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Glossary of LGBTQ terms

Posted: April 29, 2013 - 12:03am

Ally

A person who supports and honors sexual diversity, acts accordingly to challenge homophobic and heterosexist remarks and behaviors, and is willing to explore and understand these forms of bias within him or herself.

Bisexual

A person (male or female) who has significant sexual and or romantic attractions to both males and females or someone who identifies as a member of this community.

Closet

Used as slang for the state of not publicizing one’s sexual identity, keeping it private, living an outwardly heterosexual life while identifying as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender, or not being forthcoming about one’s identity. At times, being in the closet also means not wanting to admit one’s sexual identity to oneself.

Coming out

To disclose one’s own sexual identity or gender identity. It can mean telling others or it can refer to the time when a person comes out to him/herself by discovering or admitting that their sexual or gender identity is not what was previously assumed. Some people think of coming out as a larger system of oppression of LGBT people — that an LGBT person needs to come out at all shows that everyone is presumed heterosexual until demonstrated otherwise. But this word need not apply only to the LGBT community. In some situations, a heterosexual may feel the need to come out about their identity as well.

Gay

A man who has significant sexual and or romantic attractions to other men, or who identifies as a member of the gay community. At times, “gay” is used to refer to all people, regardless of sex, who have their primary sexual and or romantic attractions to people of the same sex. Lesbians and bisexuals may feel excluded by this word.

Heterosexual

A person (male or female) who has significant sexual and or romantic attractions to primarily members of the other sex.

Homophobia

The fear and hatred of or the discomfort with people who love and sexually desire members of the same sex. Homophobic reactions often lead to intolerance, bigotry, and violence against anyone not acting within heterosexual norms. Because most LGBT people are raised in the same society as heterosexuals, they learn the same beliefs and stereotypes prevalent in the dominant society, leading to a phenomenon known as “internalized homophobia.”

Homosexual

The formal or clinical term that was coined in the field of psychology, sometimes meaning only “gay male,” but at times encompasses lesbians and occasionally bisexuals. The word is often associated with the proposition that same sex attractions are a mental disorder, and is therefore distasteful to some people.

LGBT

An acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. At times, a Q will be added for ‘Queer’ and/or ‘Questioning’, an A for ‘Ally’, and/or a TS for ‘Two Spirit’.

Lesbian

A woman who has significant sexual and or romantic attractions to other women, or who identifies as a member of the lesbian community. Bisexual women may not feel included by this term.

Queer

Originally a derogatory slur, it has recently been reclaimed by some to be an inclusive word for all of those within the sexual minority community. Because of the original derogatory nature of the word, it is not necessarily accepted by all.

Transgender

An umbrella term for those individuals whose gender identity does not match with that assigned for their physical sex. Includes transsexuals, both operative and non-operative, bigendered people, intersexed and transgenderists.

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