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Using the Correct Words: Understanding LGBTQ+ vocabulary and terms


Jessica Eden | Interrobang | Lifestyles | February 12th, 2018




The Interrobang has put together a list of terms and their proper definitions used within the LGBTQ+ community to help spread awareness and understanding. It is important to be respectful and considerate of a person’s preferred pronouns and try to be as accurate as possible when using identifying terms. The best thing you can do if you are unsure is to ask what the person prefers to be called and go by their definition of what a term means to them as oppose to following a textbook definition. In addition to the terms below, some gender neutral pronouns including “they” and “them” and “ze” and “zir” that replace “he/his” and “she/her” may be preferred by some transgender and gender fluid people. 

ALLY

A person who supports and acts to end discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community.

ASEXUAL

A person who experiences little to no sexual attraction and/or desire for sexual relationships. Not to be confused with celibacy which is choosing to abstain from sex.

BISEXUAL

A person who is attracted emotionally, physically and/ or sexually to males and females. It may or may not be at the same time and the attraction does not have to be equally split between genders.

DRAG QUEEN/KING

A person who dresses in clothing of the “opposite” gender for theatrical performances and can be any sexual orientation or expression.

GAY

A person who is attracted emotionally, physically and/ or sexually to those of the same gender. The term is more commonly used for men, but also is used as an umbrella term to describe the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.

GENDER FLUID

A person who may feel like a mix of both male and female genders and can feel more like one or the other depending on the day.

LESBIAN

Women who are attracted emotionally, physically and/or sexually to other women.

PANSEXUAL

A person who is attracted emotionally, physically and/ or sexually to people of all gender identities and expressions.

QUESTIONING

An individual who, or a period of time when, a person explores or is unsure of their sexual orientation.

TRANSGENDER

An umbrella term for a person who lives as a member of a gender that is different from the one that is assigned to them at birth, based on their anatomical/biological sex.

TRANSSEXUAL

A person who feels that they have born in the wrong anatomical body to the sex they were assigned at birth. They may choose to take hormones and/or have sex reassignment surgery to match their inner sense of gender/sex.

TRANSVESTITE

A person who dresses in clothing seen as typical for the opposite gender for many reasons, some including fun, relaxation and sexual gratification (also called a cross-dresser).

TWO-SPIRIT

A cultural and spiritual identity used by some Indigenous people to describe individuals who have qualities of both male and female spirits. 

For more information and educational sources and links, visit pridelondon.ca/educate and http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2013/01/a-comprehensive-list-of-lgbtq-term-definitions/#sthash.dfuBc9KI.dpbs