That which assumes heterosexuality and its attendant practices— monogamy, reproductive sex —as the structuring standard, or norm; of or related to a straight-centric ideology. Heteronormativity aligns with society’s gender-based expectations, marginalizes other sexual practices, and stigmatizes queer people.
The assumption that all people are straight and that those who are not are “outside” and thus “less.” Heterosexism discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer people, as well as against those whose desires and beliefs fall outside heteronormativity: for example, the woman who does not desire children.
A person who is sexually and romantically attracted to members of what is considered “the opposite gender” within a heteronormative framework.
Fear of LGBTQ+ people. Homophobia often manifests in discriminatory attitudes and actions against behaviors, appearances and situations that are considered outside the hetero norm.
A person who is sexually and romantically attracted to members of their own gender. The term homosexual is increasingly being replaced with gay, lesbian, or queer.
hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Physician-monitored administration of “sex” hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone as medical treatment for physical dysphoria felt by GNC, trans, non-binary, and other queer people, as well as many other individuals within and without the LGBTQ+ community for birth control, as treatment for menopause, growth delays, etc.
A general term referring to individuals born with the biological, cis-specific male and female attributes of two sexes. Historically, and to this day, intersex people experienced non-consensual HRT and genital mutilation as babies, and throughout their lives, at the hands of their families and medical professionals. This umbrella term has replaced the dated and derogatory hermaphrodite.
A woman-identified person who is physically and romantically attracted to other women-identified people. The term’s roots are in the name of the Greek island of Lesbos, home to the poet Sappho, who herself was a lover of women.
Acronym standing for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer.” The + refers the a vast number of other identities, such as I for intersex, A for asexual, Q for questioning, etc. living openly/being out Living comfortably and freely in the world as an LQBTQ+ person. The phrase is generally associated with those who are vocal about their orientation, as the conditions suit them (see coming out).
Attributing to a person the incorrect gender. This may take the form of an incorrect pronoun, gendered language, or the assigning of gender to someone without knowledge of how they identify.
Pronounced variously “Məks,” “Miks,” and “Em-eks,” this primarily written gender-neutral honorofic has evolved to take the place of the gendered Miss, Ms., Mrs., and Mr.
A person whose gender exists outside of the gender binary. It is important to remember that not all nonbinary people identify as trans, and that not all trans people identify as nonbinary. Some nonbinary people identify as genderqueer or gender nonconforming. orientation A person’s sexual identity or attraction, which may be fluid or not.
The act of non-consensually revealing a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status, or membership in the LGBTQ+ community without that person’s knowledge and/ or against that person’s wishes. Whether done maliciously or out of ignorance, outing can result in dire emotional, financial and physical consequences for the person being outed.
Attracted to people of multiple gender identities and expressions.
Assumed to be straight and/ or cis-gender in general society, based on physical traits, dress, mannerisms, and so on. Passing may be done intentionally or not.
A word standing in for a noun or noun phrase. In English, third-person pronouns referring to people have long been typically gendered (he/she, him/ her). In recent years, a plethora of new gender-neutral pronouns has arrived (for example, ze/zir and variants thereof ), with they/them being perhaps the most prevalent and reflecting the adoption of the plural as standing in for the singular where binary gender need not be or should not be expressed.
A broad term describing those whodon’t identify as straight and/or cisgender. Historically used as a slur, the word was reclaimed by LGBTQ+ community in the late 1980s as embodying a radical and anti-assimilationist stance. Though today it is commonly employed as a positive term, the word is still used in a pejorative way by some.
Exploring one’s gender expression or sexual identity. same-gender-loving This positive term arose in the African American community in the early 1990s as a non-Eurocentric term standing in for, variously, gay, lesbian, and the now-dated homosexual.
sex (sex assigned at birth; biological sex)
A medical categorization based on a person’s chromosomal and hormonal makeup and anatomical appearance (i.e., genitalia) at birth, which has no correlation with or relationship to gender. Also referred to as anatomical sex or physical sex.
The desire for physical sexual intimacy (for example, touching, kissing, intercourse), typically with others but also with oneself. Not to be confused or conflated with emotional, spiritual, or romantic attraction.
A person’s physical, emotional, and romantic attraction to members of the same and/or opposite sex. Though sexual orientation is considered inherent and thus immutable, it can also be fluid. Sexual orientation is not necessarily revealed in behavior but in feelings of attraction. One does not need to have any sexual experience to have a sexual orientation. (See also orientation.)
Refers to one’s choice of partner and to one’s partiality to particular types of sexual stimulation. Often incorrectly used in place of sexual orientation, this term implies conscious decision.
sex reassignment surgery (SRS)
Antiquated and offensive. See entry under gender affirming surgery
An umbrella term that covers a variety of genderfluid, non-binary and genderqueer identities
A term that describes one whose gender or gender identity is in opposition to that which they were assigned at birth.
The process of moving away from a socially-prescribed gender presentation based on the sex a person was assigned at birth, aligning one’s gender expression with one’s gender identity. This may involve changing one’s name, pronouns, manner of dress, as well as accessing HRT, gender affirming surgery, or none of the above.
Fear or hatred of trans people. Transphobia occurs within the queer community as well as within the straight community, and is frequently characterized by a refusal to accept trans people’s gender identity.
A largely outdated, and sometimes pejorative, term referring to those individuals whose gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender or trans are often preferred.
A term coined in the 1990s among North American Native communities as an English phrase representing different “third gender” roles, which have specific social and ceremonial significance among Native tribes. The term is specific to Native culture and should not be used interchangeably with other terms to describe members of the LGBTQ+ community at large.