The Ultimate Dictionary of Gender and Sexuality

Lydia Nelson

The amazing thing about language is that it’s always evolving and changing. This is true when it comes to the language we use to identify ourselves as well. Trying to keep up with the new words being used, or the complete meanings of those words, can be as challenging as it is important. Some try to shrug it off and ask why we need so many identities and descriptors.

What it comes down to is having a word to describe who you are helps you feel less alone and helps you find others who feel the same way you do. It’s then important to know and understand other’s identities because it makes it easier to build connections with others and to be respectful if you understand the language to use. Another important aspect of identity is that an identity can mean different things to different people who use this identity. While this guide is in no way comprehensive and a person who identifies with a word on the list may not use that exact definition, this is a great starting point in educating yourself on the ABCs of the LGBT+ community.


LGBT Dictionary

Gender and Sex Terms

Assigned Sex: The gender label doctors and parent agree upon when a child is born. Also known as designated sex. Sometimes referred to as assigned or designated gender.

AFAB (Assigned Female at Birth): A person who was labeled with the female gender when they were born. Also known as DFAB (Designated Female at Birth) or CAFAB (Coercively Assigned Female at Birth).

AMAB (Assigned Male at Birth): A person who was labeled with the male gender when they were born. Also known as DMAB (Designated Male at Birth) or CAMAB (Coercively Assigned Female at Birth).

Binding: The process of tightly wrapping one’s chest in order to minimize the appearance of having breasts.

Cisgender: Those whose gender matches up with their assigned sex. Includes cis woman and cis man.

Crossdresser: a person who dresses as a member of a gender other than their own.

Drag: The Performance of one or multiple genders theatrically ie Drag Kings and Drag Queens.

FTM/F2M: Female to male, a now outdated term for trans men. May be offensive to some.

Gender Confirmation Surgery: A procedure that changes a person’s external features to better match their gender. Also referred to as Gender Affirming Surgery. This is now used instead of “Sex Change”.

Gender Dysphoria: Anxiety and/or discomfort regarding ones sex assigned at birth.

Gender Neutral Pronouns: Pronouns used either when you don’t know the gender of a person or if they don’t identify with male or female pronouns.

Gender Non-Conforming: A gender expression that differs from a given society’s norms.

Gender Presentation/Expression: The ways in which people externally communicate their gender to others through behavior, clothing, haircut, etc.

Gender Variant: Those who vary from the expected characteristics of their assigned sex.

HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy): When one is put on the sex hormone opposite of what is naturally the highest hormone in their body.

Intersex: A general term used for body variations that don’t fit the typical binary notions of female or male.

MTF/M2F: Male to female, an outdated term for trans women. May be offensive to some.

Packing: Wearing padding or a phallic object to give the appearance of having a penis or bulge.

Transgender: Someone whose gender does not match their assigned sex. Can be shortened to trans. Includes trans woman and trans man.

Transsexual: A term that is going out of favor for someone whose gender does not match their assigned sex. Sometimes used for trans people who seek medical changes to further affirm their gender.

Transition: Referring to the process of coming to recognize, accept, and express one’s gender identity. Most often referring to the period when a trans person makes social, legal, and/or medical changes.

Tucking: The process of hiding ones penis and testes with tape, tight shorts, or specially designed undergarments.

Perisex: A general term used for body variations that do fit the typical definitions of male or female. Also known as Endosex

Genders 

Agender: Those who have no gender identity and/or no gender expression.

Androgyne: Those whose gender is simultaneously feminine and masculine.

Bigender: Those who have two gender identities.

Cis man: A man whose gender is the same as their assigned sex.

Cis woman: A woman whose gender is the same as their assigned sex.

Demigender: An umbrella term for nonbinary gender identities that have a partial connection to certain genders ie demigirl, demiboy. Also used as an identity within itself, for people who feel connected to the concept of gender rather than certain genders.

Genderfluid: Those who move between two or more different gender identities or expressions at different times.

Genderqueer: Those whose gender is outside the gender binary.

Intergender: A person whose gender identity is between genders or a combination of genders, generally only used by intersex people.

Neutrois: A neutral gender or genderless identity.

Non-binary: Not within male or female categories .

Omnigender: Those who identify with all genders.

Pangender: Those whose gender identity are made up of all genders.

Polygender those whose gender identity is made up of many genders.

Trans man: A man whose gender is not the same as their assigned sex.

Trans woman: A woman whose gender is not the same as their assigned sex.

Transfeminine: A transgender person who identifies with femininity to a greater extent than with masculinity.

Transmasculine: A transgender person who identifies with masculinity to a greater extent than with femininity.

Two-spirit: An umbrella term for lgbt+ identities in various Native American tribes.

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Types of Attraction

Aesthetic Attraction: Attraction to someone based on finding them aesthetically pleasing, though you don’t necessarily want a sexual or romantic connection with them.

