The most extensive glossary of LGBTQAIP2+ terminology you need to know
In the last part of our extensive LGBTQIAP2+ glossary, we have explained some of the fundamental terminology related to gender and sexuality that is useful to understand beforehand. If you missed part I, you can read it here.
We believe that learning about gender and sexuality is essential for everybody, regardless of your gender identity or sexual orientation. Unfortunately, a lot of violence is rooted in hatred and fear. This fear stems from a lack of understanding and experience, opening up the narrative more will hopefully be the first step towards a society with more inclusiveness and acceptance. If you feel you can help someone understand themselves or someone else better through this list, please send it to them.
Relates to a person who is male assigned at birth, but whose gender identity and gender expression is (now) female.
Describes a person who considers their gender identity as masculine or butch. This person doesn't necessarily identify as a man as well.
Describes an individual who has a gender expression that is characterized as masculine. It relates to the external representation.
A gender identity that falls under the nonbinary umbrella and is defined by the presence of the feeling of gender. Yet this feeling of gender is unrelated to masculinity, femininity, or neutrality. This identity stands in comparison to the absence or apathy of a feeling of gender, such as neutrois.
By combining the terms metropolitan and heterosexual, metrosexual describes a heterosexual man who puts a lot of attention into his physical appearance to look styled and groomed. Some consider David Beckham to be an icon of metrosexuality.
Acronym for "men loving men."
A dyadic relationship structure in which the individual has only one partner during a lifetime or at any given moment in time (serial monogamy). This relationship structure is in comparison to non-monogamic relationship forms such as polygamy or polyamory.
An umbrella term for sexual orientations in which a person experiences sexual attraction to only one gender. In that sense, both heterosexuality and homosexuality are monosexual orientations. In comparison, polysexuality means a sexual attraction towards two or more genders. Both bisexuality and pansexuality fall under this term. Monosexuality is often only used in academia in contrast to these terms.
Acronym for "men who have sex with men."
An umbrella term that describes individuals that have more than one gender identity. This can either at the same time or moving between different genders over time. The term can be used as a stand-alone gender identity or in combination with identities that fall under the nonbinary and transgender umbrella, including; bigender, trigender, polygender, transgender, maverique, and androgyne.
A gender-neutral alternative to Mr/Mrs/Miss.
A nonbinary gender identity that is neutral or even genderless. It's very similar to agender, and people regularly use the two terms together. However, the difference lies in that neutrois people experience dysphoria and often wish to transition by surgically removing specific sex characteristics.
An umbrella term for gender identities that fall outside of the binary gender system of man and woman. These include, but are not limited to, agender, androgynous, intergender, genderfluid, bigender, multi-gender, or genderqueer. Additionally, some transgender people and transsexuals may also identify as nonbinary.
Some people wish to express themselves (relatively) gender-neutral, while others want to express masculinity, femininity, or a (fluid) mix of both. The same goes for the desired pronouns they wish to use. In any case, it's always best to just ask the person in question and respect their wishes.
A sexual orientation in which a person is unable to identify their sexuality is and/or is continuously the orientation of their attraction. It differs from questioning, which is usually a phase during which a person tries to work out their sexuality.
A sexual orientation in which a person experiences sexual attraction towards all genders. It's very similar to pansexuality; however, pansexuals often describe themselves as "genderblind," whereas omnisexuals do recognize gender, but simply don't care about it.
The act of disclosing a person's sexual orientation or gender identity without their consent. People do this for various reasons, but they often target public figures to damage their image.
The act of creating a bulge in one's pants using a "packer" to emulate the look (and sometimes feel) of a penis. Packers come in various forms, shapes, and sizes depending on the desired function(s). Read more about packing in our article here.
A nonbinary, multi-gender identity in which a person can experience an infinite amount of gender identities. It can even extend the scope of all the currently known genders and can be either simultaneously or over time.
A romantic orientation in which a person experiences romantic attraction towards all possible genders. It's unrelated to sexual attraction. For example, a person could be panromantic and asexual at the same time. Meaning they can potentially feel romantically attracted to any gender, but wouldn't feel sexual attraction towards anybody.
A sexual orientation in which a person experiences sexual attraction towards all possible genders. These people often consider themselves to be "genderblind" and instead attracted to the person rather than gender.
A person's ability to have others perceive their gender in a way that matches their gender identity. Additionally, it can mean not to be recognized as transgender. Many in the transgender community consider this to be a privilege because if you pass, you will be confronted with less struggle and harassment that often comes due to transphobia.
The desire, state, or practice of being in more than one open romantic and/or sexual relationship at a time. Polyamory is a form of consensual non-monogamy in which all the parties involved agree to the constellation of the relationship. There are many misconceptions surrounding polyamory, including the idea that polyamorous people have commitment issues. Polyamorous people feel like having sex (with many people) all the time. Or that cheating isn't possible in a polyamorous relationship. Each polyamorous (or any relationship for that matter) is unique and has its own set of agreements. When someone violates an agreement, it ultimately is cheating — breaking the rules.
