Glossaries

Here is a collection of LGBT+ related terms that we think could be helpful. There is often no single definition for many of these terms, so we have consulted with Allsorts young people to make sure that we can be as accurate as possible in representing the views of our diverse community and encourage you to do your own online research from other trustworthy LGBT+ organisations for their take on things too. Since all language (including LGBT+ related terminology) develops over time, we review this glossary every 6 months year to reflect these changes.
Latest glossary update: January 2021

Sexual Orientation Glossary

+ (plus)
The ‘+’ at the end of LGBT+ is used as a way of acknowledging that there are many terms to describe the experiences of people with minority sexual orientations and gender identities, but not all of them are specified in the LGBT initialism, which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans. There is no universally accepted term for the LGBT+ community and you might see variances such as LGBTQ (Q for questioning/queer) or LGBTQIA (I for intersex and A for asexual).

Ally (e.g. an LGBT+ ally / a trans ally) 
Someone who actively supports and advocates for LGBT+ people.    

Aromantic
A term to describe a person that does not experience romantic attraction. An aromantic person might still experience physical attraction or desire and describe their sexual orientation in a particular way, for example, ‘aromantic bisexual’ (see ‘Bisexual’).

Asexual (Asexuality)
A sexual orientation that is generally understood to be a lack of sexual attraction to others or desire for sexual activity. Asexual people may or may not experience romantic attraction, and some do have sex. It may also be categorized more widely to include a broad spectrum of asexual identities

Bi / Bisexual (Bisexuality)
An individual who is physically, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to more than one gender. This can mean being attracted to two genders (e.g. men and women) but is not limited to two. 

Biphobia
The discrimination, prejudice or bullying of a person because they are bisexual or perceived to be bisexual by others.

Coming Out
The process of telling others about your sexual orientation and/or gender identity

Exploring
Used to describe the process an individual goes through as their sexual orientation and/or gender identity is emerging and evolving.  For example we talk about young people being ‘gender-exploring’ in the early stages of recognising they are transgender.  We prefer this term to ‘questioning’.

Gay
The adjective used to describe people whose physical, romantic and/or emotional attractions are to people of the same gender (e.g. a gay man is attracted to men / a gay woman is attracted to women).

Homosexual
An outdated term that is generally considered derogatory and offensive by many gay and lesbian people.  Because of the clinical history of the word "homosexual," it is often aggressively used by anti-gay individuals and groups to suggest that gay people are somehow psychologically/emotionally disordered.  Gay or lesbian are the preferable terms to describe people attracted to members of the same sex. 

Homophobia
The discrimination, prejudice or bullying of a person because they are gay or lesbian or perceived to be gay or lesbian by others.

Lesbian
A woman whose physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction is to other women. Some women also identify with the word gay.  

Outing
The act of publicly declaring (sometimes based on rumour and/or speculation) or revealing another person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or trans status without that person’s consent. 

Pan / Pansexual (Pansexuality)
An individual who is physically, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to people regardless of gender. 

Queer 
Traditionally an offensive term, queer has been appropriated by some LGBT+ people to describe themselves. However, it is not universally accepted by all LGBT+ people and should only be used if someone self-identifies that way.

Questioning
A term often used to describe the process of considering or exploring one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity. At Allsorts, we prefer to use the term exploring (see 'Exploring').

Sexual Orientation
The term for an individual’s physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction to others, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and heterosexual (straight).

Straight / Heterosexual (Heterosexuality)
An individual who is physically, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to people of the opposite (binary) gender (e.g. a straight/heterosexual woman is attracted to men).

Gender Identity Glossary

Agender
A term used by people who don't see themselves as fitting anywhere on the gender spectrum. Agender people often use 'without gender', or 'genderless' to also describe what being agender means to them.

Assigned Sex
The sex an individual is assigned at birth based on their primary sex characteristics (genitalia).

Cisgender (cis)
A person whose assigned sex and gender identity match up (e.g. assigned male at birth and identifies as a man/boy).

Deed Poll / Statutory Declaration
The document used to legally change a person’s name.

FTM / trans man / a transgender man 
Someone assigned female at birth and identifies as a male/man/boy.

Gender Binary
The term used to describe the two traditionally Western gender identities (male/man/boy and female/women/girl)

Gender Dysphoria
Gender dysphoria is a recognised medical term that describes a sense of unease, discomfort or distress that a person may have because of a mismatch between their assigned sex and their gender identity.

Gender Expression
The way in which an individual expresses their gender identity through clothing or behaviour. A person's gender expression isn't always the same as their gender identity, and can change. 

Gender Identity
How a person feels or experiences themselves in regards to their gender (e.g.  male, female, non-binary, etc.)

Gender Fluid
A term used to describe a person who feels that their gender identity is not fixed and/or fluctuates or changes over time.

Genderqueer 
A term sometimes used by people who feel their gender identity does not fit into the standard socially constructed ideals of male and female. This can include feeling like you are outside of the binary of male and female, or somewhere in between. Genderqueer as an identity is often very subjective and individual to the person using that word and as such can have a variety of different meanings attached to it. 

GIC 
Gender Identity Clinic: a service which provides specialist medical care for trans people.

Misgender
To presume someone else’s gender identity and presume incorrectly.

Intersex 
Intersex is an umbrella term that describes bodies that fall outside of the strict male/female binary. There are lots of ways someone can be intersex. It is a general term used for a variety of situations where a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the boxes of “female” or “male”. Intersex conditions can also be discovered later in life.

MTF/ trans woman/ a transgender woman 
Someone assigned male at birth and identifies as female/woman/girl.

Non-binary 
A term used to describe a person who identifies outside of the gender binary (male/female). Can be used as a gender identity, or as an umbrella term for other gender identities (e.g. agender, gender fluid, genderqueer, etc.)

Oestrogen
The female sex hormone often prescribed to trans women who wish to undergo medical transition.

Perisex
A person who is born with typical sex characteristics and assigned male or female. A person who is not intersex. 

Pronouns
The words used in place of nouns/proper nouns. Some are gendered; he/him (masculine), she/her (feminine), they/them (neutral). People may also use neopronouns such as ze/zim, fae/faer, xi/xir to articulate their non-binary identities.

Testosterone
The male sex hormone often prescribed to trans men who wish to undergo medical transition.

Top surgery 
A term that trans people may use when referring to surgeries designed to produce a male or female shaped chest.

Transition
The process a trans/non-binary person may take to affirm their gender identity. What constitutes transitioning may be different for every trans person, but there are two commonly acknowledged aspects of transition (social and medical);

  • Social Transition
    This refers specifically to the aspects of transition that are not related to a change in physicality. Examples of social transition are: a change of name/ pronouns, use of toilets or gendered facilities, wearing different clothes or make-up. Every trans person is different, so an individual may make all or some of these changes at some point, but deciding not to make these changes does not invalidate a person's trans identity.
  • Medical Transition 
    This refers specifically to the aspects of transition that are related to a change in a person's body/physicality.  Examples of medical transition are: hormone blockers, hormone replacement therapy, and surgeries.  Every trans person is different, so an individual may make all or some of these changes at some point, but deciding not to make these changes does not invalidate a person's trans identity.

Trans / Transgender
An individual whose gender identity is not aligned or fully aligned with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Transphobia
The discrimination, prejudice or bullying of a person because they are trans or perceived to be trans by others. 

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