LGBTQ+ Glossary: 69+ LGBTQ terms explained

Let’s be honest: sexuality and gender are complex topics. 

Even as the world becomes increasingly accepting of LGBTQ+ folks, many of us still get confused over terms and concepts that relate to the LGBTQ+ community. Censorship in sex education and mainstream media (hello from Singapore) makes this problem even worse, as large swathes of the population get no exposure to such topics. 

But fret not, for we’re here to help. 

We’ve done the research, and compiled this huge list of LGBTQ-related words and concepts to help answer the most common questions you might have about sexuality and gender. You can click on each topic to quickly scroll to the relevant section! 

Here we go: 

  1. Allosexism
  2. Allosexual
  3. Ally
  4. Androgynous
  5. Asexual
  6. Asexual-ish
  7. Bigender
  8. Biphobia
  9. Bisexual
  10. Butch
  11. Cisgender
  12. Cishet
  13. Cissexism
  14. Closeted
  15. Coming out
  16. Crossdresser
  17. Demisexual
  18. Discrimination
  19. Drag
  20. Drag king
  21. Drag queen
  22. Feminine
  23. Gay
  24. Gender expression
  25. Gender identity
  26. Gender neutral
  27. Gender nonconforming
  28. Gender identity vs Sex
  29. Gender neutral pronouns
  30. Genderfluid
  31. Grey asexuality
  32. He / him / his
  33. Heteronormativity
  34. Heterosexism
  35. Heterosexual
  36. Homophobia
  37. Intersex
  38. Lesbian
  39. LGBT
  40. LGBTQ+
  41. Masculine
  42. Microaggression
  43. Misgendering
  44. Monosexism
  45. Monosexual
  46. Mx.
  47. Ne / Nim / Nir
  48. Pansexual
  49. Preferred pronoun
  50. Privilege
  51. Pronoun
  52. Romantic, emotional, and sexual attraction
  53. Queer
  54. Questioning
  55. Sex
  56. Sex reassignment surgery
  57. Sexism
  58. Sexual orientation
  59. Sexual orientation vs. Gender identity vs. Gender expression
  60. Sexual-ish
  61. She / Her / Hers
  62. Straight
  63. They / Them / Theirs
  64. Trans man
  65. Trans woman
  66. Transgender
  67. Transition
  68. Transphobia
  69. Ve / Vem / Vir
  70. Xe / Xem / Xyrs
  71. Zie / Hir

Allosexism

Allosexism is a term that describes a prejudice, hatred, or hostility towards asexual people. An allosexist is usually physically, verbally or emotionally violent against asexual people, or excludes them from representation.

This term is not known to many people, mainly because asexuals and asexuality have often been under-represented in mainstream media, pop culture, and sex education around the world. 

Related terms: Allosexual, Asexual, Asexual-ish, Demisexual, Grey asexualitySemisexual 

Allosexual

An allosexual is a person who isn't asexual.

This term, similar to most terms relating to asexuality, is not known to many people, mainly because asexuals and asexuality have often been under-represented in mainstream media, pop culture, and sex education around the world. 

Related terms: Allosexism, Asexual, Asexual-ish, Demisexual, Grey asexuality, Semisexual 

Ally

An ally is a person who isn’t part of the LGBTQ+ community (meaning they are cisgender and heterosexual, or cishet), but who still supports them. Though not necessarily an activist, an ally tends to stand up against cissexism (transphobia), heterosexism (homophobia), and monosexism (biphobia). 

Related terms: Cisgender, Cishet, Cissexism, Heterosexism, Heterosexual, Homophobia, Monosexism, Monosexual, Straight, Transphobia 

Androgynous 

An androgynous person has a gender expression and/or identity that isn’t distinctly “male” or “female”.

Related terms: Gender expression, Gender identity, Genderfluid, Sexual orientation vs. Gender identity vs. Gender expression

Asexual

An asexual person generally doesn’t feel sexual attraction or desire. Asexuality is a spectrum: some asexual people desire romantic relationships with occasional sex, some want romantic relationships without sex, and some don’t desire romantic relationships. Asexuality is different than celibacy, where one deliberately avoids sexual activity.