A nonbinary and multi-gender identity in which a person can experience multiple genders. The various genders can be experienced simultaneously or separately over time. It differs from pangender in that it keeps itself within the bounds of the known genders. Polygender people can experience dysphoria.
A sexual orientation in which a person experiences sexual attraction towards more than one gender. Some polysexual people could be sexually attracted to only two genders, but don't wish to identify as bisexual because this implies only two genders exist. Additionally, not all polysexual are pansexual as they might be attracted to multiple genders but not all genders, as is the case with pansexuality.
The state in which a transgender or nonbinary person has not (yet) undergone gender-affirming surgery.
The state in which a transgender or nonbinary person has successfully undergone gender-affirming surgery.
An advantage a person has due to being part of a particular social group. Examples include white privilege and straight privilege.
Acronym for "queer person of color," or "queer, trans person of color.”
An umbrella term for sexual orientations or gender identities that are not cisgender or heterosexual. Queer is probably the most misunderstood word in the LGBT terminology and has a lot of controversy around it.
The term was introduced in the English language around the 1600s and meant 'strange' or 'peculiar.' Later in 1894, John Douglas used the word "snob queer" to describe "gay men" in the court case against the lover of his son — the iconic playwright Oscar Wilde. After, the term was used to point out that homosexuality was strange and abnormal.
During the Aids epidemic, the gay community reclaimed the term as a symbol of anarchy and rebellion. And when Queer Nation was formed to eradicate hate crime, the word transformed into a linguistic statement against homophobia. Eventually, it turned into the umbrella term described above that is gaining popularity within the younger generations. Because it still holds the negative connotations from the past, we have to accept it as offensive for some.
A field of gender studies developed in the 1990s, to deconstruct gender and sexuality. It's in opposition to gender essentialism and builds upon gay and lesbian and feminist studies. Queer theorists consider gender and sexuality to be a social construct that is fluid and plural instead of biological, fixed, and unchangeable. Find out more about queer theory.
Related to questioning one's sexual orientation, gender identity, or other aspects of one's gender or sexuality. Questioning is usually a phase during which someone is still exploring and unable to label their sexual identity.
Same-gender loving (SGL)
A term often used by the black community to describe same-sex attractions because homosexual, gay, and lesbian often carry negative connotations. The term was coined in the early 1990s by Cleo Manago, a famous advocate for the black queer community.
A sexual orientation in which a person experiences (more) sexual attraction towards intelligent people. In that sense, people who are sapiosexual are more interested in people's minds than their bodies. This sexuality doesn't focus on gender and can be added on top of a sexual orientation that does.
A woman or a woman-aligned person who is romantically and/or sexually attracted to other women or woman-aligned people. This label unifies all women who love other women, including lesbians, bisexuals, and pansexuals. Another term is WLW, women loving women.
Sex assigned at birth
The sex a midwife, physician, or nurse assigned to a person at the time of birth based on their external sex characteristics. In most cases, the sex assigned at birth aligns with the gender identity a person later develops, but in some cases, there is a mismatch, and a person turns out to be transgender. Additionally, when there are visual ambiguities, nonconsensual surgical, and/or hormonal interventions are done. Luckily, these interventions are coming more to light as they are being considered to violate human rights.
A sexual orientation that is fluid and can change over time, depending on the situation. This sexual orientation is not the same as pansexuality or polysexuality, because a person could move around the spectrum from being asexual at one point, heterosexual in another and pansexual in the next.
An emotional response evoked in sexual people when they find someone sexually appealing. The attraction can be experienced towards various people, but it usually defines which genders and people someone is attracted to. We can distinguish primary sexual attraction, which is caused by the physical qualities of a person, and secondary sexual attraction, which develops based on an emotional connection with the person.
The conscious choice of a person with whom they prefer to engage in sexual activities. Sexual preference often confused with sexual orientation. However, the word preference implies there is a choice, which is not the case with inherent orientation. Often someone's sexual preferences align with their sexual orientation, but a person could also decide to go against it or to have a preference over a specific type of person. If you don’t know your sexual orientation, there are some tests online.
A sexual orientation in which a person experiences sexual attraction exclusively towards people who define as nonbinary. This label is controversial because "skolio" means "broken" in Latin, and therefore people have started to use ceterosexual instead. Usually, ceterosexuality is used by nonbinary people to define their attraction towards other nonbinary people.
The emotional and psychological distress a person experiences in social situations due to the mismatch between their sex assigned at birth and their gender identity. It can be caused by misgendering or assumptions based on gender roles.
An intense emotional attraction towards a particular person. A platonic version of a crush.
An LGBT+ slang word for heterosexual. The term is now commonly used in everyday language but originally comes from the phrase "going straight," which meant to stop engaging in homosexual activities.
Portraying queer fictional characters as being heterosexual sexual, making someone appear (more) heterosexual or changing the narrative of historical figures to fit with heteronormativity. Most notable examples are in works of fiction and especially cinema and television. A good example is the straight washing of the comic book character Mystique from the X-men series, who in the comic books is bisexual, and her most significant relationship is with a woman. However, in the films, nothing of this narrative is shown or mentioned. Find out about more straight washing examples.
