some womxn spell the word with an “x” as a form of empowerment to move away from the “men” in the “traditional” spelling of women.