The term asexual is often abbreviated as “ace”. 

The opposite of an asexual person is an allosexual person. 

Related terms: Allosexism, Allosexual, Asexual-ish, Demisexual, Grey asexuality, Sexual-ish 

Asexual-ish

Asexual-ish is a term associated with asexuals and asexuality. Because asexuality exists as a spectrum, different people experience different levels of sexual desire (or lack thereof). 

A “grey” spectrum of sexuality exists, and lies between asexuality and sexuality. A person on this spectrum may experience sexual attraction on occasion or only towards specific people (e.g. people they’re in a romantic relationship with). People in this spectrum are known as “grey- A”, “grey ace”, “grace”, “semisexual”, “asexual-ish” or “sexual-ish”.

Related terms: Allosexism, Allosexual, Asexual, Demisexual, Grey asexuality, Sexual-ish 

Bigender

A bigender person has two gender identities. They may switch between gender identities, or experience both gender identities simultaneously. 

Related terms: Gender identity, Sexual orientation vs Gender identity vs. Gender expression

Biphobia

Biphobia is a prejudice, hatred, or hostility that people might have towards bisexual people. A biphobic person is usually physically, verbally or emotionally violent against bisexual people. 

Some prefer the term “monosexism” to “biphobia”, because the latter can seem to justify acts of hostility by using the excuse of “the fear of the unknown”.

Related terms: Bisexual, Monosexism

Bisexual

A bisexual person is romantically, emotionally, and/or sexually attracted to people of the same gender, and people of different genders as themselves. One doesn't need to have any sexual experience to identify as bisexual. Bisexuality is also separate from sexual promiscuity (having multiple sexual relationships), or polyamory (having multiple romantic or intimate relationships).

Bisexuality is often misunderstood to mean attraction to only men and women. This misunderstanding is probably rooted in the fact that the prefix “bi” means 2, and the fact that many used to think that there are only 2 genders (man and woman). Bisexuality, however, doesn’t exclude non-binary genders in its definition.

Bisexuality is closely related to pansexuality

This term is often abbreviated as “bi”. 

Related terms: Biphobia, Gender identity, Gender nonconforming, Genderfluid, Monosexism, Monosexual, Pansexual

Butch

A butch is a person, usually a woman or trans person, whose gender expression is masculine

Related terms: Gender expression, Sexual orientation vs. Gender identity vs. Gender expression, Trans man, Trans woman, Transgender 

Cisgender

A person is cisgender when their gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth. 

Related terms: Cishet, Gender identity, Gender identity vs. Sex

Cishet

Cishet is short for “cisgender heterosexual”, and refers to people who are both cisgender and heterosexual

A person is cisgender when their gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.

A person is heterosexual, or straight, when they are romantically, emotionally, and/or sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex.

Related terms: Cisgender, Heterosexual, Sex, Straight

Cissexism

Cissexism is a term that describes a prejudice, hatred, or hostility towards transgender people. A cissexist is usually physically, verbally, or emotionally violent against trans or gender diverse people.

This term is also known as “transphobia”. 

Related terms: Cisgender, Gender identity, Transgender, Transphobia 

Closeted

A closeted person isn’t open about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Related terms: Coming outGender identity, Sexual orientation 

Coming out

To come out is to voluntarily make your sexual orientation and/or gender identity known to public or to other people. 

This is different than outing, which is the exposing and sharing of such information to other people without the consent of the person themselves.

Related terms: Gender identity, Sexual orientation

Crossdresser

A crossdresser is a person who dresses (fully or partially) as a member of a gender that is not aligned with their assigned sex. Crossdressing is an act of gender expression, and thus not an indicator of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Related terms: Gender expression, Gender identity, Gender identity vs. Sex, Sex, Sexual orientation, Sexual orientation vs. Gender identity vs. Gender expression

Demisexual

A demisexual person is sexually attracted only to people whom they share an emotional bond with. Demisexuality falls within the asexual spectrum.