Refers to a transgender (or nonbinary person) who is perceived as the gender they identify with. Stealth is similar to passing. However, some claim that stealth refers to a person that has cut off all ties with people that know them pre-transitioning. A person who is stealth is likely to experience less discrimination and better opportunities.
Also called Stonewall Uprisings were spontaneous demonstrations by the LGBT community in response to a police raid that started on the day of 28th of June 1963 at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. The demonstrations turned into riots when people fought back as the police became violent. The Stonewall Riots are seen as one of the most significant moments in the gay liberation movement.
An Afrocentric term used to describe a black masculine-presenting woman. It's coined by the black lesbian community to separate from butch.
Acronym for "Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist." These are feminists that consider transwomen not to be women in reality and wish to upload the movement by defining what "true" womanhood means.
Gender-neutral pronouns to refer to people who don't identify with the gender binary. Therefore, they wish not to use she/her/hers or he/him/his but the singular "they" instead.
A gender identity of a person who identifies with a gender that is neither man or woman. This identification can also happen involuntarily by others. It's often a social category in societies that officially recognizes three or more genders, as in the case with Native Hawaiians, Tahitians, Americans, and the hijras of South Asia. These concepts are often difficult to comprehend for Western people
Reconstructive surgery to remove (or reduce) the female breast tissue to create a flat chest. This type of surgery is most frequently done by female-to-male transgender people as part of their transition to reduce dysphoria and help with accurate gender expression. On the other hand, it can mean reconstructive surgery to augment the male breast to increase them in size. Most frequently done by male-to-female transgender people. However, both operations can also be desired by gender non-binary people to help with their specific gender expression.
An offensive slang term to refer to a transgender, transexual, or transvestite. Since 2017, it's considered hate speech by various media guide books.
A term to describe transgender people who are male assigned at birth but identify with femininity, including transgender people who don't necessarily identify with as a woman. However, transwomen could also identify with this concept. The opposite of transfeminine is transmasculine.
A gender identity of people whose gender identities are different or the opposite of their biological sex and, therefore, usually also their gender assigned at birth. This experience can cause (gender)dysphoria, which is the mental and emotional stress caused by this mismatch. It can have disastrous effects on mental health and can lead to depression and even suicide. Luckily, it has become more accessible for people to transition, so their physical appearance and body match their gender identity (more closely).
A process of changing one's (external) gender expression and sex characteristics to (more closely) match the (internal) gender identity.
Another word for a transgender person who was female assigned at birth and has transitioned into a man.
A term to describe transgender people who are female assigned at birth who identify with masculinity. The term includes transgender people who don't necessarily identify with being a man, but trans men could also identify with this concept. The opposite of transmasculine is transfeminine.
A hatred, fear, or intolerance of transgender and gender non-binary people.
A gender identity in which a person experiences that their biological sex is the opposite of what it should be. In that sense, transsexual is a subset of the broader transgender term, which can have varying definitions depending on the person in question. Transsexuals, therefore, nearly always undergo reconstructive surgery.
A person who dresses in a way that is commonly associated with the opposite gender. In some cultures, transvestism, also known as cross-dressing, is practiced for religious or ceremonial motives. The term is often wrongfully interchanged with transsexual or transgender.
Another word for a transgender person who is male assigned at birth and has transitioned into a woman. Transsexual is a subset of transgender, and some transsexuals reject the transgender label.
A gender identity of a person who identifies as having three genders. Usually, as a man, woman, and non-binary gender. It can be simultaneously or various at each point in time.
The act of hiding the penis and testes between the buttocks to make the crotch look fat. The reasons for tucking vary from purely aesthetic such as cosplay or drag, or to express a gender identity more accurately or decrease dysphoria (usually transwomen or nonbinary people). The opposite of tucking is packing. Find out more about tucking here.
A modern umbrella term developed and used by several indigenous American communities to describe gender-variant people. Many indigenous American cultures are fundamentally multi-gendered, but Europeans have tried to eradicate the culture and force it into a Western binary gender system. Today, the culture is slowly resurfacing.
Refers to something that is not specified to any sex or is suitable for any sex. Related terms include gender blindness or gender neutrality. Unisex was coined in the 1960s as an adjective to specify suitability for both genders— for example, unisex bathrooms or unisex clothing.
Refers to a person whose sexual orientation and romantic orientation don't match. For example, someone who is aromantic yet pansexual or someone who is heteroromantic and homosexual. The opposite is perioriented.
A sexual orientation in which a person (almost) exclusively desires interaction with sex toys instead of engaging in sexual acts with another person. Closely related to autosexuality.
Acronym for "women who love women.”
Acronym for "women who have sex with women."
An alternative form for "woman." The word "woman" is considered misogynistic by some feminists because it includes the word "man." Additionally, womxn includes transgender women and non-white women.
An extreme hatred and fear for strangers, foreigners, or something or someone foreign or strange. Racism and homophobia often overlap with xenophobia.
Gender-neutral pronouns to refer to people who don't identify with the gender binary. Variations on these pronouns include zyrself and zirself. To know if you should use these pronouns, it's always best to ask someone. Some people have started to use pronoun pins to help and educate people.
See part I