Resources

Key Gender & Sexual Diversity Definitions

Intersex:

An umbrella term that refers to a variety of chromosomal, hormonal, and anatomical conditions in which a person does not seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.

Gender Expression:

The external display of the gender of a person, through a combination of appearance, disposition, social behavior, and other factors, generally measured on a scale of masculinity and femininity.

Gender Norms:

A culturally-defined set of roles, responsibilities, rights, entitlements and obligations, associated with being a woman or man, as well as the power relations between and among women and men, boys and girls.

Gender Identity:

A person who has a deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth.

Transgender:

An umbrella term that refers to an individual whose gender identity is different from their sex assigned at birth.

Sexual Orientation:

An enduring emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction primarily or exclusively to people of a particular gender.

Heterosexuality:

An enduring emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction primarily or exclusively to people of a different gender. People who are hetero-sexual often identify as "straight."

Homosexuality:

An enduring emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction primarily or exclusively to people of the same gender. People who are homo-sexual often identify as "gay" or "lesbian."

Asexuality:

An enduring absence of sexual attraction.People who are asexual often identify as "asexual."

MSM:

Men who have sex with men. Men may be considered MSM if they engage in sex with other men, regardless of whether or not they identify as gay or bisexual.

LGBT:

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. This acronym is commonly used to refer to gender and sexual minority communities. Variation sexist that add, omit or reorder letters (e.g., LGBTI, LGB, GLBT).

GSM:

People whose gender, sexual orientation, or sexual characteristics differ from what is typically expected.

Homophobia / Trans phobia:

Fear, rejection, or aversion, often in the form of stigmatizing attitudes or discriminatory behavior, towards homosexuality or transgenderism.

Heteronormativity:

The presumption that everyone is hetero-sexual or the belief that heterosexual people are naturally superior to gender and sexual minorities.

Closeted:

The state of secrecy or cautious privacy regarding the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person (also referred to as being "in the closet")

Coming out:

The personal process of accepting and disclosing to others that one is LGBT or a gender or sexual minority.