Related terms: Asexual, Asexual-ish, Grey asexuality, Sexual-ish

Discrimination

Discrimination refers to the unjust or prejudicial treatment against members of a marginalised or minority group, often by members of a dominant group. Members of the LGBTQ+ community often face discrimination in many parts of the world. 

Related terms: Ally

Drag

To do drag is to dress up or present yourself differently than your everyday gender, usually for expression or performance. Dragging is not an indicator of a person’s gender identity. A drag queen or drag king is also distinct from a trans person.

Although most people who do drag are gay or lesbian, drag performers can have any sexual orientation or gender identity

The art of dragging has become increasingly popular following the meteoric popularity of Rupaul's Drag Race, a reality TV show where drag queens compete to be the next drag superstar. 

Related terms: Drag queen, Drag king, Gender identity, Gender expression, Transgender 

Drag king

A drag king is a person (usually a woman) who dresses up as a man, generally to perform a show. Outside of their performance, drag kings typically live their daily lives as women. Although most people who do drag are gay or lesbian, drag performers can have any sexual orientation or gender identity

A drag queen or drag king is also distinct from a trans person.

Related terms: Drag, Drag queen, Gender identity, Gender expression, Transgender

Drag queen

A drag queen is a person (usually a man) who dresses up as a woman, generally to perform a show. Outside of their performance, drag queens typically live their daily lives as men. Although most people who do drag are gay or lesbian, drag performers can have any sexual orientation or gender identity

A drag queen or drag king is also distinct from a trans person.

Related terms: Drag, Drag king, Gender identity, Gender expression, Transgender 

Feminine 

A feminine person expresses their gender in a way typically associated with women.

Related term: Gender expression 

Gay

A gay person is romantically, emotionally, and/or sexually attracted to people of the same sex. This term is often associated with men, although it applies to women too.

Related terms: Lesbian, Sexual orientation

Gender expression

A person’s gender expression refers to the way they communicate or express their gender identity to other people. Common expressions include (but aren’t limited to) “masculine”, “feminine”, or “androgynous”.

Related terms: Feminine, Gender identity, Sexual orientation vs. Gender identity vs. Gender expression

Gender identity

A person’s gender identity refers to their internal identification as a man, woman, neither, both, or some other gender. This doesn’t always correspond with the biological sex they’re assigned at birth.

Related terms: Gender identity vs. Sex, Sex, Sexual orientation vs. Gender identity vs. Gender expression

Gender neutral

Gender neutral refers to the absence of a specific gender. It can be used to describe facilities (e.g. gender neutral bathrooms that individuals can use regardless of their gender), people (those who don’t subscribe to a specific gender), or pronouns (non-gender-specific pronouns like “they / them / theirs”).

Related terms: Gender neutral pronouns, Ne / Nem / Nir pronouns, They / Them / Their pronouns

Gender neutral pronouns

gender neutral pronoun doesn’t associate the person being referred to with any gender. Some languages (like English) don’t have gender neutral pronouns, while sone (like Chinese) are gender neutral in spoken form, and some (like Malay) are gender neutral in written and spoken form. 

Pronouns like “he / him / his” is gender-specific, because it refers to the male gender. 

Different people and organisations have proposed various gender neutral pronouns (like “ne / nem / nir”) over the years, though none has gained popular adoption. This is likely due to a mix of factors, like the relative obscurity of the new terms, as well as the relative difficulty in pronouncing and using them. 

On the other hand, the use of the singular “they / them / theirs” as gender neutral pronouns is gaining adoption. 

Gender neutral pronouns are also known as “gender inclusive pronouns”.

Related terms: Gender neutral, He / Him / His, She / Her / Hers, Ne / Nem / Nir, They / They / Their 

Gender nonconforming

A gender nonconforming person doesn’t subscribe to gender expressions or roles that society at large expects them to.

This term is sometimes abbreviated as GNC. 

