Sexual & Romantic Orientation


+ Asexual

An asexual is an individual who does not experience sexual attraction, or experiences such a low level of sexual attraction that they do not consider it to be notable.

Asexuality is not celibacy; as people choose who are celibate may experience sexual attraction, but not necessarily act on it.

As all sexualities, diversity among the asexual community means that each individual may experience asexuality differently. Some individuals who identify as Asexual may, or may not masturbate, have sex, create relationships or hold the same definition of Asexuality.

+ Bisexual

Describes a person who is attracted to both men and women. Because bisexual assumes a binary, male/female paradigm, many individuals now use the term pansexual.

+ Demisexual

Demisexuality is a sexual orientation in which someone feels sexual attraction only to people with whom they have an emotional bond. Most demisexuals feel sexual attraction rarely compared to the general population, and some have little to no interest in sexual activity.

+ Gay

A man or boy who is emotionally, romantically, sexually, affectionately, or relationally attracted to other men, or who identifies as a member of the gay community. At times, “gay” is used to refer to all people, regardless of sex, who have their primary sexual and or romantic attractions to people of the same sex. Lesbians and bisexuals may feel excluded by the term “gay.”

+ Heterosexual or Straight

A person who is emotionally, romantically, sexually, affectionately, or relationally attracted to members of the opposite sex. Often called a straight person.

+ Homosexual

The clinical term, coined in the field of psychology, for people with a same-sex sexual attraction. The word is often associated with the idea that same-sex attractions are a mental disorder, and is therefore offensive to some people.

+ Lesbian

A woman or girl who is emotionally, romantically, sexually, affectionately, or relationally attracted to other women, or someone who identifies as a member of the lesbian community. Bisexual women may or may not feel included by this term.

+ MSM

An abbreviation for men who have sex with men. This term emphasizes the behavior, rather than the identities of the individuals involved.

+ Pansexual

A person who is emotionally, romantically, sexually, affectionately, or relationally attracted to people regardless of their gender identity or biological sex. Use of the term usually signals a repudiation of the concept of binary sexes (a concept implied by “bisexual”).

+ Queer

Queer is a term that has been reclaimed by members of the GSD community. The term describes people who transgress culturally imposed norms of heterosexuality and gender traditionalism. Although still often an abusive slur, many queer-identified people have taken back the word to use it as a symbol of pride and affirmation of difference and diversity.

+ Questioning

The process of examining one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Can be used as an adjective.

+ Romantic Orientation

Romantic orientation refers to an individual's pattern of romantic attraction based on a person's gender. This is considered distinct from sexual orientation, which refers specifically to a person patterns of sexual attraction, which is distinct from romantic attraction.

  • Aromantic: individuals who do not experience romantic attraction toward individuals of any gender(s)
  • Biromantic: romantic attraction toward males and females
  • Heteroromantic: romantic attraction toward person(s) of a different gender
  • Homoromantic: romantic attraction towards person(s) of the same gender
  • Panromantic: romantic attraction towards persons of every gender(s)
  • Polyromantic: romantic attraction toward multiple, but not all genders
  • Gray-romantic: individuals who do not often experience romantic attraction
  • Demiromantic: an individual who does not experience romantic attraction until after a close emotional bond has been formed. People who refer to themselves as demiromantic may choose to further specify the gender(s) of those they are attracted to (e.g. demi-homoromantic).

+ Same Gender Loving (SGL)

A term some prefer to use instead of lesbian, gay or bisexual to express attraction to and love of people of the same gender.

+ Sexual Orientation

The nature of an individual's physical, romantic, emotional and/or spiritual attraction to another person. Can involve fantasy, behavior, and self-identification. Includes (among others) a same-sex orientation, male-female orientation, a bisexual orientation, and a pansexual orientation. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Trans and gender-variant people may identify with any sexual orientation, and their sexual orientation may or may not change before, during or after gender transition.

  • Allosexual:Someone who experiences sexual attraction.
  • Asexual:An asexual is an individual who does not experience sexual attraction, or experiences such a low level of sexual attraction that they do not consider it to be notable.
  • Bisexual:The sexual attraction towards the same gender, and gender(s) different than your own.
  • Demisexual: Someone who identifies as Demisexual, does not experience sexual attraction until they form a strong emotional connection with someone.
  • Gay:A term that can either be used as an umbrella term for anyone who sexually, or romantically is attracted to someone of the same-sex or same-gender. The second definition is used to exclusively refer to someone who is male-identified, who romantically or sexually is attracted to other male-identified individuals.
  • Heterosexuality: This is a sexual attraction to the “opposing” sex/gender. Typically this means a female/women attracted to male/men, and vice versa.
  • Omnisexual:An individual who identifies as Omnisexual may have an equal attraction to everyone and/or have no gender preference.
  • Pansexual:Pan sexuality is a sexual orientation used to describe an individual who feels they are sexually, and/or romantically attracted to all genders, based on an individual's personality.
  • Polysexual:The sexual attraction to numerous, but not every gender/s.