Romantic Attraction: Attraction based on an emotional response that results in a desire for a romantic relationship.

Sexual Attraction: Attraction based on a desire to be sexual with someone.

Orientation: One’s attraction or non-attraction to other people. Can refer to both sexual attraction (sexual orientation) or romantic attraction (romantic orientation).

Platonic: A term to describe a relationship that does not include romance or sex.



Sexual and Romantic Orientations

Asexual: Those who don’t experience Sexual Attraction.

Allosexual: Person who experience Sexual Attraction

Aromantic: Those who don’t experience Romantic Attraction.

Bisexual: Those who experience sexual attraction to the same gender as themselves and genders other than their own.

Biromantic: Those who experience romantic attraction to the same gender as themselves and genders other than their own.

Demisexual: Those within the Asexual spectrum who feel sexual attraction only after a strong bond is formed.

Demiromantic: Those within the Aromantic spectrum who feel romantic attraction only after a strong bond is formed.

Gay: Those who experience sexual attraction to the same gender as themselves. Can be used as an umbrella term for anyone who experiences same gender attraction.

Grey-Asexual (Grey-A): Those within the Asexual spectrum that sometimes experience sexual attraction.

Grey-Romantic: Those within the Aromantic spectrum that sometimes experience romantic attraction.

Heterosexual: Those who experience sexual attraction to a gender not their own.

Heteroromantic: Those who experience romantic attraction to a gender not their own.

Homosexual: Those who experience sexual attraction to the same gender as themselves.

Homoromantic: Those who experience romantic attraction to the same gender as themselves.

Lesbian: A woman who experiences attraction to other women (sexual or romantic attraction).

Monosexual: Those who are sexually attracted to only one gender.

Monoromantic: Those who are romantically attracted to only one gender.

Multisexual: Those who are sexually attracted to more than one gender.

Multi Romantic: Those who are romantically attracted to more than one gender.

Omnisexual: Those who are sexually attracted to all genders.

Omniromantic: Those who are romantically attracted to all genders.

Pansexual: Those who are sexually attracted to all genders.

Panromantic: Those who are romantically attracted to all genders.

Polysexual: Those who are sexually attracted to two or more genders.

Polyromantic: Those who are romantically attracted to two or more genders.

Queer: A non-specific term for people who are marginalized because of their orientation. Can be used as a specific identity.

Questioning: Those who are in the process of exploring their orientation or gender identity.



Social issues

Allosexism: The system of discrimination and exclusion that oppresses asexual people.

Biphobia: Oppression or mistreatment of those who experience sexual attraction to more than one gender, also referred to as monosexism. Can also refer to the mistreatment of bisexuals in particular.

Cissexism: Systematic prejudice in the favor of cisgender people.

Cisnormativity: The assumption that everyone is cisgender and/or that being cisgender is superior.

Come out (of the closet): When a person discloses their sexual, romantic, or gender identity to another person.

Closeted: A person who has not disclosed their orientation or gender.

Gender Binary: A system of viewing gender as consisting solely of two opposite categories, termed “Male and Female”.

Gendered Language: Language that assumes anyone with breasts, a vagina, a uterus, and/or a vulva is a woman and that anyone with a penis and/or testicles is a man.

Gender Role: A set of societal norms dictating what types of behaviors are considered acceptable or appropriate based on a person’s actual or perceived gender.

Heterosexism: The oppression of people based on them not being heterosexual.

Heteronormativity: The assumption that everyone is heterosexual and/or that heterosexuality is superior.

Homophobia: The hatred and oppression of those who experience same gender attraction.

Intersectionality: The idea that identities are influenced and shaped by race, class, ethnicity, orientation, gender, disability, national origin, etc, as well as by the interconnection of all those characteristics.

Misgendering: Attributing a gender to someone that is incorrect. Can occur when using pronouns or gendered language.

Microaggressions: Brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or not.

Monosexism: prejudice or discrimination of people who are attracted to more than one gender.

Non-monogamy: An umbrella term for every practice or philosophy of intimate relationship that does not strictly hew to the standards of monogamy, particularly that of having only one person with whom to exchange sex, love, and/or affection.

Outing: Involuntary or unwanted disclosure of another person’s orientation or gender.

Passing: A person’s ability to be accepted as their gender and/or to be seen as heterosexual.

Polyamorous: A person who is open to having more than one romantic or sexual relationship at a time, with the knowledge and consent of all their partners.

TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist): A feminist who advocates in a way that excludes and oppresses trans people.

Transphobia: The hatred and oppression of transgender people.

Transmisogyny: The intersection of two forms of oppression trans women are subjected to; transphobia and misogyny. 

Ze/Hir: Gender neutral pronouns used by some gender variant people. Pronounced “Zee” and “Here”.

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