Related term: Gender expression, Gender neutral pronouns, Sexual orientation vs. Gender identity vs. Gender expression 

Gender identity vs. Sex

A person’s biological sex is usually determined by their anatomical, chromosomal or other biological characteristics. Known sexes include male, female and intersex

Gender identity refers to a person’s internal identification as a man, woman, neither, both, or some other gender

A person’s gender identity can be influenced by social constructs, norms, or pressures, whereas their sex is usually biologically determined or assigned. 

Related terms: Gender identity, Gender expression, Genderfluid, Intersex, Sex, Sexual orientation vs. Gender identity vs. Gender expression 

Genderfluid

A genderfluid person has gender identity and/or gender expression that shifts (is fluid) between or above different genders. Some feel masculine on days and feminine on others, or live free from gender definitions entirely. 

Related terms: Feminine, Gender expression, Gender identity, Masculine, Sexual orientation vs. Gender identity vs. Gender expression

Grey asexuality

Grey asexuality refers to a “grey” spectrum of sexuality that lies between asexuality and sexuality. A person on this spectrum may experience sexual attraction on occasion or only towards specific people (e.g. people they’re in a romantic relationship with). People in this spectrum are known as “grey- A”, “grey ace”, “grace”, “semisexual”, “asexual-ish” or “sexual-ish”. 

Related terms: Allosexism, Asexual, Asexual-ish, Demisexual, Sexual-ish

He / him / his pronouns

He / him / his are gender-specific pronouns that are usually used to refer to men or boys. 

This is different than gender neutral pronouns, which do not associate the person being referred to with any specific gender.

Related terms: Gender neutral pronouns, Ne / Nim / Nir, Preferred pronoun, Pronoun, She / Her / Hers, They / Them / Theirs 

Heteronormativity 

Heteronormativity is the belief that heterosexuality is the default sexual orientation and, implicitly, that everyone is cisgender. This belief can be subtle to the heterosexual, cisgender population. For example, institutions (marriage, laws, schools), pop culture (love songs, movies, characters) and social behaviours (“What kind of girls/guys do you like?”) often align with heteronormativity. 

Heteronormativity can often lead people within the LGBTQ+ community to feel under-represented or erased from representation. 

Related terms: Cisgender, Heterosexual, Sexual orientation, Straight 

Heterosexism 

Heterosexism refers to a prejudice, hatred, or hostility towards LGBTQ+ people. A heterosexist is usually physically, verbally or emotionally violent against LGBTQ+ people.

This term is also (more commonly) known as “homophobia”, although some prefer the term “heterosexism” because “homophobia” can seem to justify acts of hostility by using the excuse of “the fear of the unknown”.

Related terms: Heterosexual, Homophobia, LGBT, LGBTQ+

Heterosexual

A heterosexual person is romantically, emotionally, and/or sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex.

This term is also known as “straight”.

Related terms: Romantic, emotional, and sexual attraction, Sex, Straight

Homophobia

Homophobia refers to a prejudice, hatred, or hostility towards LGBTQ+ people. Some prefer the term “heterosexism” to “homophobia”, because the latter can seem to justify acts of hostility by using the excuse of “the fear of the unknown”.

Related terms: Heterosexism, LGBT, LGBTQ+

Intersex

An intersex person has anatomical, chromosomal, or other biological characteristics that don’t fall into what society typically labels as male or female. An intersex person doesn’t always have both male and female sex organs. In fact, there are at least 16 different ways a person can be intersex.

Determining a person's biological sex can be lot more complex than you might expect. As such, there are a lot more intersex individuals than you might expect (some estimates put it at 1 in 770 births).

Related terms: Sex

Lesbian

A lesbian is a woman who is romantically, emotionally, and/or sexually attracted to other women. This term is also known as “gay” or “gay women”.

This term is often abbreviated as “les”.