+ WSW

An abbreviation for women who have sex with women. This term emphasizes the behavior, rather than the identities of the individuals involved.

Gender & Sex


+Androgynous

Identifying and/or presenting as neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine.

+ AFAB

Assigned Female At Birth

+ Agender

Someone who does not identify with any sort of gender identity. This term may also be used by someone who intentionally has no recognizable gender presentation. Some people use similar terms such as “genderless” and “gender neutral”.

+ AMAB

Assigned Male At Birth

+ Assigned Sex

The sex/gender one is considered to be at birth based on a cursory examination of external genitalia. Assigned sexes might include male (AMAB), female (AFAB), or intersex.

+ Bi-Gender

Describes individuals who identify as having both a “male” and “female” side to their personalities.A bigender identity is a combination of these two genders, but not necessarily a 50/50 combination, as these genders are often felt – and expressed - fully. Similar to individuals who identify as gender fluid, bigender people may present as men, as women, or as gender-neutral ways on different days.

+ Birth Sex/Biological Sex

A biological term dividing a species into male or female, usually on the basis of sex chromosomes (XX = female, XY = male); hormone levels, secondary sex characteristics, and internal and external genitalia may also be considered criteria. Birth Sex can also be Intersex.

+ Cisgender

A term used to describe a person whose gender identity aligns with those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth.

+ FTM

An abbreviation for female-to-male transsexual. This person most likely prefers masculine pronouns.

+ Gender

A binary sociological construct defining the collection of characteristics that are culturally associated with maleness or femaleness; masculine and feminine make up gender just as male and female comprise sex.

+ Genderbread Person / The Gender Unicorn

THE GENDERBREAD PERSON IS AN INFOGRAPHIC THAT BREAKS DOWN GENDER IDENTITY, GENDER EXPRESSION, BIOLOGICAL SEX, AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION INTO AN EASY TO UNDERSTAND VISUAL.

+ Gender Dysphoria

Clinically significant distress caused when a person's assigned birth gender is not the same as the one with which they identify. According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the term - which replaces Gender Identity Disorder - "is intended to better characterize the experiences of affected children, adolescents, and adults."

+ Gender Expression

The external manifestation of one's gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut, voice or body characteristics.

+ Gender Fluid

Someone whose gender identity and presentation are not confined to only one gender category. Gender fluid people may have dynamic or fluctuating understandings of their gender, moving between categories as feels right. For example, a gender fluid person might feel more like a man one day and more like a woman on another day, or that neither term is a good fit.

+ Gender Identity

One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One's gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.

+ Gender Non-Conforming

A broad term referring to people who do not behave in a way that conforms to the traditional expectations of their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category.

+ Gender Role

Clothing, characteristics, traits and behaviors culturally associated with masculinity and/or femininity, which varies from culture to culture.

+ Gender Transition

The process by which some people strive to more closely align their internal knowledge of gender with its outward appearance. Some people socially transition, whereby they might begin dressing, using names and pronouns and/or be socially recognized as another gender. Others undergo physical transitions in which they modify their bodies through medical interventions.

+ Gender Variant

A term that describes individuals who stray from socially accepted gender roles.

+ Gender-Expansive

Conveys a wider, more flexible range of gender identity and/or expression than typically associated with the binary gender system.

+ Genderqueer

Describes individuals who possess identities that fall outside of the widely accepted sexual binary.

+ Intersex

Term used for a variety of medical conditions in which a person is born with chromosomes, genitalia, and/or secondary sexual characteristics that are inconsistent with the typical definition of a male or female body. The term disorders of sex development (DSD) also describes these conditions. Replaces the inaccurate term “hermaphrodite.”

+ MTF

An abbreviation for male-to-female transsexual. This person most likely prefers feminine pronouns.

+ Neutrois

An umbrella term within the bigger umbrella terms of transgender or genderqueer. Includes people who do not identify within the binary gender system (i.e., man/woman). According to Neutrois.com, some common Neutrois identities include agender, neither-gender, and gender-less.

+ Nonbinary

Non-binary (also termed genderqueer or gender-expansive) is a catch-all category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine; identities which are thus outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity.

+ Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS)

A procedure that physically transforms the genitals using plastic surgery. SRS is a single surgical alteration and is only one small part of transition. Not all transgender people choose to, or can afford to, have SRS. While this procedure is often referred to as a sex change operation in popular culture, SRS is the preferred term. An even better term coming into popular use is Gender Confirmation Surgery.

