A page within Pride Center

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While we have done our best to represent the modern usage of queer terminology, it is important to note that meaning varies from person to person. It is also important to recognize that definitions are constantly changing, so some terms we use today might be old tomorrow. This list is also not extensive but rather covers common identities and concepts. For further questions, contact the Pride Center at PrideCenter@uwlax.edu.

Individuals are welcome to use this resource with citations. 

Foundational Ideas: Sexual Orientation

These ideas are also referred to as The Split Attraction Model.

Sexual Orientation: One's sexual attraction toward a certain gender(s). This does not speak to romantic attraction; for instance, one may be romantically attracted to women and sexually attracted to another gender. 

Romantic Orientation: One's romantic attraction toward a certain gender(s). This does not speak to sexual attraction. For example, one may maintain a romantic relationship while lacking the desire for a sexual relationship. 

Foundational Ideas: Gender Identity

Gender Identity: One's inner sense of gender(s) or lack thereof. 

Gender Expression: How one expresses their gender physically.

Sex Assigned at Birth: The physical characteristic doctors used at your birth to fit you into the label of male or female. Some may use the terms "AFAB" (assigned female at birth) or "AMAB" (assigned male at birth) to describe their birth assignment.

Gender Binary: The concept that only two genders exist: female and male. 

Sex Binary: The concept that only two sexes exist: female and male. 

Gender Affirming Care: This refers to a variety of gender-confirming procedures such as hormone therapy(also known as HRT), top surgery, bottom surgery, and so on. Trans individuals may seek any number of these procedures, while others may have no interest in this.

Terminology: Sexual Orientation

LGBTQ+: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer. This acronym represents the queer community, with the Q enveloping lesser-known identities. Some people may also use GSM or LGBT, the former of which stands for Gender and Sexuality Minority.  The plus is representative of folks within the community not listed in the letter portion of the acronym. If we listed every single identity, this page would be thousands of characters long. We add the plus to remain inclusive of those identities. The acronym the Pride Center uses is LGBTQQIAAAP+2S

Gay: an adjective describing a male who is attracted sexually and/or romantically to other men. Some women also describe themselves as "gay." It can also be used as an umbrella term by some queer folks.

Lesbian: a noun for women who are attracted sexually and/or romantically to other women. 

Bisexual: an adjective describing someone who is attracted sexually and/or romantically to two or more genders. 

Pansexual: an adjective or noun describing someone for whom gender is irrelevant in matters of sexual and/or romantic attraction. 

Same Gender Loving: an adjective describing someone who is attracted romantically and/or sexually to the same gender. "SGL" originated in communities of color, and is thus a term reserved for people of color. 

Asexual: an adjective or noun describing someone who experiences little to no sexual attraction. The level of sexual attraction varies from asexual person to asexual person. Some asexual individuals may describe themselves as "ace," a general nickname, or "Grey A," which refers to asexual people who experience some sexual attraction. There are a multitude of names for various asexual identities. 

Questioning: an adjective describing someone who is questioning their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. It can also be an identity.

Queer: an adjective used to encompass the entire LGBTQ community. It may also be used as a specific identity. 

Terminology: Gender Identity

Transgender: an adjective used to describe those whose gender identity does not match their assigned sex. 

Cisgender: an adjective describing someone whose gender identity matches their assigned sex. This may be shortened to "cis." 

Trans: Many use "trans" as an abbreviation for "transgender."

Transsexual: A older term, referring to an individual who has undergone or sought out gender confirmation surgery. Depending on the Trans person, they may not like this term. It is best to just say Transgender if you are describing a Trans person unless they tell you this is their preferred term.

Non-binary: An adjective describing people who identify as neither solely female nor male. They could also identify with both, one identity with one a little bit, or something else entirely. It is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of transgender identities, such as genderqueer, genderfluid, agender, and so on. Some people who are genderqueer, genderfluid, etc. may not use the term non-binary to describe themselves.

Two-Spirit: A term used to describe multiple gender traditions in many Native cultures. Some may title this a third gender, although Two Spirit experience varies from individual to individual. "Two-Spirit" is a term coined by Native American communities, and is thus reserved for Native peoples' usage.  

Intersex: an adjective referring to individuals born with genitalia, anatomy, or chromosomes that do not match society's strict definitions of "female" or "male." 

Questioning: an adjective describing someone who is questioning their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. 

Terminology: Slurs

Note: Not all queer individuals consider these words "slurs." In fact, some members of the LGBTQ community have reclaimed historically offensive words and use them as identities. When in doubt, play it safe and avoid these terms. 

Term: faggot, fag, dyke 
Why not: These are demeaning words with a violent history. 

Term: "That's so gay!" 
Why not: The usage of "gay" as "stupid" implies that the queer community is a negative thing. 

Term: she-male, she-he, tranny 
Why not: These terms are used to dehumanize transgender women. They also echo a pornographic industry that objectifies trans women. 

Terms: "it" as pronouns, transvestite 
Why not: These terms are offensive and demeaning to transgender people.

Term: hermaphrodite 
Why not: The term "hermaphrodite" is not only inaccurate but also demeaning. The term "intersex" is preferable. 

Term: transmen, transwomen

Why not: The missing space between "trans" and "man/woman" implies that transgender women/men are not genuine women/men. 

Term: "How far along are you?" "What procedures have you had?" "What is your 'real' name?" 
Why not: These questions are invasive and unnecessary. If you wouldn't ask a cisgender person questions about their genitalia, don't ask a transgender person those questions. 

Term: real man, biological woman, natural man, etc. 

Why not: These terms imply that transgender people are "fake" men and women. It is preferable to use the term "cisgender" when referring to AMAB or AFAB people who match their assigned sex. 

Terminology: Gender Inclusive Pronouns

Some people use gender-inclusive pronouns rather than "she" or "he." This is why it's important to always request pronouns (sometimes called preferred gender pronouns, or PGPs) without assuming. Here (http://web.mit.edu/trans/GenderNeutralPronouns.pdf) are some common gender-inclusive pronouns and how to use them. 

For more on these topics and our References, look at these links


Check This Out!

Gender Positivity Workshop

When: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7
Where: Student Union 3105
Gender Positivity Workshop

Join Pride Center peer educator, Adam, as we discuss gender and the ways each individual might experience it. There will be a short, informative presentation on what gender is, followed by a workshop and discussion. Feel free to bring any art supplies you may like to enjoy this experience. 

From to at Student Union 3105.

View this event on UWL MyOrgs.

For questions about this event or to request disability accommodations (accessible seating, interpreting, closed captioning, FM systems, etc.), contact University Centers - MyOrgs at univcenters@uwlax.edu or 608.785.8888.

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