Related terms: Gay, Romantic, emotional, and sexual attraction

LGBT

LGBT is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. This term is generally used to refer to people who are not cishet (cisgender, heterosexual), and as such sometimes also include people who are asexual, questioning, or intersex

Related terms: Asexual, Bisexual, Cishet, Cisgender, Gay, Heterosexual, Intersex, Lesbian, LGBTQ+, Questioning, Transgender

LGBTQ+

LGBTQ+ is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexualtransgender, and queer (or questioning). The "+" at the end symbolises inclusivity of other sexual orientations or gender identities that are not cishet (cisgender, heterosexual). 

This term is generally used to refer to people who are not cishet, and as such sometimes also include people who are asexualintersex, or any other sexual orientation or gender identity that's not cishet. 

Related terms: Asexual, Bisexual, Cishet, Cisgender, Gay, Heterosexual, Intersex, Lesbian, LGBT, Questioning, Sexual Orientation, Transgender

Masculine

A masculine person expresses their gender in a way typically associated with men.

Related term: Gender expression 

Microaggression

Microaggression refers to the everyday verbal, behavioural or environmental slights, snubs, or insults that send hostile or derogatory messages to target people because they belong to a marginalised group.

A person can be microaggressive even without intending to. Microaggressions could be targeted based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex, age, race, or other cultural and socioeconomic factors. 

Related terms: Discrimination, Gender expression, Gender identity, Sex, Sexual orientation

Misgendering 

To misgender someone is to wrongly attribute a gender to them which they don’t align with. This can be done intentionally or by accident. For example, misgendering can happen when someone uses gendered pronouns or gendered language (e.g. “Hey guys / ladies”).

Related terms: Gender identity, Gender neutral pronouns, Pronouns

Monosexism

Monosexism refers to a prejudice, hatred, or hostility towards bisexual people. A monosexist is usually physically, verbally or emotionally violent against them.

This term is also (more commonly) known as “biphobia”, although some prefer the term “monosexism” because “biphobia” can seem to justify acts of hostility by using the excuse of “the fear of the unknown”.

Related terms: BiphobiaBisexual

Monosexual

A monosexual person is romantically, emotionally, and/or sexually attracted towards one gender only. Heterosexuality and homosexuality are the most well-known forms of monosexuality.

Related terms: Gay, Heterosexual

Mx.

Mx. is a gender neutral honorific title (pronounced “mix” or “miks”), similar to Mr. for men and Ms. for women. It is used to refer to someone without making any assumptions about their preferred pronoun

Related terms: Gender neutral, Gender neutral pronoun, Preferred pronounPronoun

Ne / Nem / Nir

Ne / Nem / Nir is a set of gender neutral pronouns that some people and/or organisations have adopted. For example, you would say “Ne is hungry” instead of He/She is hungry”, “Please tell nem that lunch is ready” instead of “Please tell him/her that lunch is ready”, and “This sandwich is nirs” instead of “This sandwich is his/hers”. 

However, it is relatively rare to come across this set of pronouns, because of a lack of awareness, fragmentation of proposed pronouns, and the difficulty in understanding how to pronounce some of the pronouns. On the flip side, the use of the singular “they / them / theirs” as gender neutral pronouns is gaining adoption. 

Related terms: Gender neutral, Gender neutral pronouns, Preferred pronoun, Pronoun, They / Them / Theirs, Ve / Vem / Vir, Xe / Xem / Xir, Zie / Hir

Pansexual

A pansexual person is romantically, emotionally, and/or sexually attracted towards people of all genders and sexes. While this means that a pansexual person can be attracted to people of any gender identity, gender expression, or sex, it certainly doesn't mean that they are attracted to everyone. Instead, it simply means that the person's gender or sex matters less to a pansexual person than other attributes like character, interests, or even physical appearance. 

Pansexuality and bisexuality are similar but different. Bisexuality involves the attraction to multiple genders, while pansexuality involves the attraction to all. To put it another way, since pansexual people can be attracted to people of all genders, they sometimes describe it as if the gender of the other party doesn’t matter as much as other traits. This is different to bisexual individuals, who may not experience attraction to all genders.  

