Below is a glossary of terms that might be helpful. As language is always evolving, and English is a very dynamic language, new terminology arises every day to describe new realities or to describe realities that were never named before, even though they had existed for millennia. This glossary will continue to be dynamic. We will add or subtract as needed. You will find links to more sources with expanded definitions at the bottom of the page.
Ally | A person who is not LGBTQ but shows support for LGBTQ people and promotes equality in a variety of ways.
Androgynous | Identifying and/or presenting as neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine.
Asexual | The lack of a sexual attraction or desire for other people.
Ableism - The pervasive system of discrimination and exclusion that oppresses people who are differently abled, including differences in mental, cognititive, emotional, and/or physical abilities, through attitudes, actions, or institutional policies.
Accessibility - when a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally integrated and equally effective manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. (Office of Civil Rights)
Accessibility means that people can do what they need to do in a similar amount of time and effort as someone that does not have a disability. It means that people are empowered, can be independent, and will not be frustrated by something that is poorly designed or implemented.
Biphobia | Prejudice, fear or hatred directed toward bisexual people.
Bisexual | A person emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to more than one sex, gender or gender identity though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way or to the same degree.
BIPOC | Black, Indigenous, People of Color.
Cisgender | A term used to describe a person whose gender identity aligns with those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth.
Coming out | The process in which a person first acknowledges, accepts and appreciates their sexual orientation or gender identity and begins to share that with others.
Discrimination - Inequitable actions carried out by members of a dominant group or its representatives against members of a marginalized or minoritized group.
Ethnicity - A social construct that divides people into smaller social groups based on characteristics such as shared sense of group membership, values, behavioral patterns, language, political and economic interests, history and ancestral geographical base.
Femme: 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.
Gay | A person who is emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to members of the same gender.
Gender Affirming Treatment/Care | Treatments, procedures, and medical interventions that some transgender people pursue in order to align physical characteristics with their gender identity. These may include hormone therapy, gender affirming surgeries, facial hair removal, voice modification, chest binding, etc.
Gender dysphoria | Clinically significant distress caused when a person's assigned birth gender is not the same as the one with which they identify. According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the term - which replaces Gender Identity Disorder - "is intended to better characterize the experiences of affected children, adolescents, and adults."
Gender-expansive | Conveys a wider, more flexible range of gender identity and/or expression than typically associated with the binary gender system.
Gender expression | External appearance of one's gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.
Gender-fluid | According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a person who does not identify with a single fixed gender; of or relating to a person having or expressing a fluid or unfixed gender identity.
Gender identity | One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One's gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.
Gender non-conforming | A broad term referring to people who do not behave in a way that conforms to the traditional expectations of their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category.
Genderqueer | Genderqueer people typically reject notions of static categories of gender and embrace a fluidity of gender identity and often, though not always, sexual orientation. People who identify as "genderqueer" may see themselves as being both male and female, neither male nor female or as falling completely outside these categories.
Heterosexual | A person who is exclusively attracted to people of the opposite sex or gender.
Homophobia | The fear and hatred of or discomfort with people who are attracted to members of the same sex.
Intersectionality | The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.
Intersex | An umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural bodily variations. In some cases, these traits are visible at birth, and in others, they are not apparent until puberty. Some chromosomal variations of this type may not be physically apparent at all.
Individual racism | Refers to the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism in conscious and unconscious ways. The U.S. cultural narrative about racism typically focuses on individual racism and fails to recognize systemic racism.
Interpersonal racism | Occurs between individuals. These are public expressions of racism, often involving slurs, biases, or hateful words or actions.
Institutional racism | Occurs in an organization. These are discriminatory treatments, unfair policies, or biased practices based on race that result in inequitable outcomes for whites over people of color and extend considerably beyond prejudice. These institutional policies often never mention any racial group, but the intent is to create advantages.
Lesbian | A woman who is emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to other women.
LGBTQ | An acronym for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.”
Living openly | A state in which LGBTQ people are comfortably out about their sexual orientation or gender identity – where and when it feels appropriate to them.
Misogyny | Dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women or girls.
Microaggressions | Brief and subtle behaviors, whether intentional or not, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages of commonly oppressed identities. These actions cause harm through the invalidation of the target person’s identity and may reinforce stereotypes.
Non-binary | An adjective describing a person who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary people may identify as being both a man and a woman, somewhere in between, or as falling completely outside these categories. While many also identify as transgender, not all non-binary people do.
Outing | Exposing someone’s lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender identity to others without their permission. Outing someone can have serious repercussions on employment, economic stability, personal safety or religious or family situations.
Oppression | When a single group in society unjustly takes advantage of, and exercises power over, another group using dominance and subordination. This results in the socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group of individuals by those with relative power.
Internalized oppression | When oppressed persons believe the lies that the oppressors tell them about their status as inferior
Pansexual | Describes someone who has the potential for emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to people of any gender though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way or to the same degree.
People of Color (POC) | A broad term for individuals who belong to a racial or ethic group that has been marginalized. It is recommended that when speaking of or about a specific group of marginalized group within communities of color, the name of the group be used.
Queer | A term people often use to express fluid identities and orientations. Often used interchangeably with "LGBTQ."
Questioning | A term used to describe people who are in the process of exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity.
QTPOC/QTWOC | An abbreviation for Queer & Trans People of Color and Queer & Trans Women of Color. These terms are rooted in the concept of intersectionality—which focuses on the intersections and interactions between various forms & systems of oppression, including: Racism, Classism, Heterosexism, Patriarchy, Religious Oppression, etc. A QTPOC framework attunes itself to the lives, challenges, and needs of people who experience these compounded and/or interlocking oppressions.
Race | A social construct wherefore a group of humans are grouped based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct by society.
Racism | Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.
Same-gender loving | A term some prefer to use instead of lesbian, gay or bisexual to express attraction to and love of people of the same gender.
Sex assigned at birth | The sex (male or female) given to a child at birth, most often based on the child's external anatomy. This is also referred to as "assigned sex at birth."
Sexual orientation | An inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people.
Structural racism | The overarching system of racial bias across institutions and society. These systems give privileges to white people resulting in disadvantages to people of color.
Stereotype | A generalization applied to every person in a cultural group; a fixed conception of a group without allowing for individuality. When we believe our stereotypes, we tend to ignore characteristics that don’t conform to our stereotype, rationalize what we see to fit our stereotype, see those who do not conform as “exceptions,” and find ways to create the expected characteristics.
Transgender | An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation. Therefore, transgender people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc.
Transphobia | The fear and hatred of, or discomfort with, transgender people.
Two Spirit | A modern, pan-indigenous, umbrella term used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe Native people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender (or other gender-variant) ceremonial and social role in their cultures.
White supremacy | The belief that white people are superior to those of all other races, especially the black race, and should therefore dominate society.
Xenophobia | Dislike of, prejudice against, or unfounded fear of people from countries other than yours.
Ze / Zir | Alternate pronouns that are gender neutral and preferred by some trans* people. They replace “he” and “she” and “his” and “hers” respectively. Alternatively some people who are not comfortable/do not embrace he/she use the plural pronoun “they/their” as a gender neutral singular pronoun.