LESBIAN: A woman attracted to a woman.
GAY: Men attracted to men. Colloquially used as an umbrella term to include all LGBTIQ people.
BISEXUAL or BI: A person who is attracted to two sexes or two genders, but not necessarily simultaneously or equally. This used to be defined as a person who is attracted to both genders or both sexes, but since there are not only two sexes (see intersex) and there are not only two genders (see transgender), this definition is inaccurate.
TRANSGENDER: Transgender (sometimes shortened to trans) people are those whose psychological self (“gender identity”) differs from the social expectations for the physical sex they were born with. To understand this, one must understand the difference between biological sex, which is one’s body (genitals, chromosomes, etc.), and social gender, which refers to levels of masculinity and femininity. Often, society conflates sex and gender, viewing them as the same thing. But, gender and sex are not the same thing.
An umbrella term for transsexuals, cross-dressers (transvestites), transgenderists, gender queers, and people who identify as neither female nor male and/or as neither a man or as a woman. Transgender is not a sexual orientation;transgender people may have any sexual orientation. It is important to acknowledge that while some people may fit under this definition of transgender, they may not identify as such.
QUEER: A political statement, as well as a sexual orientation, which advocates breaking binary thinking and seeing both sexual orientation and gender identity as potentially fluid. The term is a simple label to explain a complex set of sexual behaviors and desires. For example, a person who is attracted to multiple genders may identify as queer. Many older LGBT people feel the word has been hatefully used against them for too long and are reluctant to embrace it.
Can be used as an umbrella term to refer to all LGBTIQ people.
QUESTIONING: Questioning is very common when it comes to issues as complex as sexuality and gender. It is okay not to know what you think or where you fit. Just remember: you are not alone and there are many resources to help you.
INTERSEX: Intersex is a set of medical conditions that feature congenital anomaly of the reproductive and sexual system. That is, intersex people are born with “sex chromosomes,” external genitalia, or internal reproductive systems that are not considered “standard” for either male or female. The existence of intersexuals shows that there are not just two sexes and that our ways of thinking about sex (trying to force everyone to fit into either the male box or the female box) is socially constructed.
ASEXUAL: A person who is not sexually attracted to any gender.
ALLY: Someone who advocates for and supports members of a community other than their own. Reaching across differences to achieve mutual goals.