Related terms: Bisexual, Gender expression, Gender identity, Sex

Preferred pronoun

Preferred pronoun refers to the pronoun that a person prefers to be associated with. For example, a trans woman might prefer the pronouns “she / her / hers”, and a cisgender man might prefer “he / him / his”. There are also people who prefer gender neutral pronouns like “they / them / theirs”.

Related terms: Cisgender, Gender neutral pronouns, Pronoun

Privilege 

Privilege refers to a set of perceived rights or advantages that are available only to a specific group of people (usually the majority, or the group holding the most socioeconomic power). This term can apply to race (e.g. Chinese people in Singapore), sexual orientation (e.g. heterosexual people in most parts of the world), or other socioeconomic factors.

People who are privileged might not notice it, and thus deny that privilege exists. This might be because they lack easy visibility over the disadvantaged in their daily lives.

Related terms: Heterosexual, Sexual orientation

Pronoun

Pronouns are nouns that are used to refer to other people, like “he / him / his”, “she / her / hers”, “they / them / theirs” etc. Some languages (like English) have gender-specific pronouns (he/she) that can cause misgendering. Other languages have completely gender neutral pronouns (e.g. Malay), or gender neutral pronouns in spoken form (e.g. Chinese).

Related terms: Gender neutral pronouns, He / Him / His, Misgendering, She / Her / Hers, Preferred pronoun, They / Them / Theirs

Romantic, emotional, and sexual attraction

Romantic attraction refers to the desire to engage in romantic behaviours with another person, like dating, having a relationship, getting married, etc.

Emotional attraction refers to the desire to engage in emotionally intimate behaviours with another person, like sharing, confiding, trusting, etc. Good friends can have strong emotional attraction towards each other.

Sexual attraction refers to the desire to engage in physically intimate behaviours with another person, like kissing, touching, having intercourse, etc.

These are just 3 common types of attraction that one might feel towards another. Other forms of attraction, like spiritual attraction, exist too.

Queer

The word “queer” is an umbrella term for sexually and gender diverse people, often adopted by those who are non-heterosexual or non-cisgender.

This term carried negative connotations in the past, because people used them as slurs and insults. However, people within the LGBTQ+ community have started embracing the term and using it to describe themselves. 

Related terms: Cisgender, Heterosexual, LGBT, LGBTQ+

Questioning

Questioning refers to the process of exploring one’s sexual orientation, gender identity, and/ or gender expression

Related terms: Gender expression, Gender identity, Sexual orientation 

Semisexual

Semisexuality refers to a “grey” spectrum of sexuality that lies between asexuality and sexuality. A person on this spectrum may experience sexual attraction on occasion or only towards specific people (e.g. people they’re in a romantic relationship with). People in this spectrum are known as “grey- A”, “grey ace”, “grace”, “semisexual”, “asexual-ish” or “sexual-ish”. 

Related terms: Allosexism, Asexual, Asexual-ish, Demisexual, Grey asexuality, Sexual-ish

Sex

Sex refers to a medical categorisation of a person, often based on their anatomical, chromosomal or other biological characteristics. Known sexes include male, female and intersex.

Biological sex exists as a spectrum instead of discrete categories of male/female, simply due to biological variations between humans. These variations in bodily anatomy, chromosomes (XX, XY, XXY, etc.), or hormones mean that some of us don’t fall into what society typically labels as male or female.

Related terms: Gender identity vs. Sex, Intersex

Sex reassignment surgery 

Sex reassignment surgery refers to the surgical alteration of a person’s sex, which can form a part of a trans person’s transition process. Not all trans people choose to or are able to have sex reassignment surgery (due to its sometimes prohibitively high costs).

Related terms: Sex, Transgender, Transition

Sexism 

Sexism refers to a prejudice, hatred, or hostility towards people based on their sex. Because the male sex is the socioeconomically advantaged sex, sexism often unfairly disadvantages women.