+ Third Gender

A term for those who belong to a category other than masculine or feminine. For example, Native American two-spirit people,hijira in India, kathoeys in Thailand, and travestis in Brazil.

+ Transfeminine

Someone assigned a male sex at birth who identifies as feminine, but may not identify wholly as a woman. Often, you’ll encounter the phrase “feminine of center” to indicate where people who identify as transfeminine see themselves in relation to other genders.

+ Transgender

An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is periodically or permanently different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. In its general sense, it refers to anyone whose behavior or identity falls outside of stereotypical expectations for their gender. Transgender people may identify as straight, gay, bisexual, or some other sexual orientation. Sometimes shortened as trans or trans*.

+ Transmasculine

Someone assigned a female sex at birth and who identifies as masculine, but may not identify wholly as a man. Often, you’ll encounter the phrase “masculine of center” to indicate where people who identify as transmasculine see themselves in relation to other genders.

+ Two-Spirit

Contemporary term chosen to describe Native American and Canadian First Nation people who identify with a third gender, implying a masculine and a feminine spirit in one body. Replaces the offensive term berdache. (Recently, Germany and Nepal adopted a third gender option for citizens to select).

GSD Culture - Oppressions & Triumphs


+ Ally

A person who supports and respects sexual diversity, acts accordingly to challenge homophobic and heterosexist remarks and behaviors, and is willing to explore and understand these forms of bias within him or herself. Often describes a heterosexual individual, but can also be within the community (i.e. a cis gay man who is an ally to trans people, etc.)

+ Biphobia

Fear of, hatred of, or discomfort with people who are bisexual.

+ Cisgender Privilege

The "set of unearned advantages that individuals who identify as the gender they were assigned at birth accrue solely due to having a cisgender identity".

Check out this list of of 30 cisgender privileges

+ Closeted or "In the Closet"

Used as slang for the state of not publicizing one’s sexual identity, keeping it private, living an outwardly heterosexual life while identifying as LGBT, or not being forthcoming about one’s identity. At times, being in the closet also means not wanting to admit one’s sexual identity to oneself.

+ Coming Out

The process by which lesbians, gay men and bisexual people recognize, acknowledge, accept and typically appreciate their sexual identities.

+ DSG

Diverse Genders and Sexualities

+ GSD

Gender and Sexual Diversity (replaces GSM - Gender and Sexual Minorities)

+ Heteronormativity

Processes through which social institutions and policies reinforce the notion that there are only two possibilities for sex, gender, and sexual attraction: male/masculine/attracted to women and female/feminine/attracted to men.

+ Heterosexism

Norms and behaviors that result from the assumption that all people are or should be heterosexual. This system of oppression assumes that heterosexuality is inherently normal and superior and negates GSD peoples’ lives and relationships.

+ Homophobia

Literally, the fear of homosexuals and homosexuality; however, this term is generally applied to anyone who dislikes GSD people, who uses derogatory sexuality- or gender-based terms, or who feels that GSD people want “special rights” and not “equal rights.” Homophobic behavior can range from telling jokes about lesbians and gay men to verbal abuse and even acts of physical violence. Because most GSD people are raised in the same society as heterosexuals, they learn the same beliefs and stereotypes prevalent in the dominant society, leading to a phenomenon known as internalized homophobia.

+ Living openly, Out, or Out of the Closet

A state in which GSD people are comfortably out about their sexual orientation or gender identity – where and when it feels appropriate to them.

+ LGBTQ

LGBTQ is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer and/or questioning (sometimes with a “+” at the end in an effort to be more inclusive)

+ Outing

When someone discloses information about another’s sexual orientation or gender identity without that person’s knowledge and/or consent.

+ QUILTBAG

Queer (or Questioning), Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans, Bisexual, Asexual (or Allied) and Gay (or Genderqueer)

+ Sexism

The societal/cultural, institutional and individual beliefs and practices that privilege men and subordinate and denigrate (trans and cis) women.

+ Sexuality

The complex range of components which make us sexual beings; includes emotional, physical, and sexual aspects, as well as self-identification (including sexual orientation and gender), behavioral preferences and practices, fantasies, and feelings of affection and emotional affinity.

+ To Pass

To represent one’s self as a member of a social group other than one’s own. For example, a lesbian who passes for straight, or a AMAB person who is perceived to be a woman.

+ Trans-friendly

Friendly - Describes organizations or institutions that are open, affirming and accepting of transpeople and their social, political and cultural needs.

+ Transphobia

The Irrational fear of, hatred of, or discomfort with people who are transgender or otherwise gender non-normative.