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LGBTQ Vocabulary

Language is constantly changing, and these definitions are not by any means comprehensive. They do, however, help provide a common language and basic understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) terms for further dialogue and exploration.

  • Ally – Any heterosexual person who opposes heterosexism and homophobia and actively supports LGBTQ individuals and causes.
  • Bisexual – A person with significant romantic, emotional, physical and sexual attractions to members of both sexes.
  • Coming Out – Coming to terms with one’s sexual or gender identity. It may also mean stating openly that one is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, or may also refer to a heterosexual person coming to terms with their sexual orientation and/or identity as an ally.
  • FTM – Stands for “female-to-male,” and indicates a transgender individual born as a female but who has claimed a male identity through clothing, surgery or attitude changes.
  • Gay – A male whose primary romantic, emotional, physical and sexual attractions are to other males. This term may also apply to lesbians, bisexuals and occasionally used as an umbrella term for all LGBTQ people.
  • Gender Identity – How one thinks of one’s own gender. This conviction is not entirely contingent upon the individual’s biological gender/sex.
  • Genderqueer – A rejection of the gender binary (male/female) in favor of a more fluid and non-traditional identity.
  • Heterosexual – A person who is emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted or committed to members of the opposite sex.
  • Homophobia – A dislike, hatred of, or discomfort with gay, lesbian, and/or bisexual people.
  • Homosexual – An older term for an individual attracted both physically and emotionally to people of their same sex or gender.
  • Lesbian – Women who are attracted physically and/or emotionally to other women.
  • Transgender – Used both as an umbrella term and as an identity, transgender refers to those who don’t identify or are uncomfortable with their assigned gender and gender roles. As an identity, the term refers to anyone who transgresses traditional sex and gender categories.