Related terms: Sex

Sexual orientation 

A person’s sexual orientation refers to their enduring romantic, emotional, and/or sexual attraction or non-attraction to other people. Sexual orientation exists as a spectrum, which includes (but is not limited to) lesbian/gay, bisexual, heterosexual, asexual, and pansexual.

Related terms: Asexual, Bisexual, Gay, Heterosexual, Lesbian, Pansexual, Sexual orientation vs. Gender identity vs. Gender expression 

Sexual orientation vs. Gender identity vs. Gender expression 

A person’s sexual orientation refers to how they’re romantically, emotionally, and/or sexually attracted or not attracted to others.

Their gender identity refers to how they identify internally as a man, woman, neither, both, or some other gender. This is separate from their sexual orientation.

Their gender expression refers to how they express their gender externally. This may be different than their internal gender identity. For example, a man could cross dress as a woman for performance, but still identify with the male gender.

Related terms: Gender expression, Gender identity, Sexual orientation 

Sexual-ish

Sexual-ish refers to a “grey” spectrum of sexuality that lies between asexuality and sexuality. A person on this spectrum may experience sexual attraction on occasion or only towards specific people (e.g. people they’re in a romantic relationship with). People in this spectrum are known as “grey- A”, “grey ace”, “grace”, “semisexual”, “asexual-ish” or “sexual-ish”. 

Related terms: Allosexism, Asexual, Asexual-ish, Demisexual, Grey asexuality 

She / Her / Hers

“She / Her / Hers” is a set of gender-specific pronouns used to refer to women or girls.

Related terms: Gender neutral pronounsHe / Him / His

Straight 

Straight is a colloquial term used to describe heterosexual people.

Related terms: Heterosexual

They / Them / Theirs

This set of pronouns is traditionally used to refer to groups of people (plural). However, these pronouns are increasingly used as gender neutral pronouns to refer to a single person (singular).

The use of the singular “they” pronoun is perhaps the most commonly adopted gender neutral pronoun, in part due to its ease of use and understanding compared to other proposed pronouns. 

Related terms: Gender neutral, Gender neutral pronouns, Ne / Nem / Nir, Preferred pronoun, Pronoun, Xe / Xem / Xir, Zie / Hir

Trans man

A trans man is short for a transgender man, and refers to a person whose gender identity and/or gender expression is that of a man, but was assigned the female sex at birth.

Related terms: Gender expression, Gender identity, Sex, Transgender 

Trans woman

A trans woman is short for a transgender woman, and refers to a person whose gender identity and/or gender expression is that of a woman, but was assigned the male sex at birth.

Related terms: Gender expression, Gender identity, Sex, Transgender 

Transgender

A transgender person's gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. This includes people who identify with multiple genders, no gender, or genders outside the man/woman binary. Not all transgender people choose to undergo medical transition.

This term is often abbreviated as “trans”.

Related terms: Gender identity, Gender expression, Sex, Transition

Transition

The term “transition” is an umbrella term that refers to processes where a trans individual moves from one gender presentation to another.

There are 3 broad aspects to this:

  1. Social: name, pronouns, interactions. For example, a trans person might start adopting a name that they prefer, instead of the one given to them at birth. 
  2. Medical: hormones, surgery. This includes sex reassignment surgery, or hormonal treatment. Medical transition may not always be easy to get, or may be prohibitively expensive. 
  3. Legal: legal name changes, gender marker changes (e.g. from Mr. to Ms.), etc. Legal transition may not always be available, and depends heavily on the local laws.

A trans individual may transition in any combination, or none at all.

Related terms: Transgender 

Transphobia 

Transphobia refers to a prejudice, hatred, or hostility towards transgender people. Some prefer the term “cissexism” to “transphobia”, because the latter can seem to justify acts of hostility by using the excuse of “the fear of the unknown”.

Related terms: Cissexism, Transgender 

Ve / Vem / Vir

Ve / Vem / Vir is a set of gender neutral pronouns that some people and/or organisations have adopted. For example, you would say “Ve is hungry” instead of He/She is hungry”, “Please tell vem that lunch is ready” instead of “Please tell him/her that lunch is ready”, and “This sandwich is virs” instead of “This sandwich is his/hers”. 

However, it is relatively rare to come across this set of pronouns, because of a lack of awareness, fragmentation of proposed pronouns, and the difficulty in understanding how to pronounce some of the pronouns. On the flip side, the use of the singular “they / them / theirs” as gender neutral pronouns is gaining adoption. 

Related terms: Gender neutral, Gender neutral pronouns, Ne / Nem / Nir, Preferred pronoun, Pronoun, They / Them / Theirs, Xe / Xem / Xir, Zie / Hir

Xe / Xem / Xir

Xe / Xem / Xir is a set of gender neutral pronouns that some people and/or organisations have adopted. For example, you would say “Xe is hungry” instead of He/She is hungry”, “Please tell xem that lunch is ready” instead of “Please tell him/her that lunch is ready”, and “This sandwich is xirs” instead of “This sandwich is his/hers”. 

However, it is relatively rare to come across this set of pronouns, because of a lack of awareness, fragmentation of proposed pronouns, and the difficulty in understanding how to pronounce some of the pronouns. On the flip side, the use of the singular “they / them / theirs” as gender neutral pronouns is gaining adoption. 

Related terms: Gender neutral, Gender neutral pronouns, Ne / Nem / Nir, Preferred pronoun, Pronoun, They / Them / Theirs, Ve / Vem / Vir, Zie / Hir

Zie / Hir

Zie / Hir is a set of gender neutral pronouns that some people and/or organisations have adopted. For example, you would say “Zie is hungry” instead of He/She is hungry”, “Please tell hir that lunch is ready” instead of “Please tell him/her that lunch is ready”, and “This sandwich is hirs” instead of “This sandwich is his/hers”. 

However, it is relatively rare to come across this set of pronouns, because of a lack of awareness, fragmentation of proposed pronouns, and the difficulty in understanding how to pronounce some of the pronouns. On the flip side, the use of the singular “they / them / theirs” as gender neutral pronouns is gaining adoption. 

Related terms: Gender neutral, Gender neutral pronouns, Ne / Nem / Nir, Preferred pronoun, Pronoun, They / Them / Theirs, Ve / Vem / Vir, Xe / Xem / Xir

Sources

Edelstein, L. (2016, April 7). LGBTQIA glossary: Common gender and sexuality terms explained. ABC News. Retrieved February 14, 2019, from https://www.abc.net.au/news/ 2016-04-07/sexuality-gender-glossary- definitions/7287572

Gender neutrality in genderless languages. (2019, February 6). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 14, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title= Gender_neutrality_in_genderless_languages &oldid=882019010

Gray asexuality. (2019, January 19). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 14, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gray_asexuality&oldid=879127186

Intersex Society of North America. (2008). What is intersex? Retrieved February 14, 2019, from http://www.isna.org/faq/what_is_intersex

Intersex Society of North America. (2008). How common is intersex? Retrieved February 14, 2019, from http://www.isna.org/faq/frequency

Killermann, S. (2013, January 7). Comprehensive* List of LGBTQ+ Vocabulary Definitions [Web log post]. Retrieved February 14, 2019, from https://www.itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2013/01/a-comprehensive-list-of-lgbtq-term-definitions

Sex and gender distinction. (2019, February 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 14, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sex_and_gender_distinction &oldid=882644546

The Need for a Gender-Neutral Pronoun [Web log post]. (2010, January 24). Retrieved February 14, 2019, from https://genderneutralpronoun.wordpress.com

True Colors Fund. (2015, December 16). Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression [Video file]. Retrieved February 14, 2019, from https://youtu.be/Vlx9iZ9g_9I

University of California, Davis campus. (2019, February 12). LGBTQIA Resource Center Glossary. Retrieved February 14, 2019, from https://lgbtqia.ucdavis.edu/educated/glossary

We Are Family. (n.d.). Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Glossary of Terms. Retrieved February 14, 2019, from https://www.wearefamilycharleston.org/lgbt-a-z-glossary

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