Definitions & Terminology

A list of helpful terms, definitionsand explanations on gender, identity, sexual orientation, gender expression and the LGBT community


Understanding the Gender Bread Person

THINGS WE ALL HAVE (an incomplete list)

Sexual Orientation - The inner feelings of who we are attracted or oriented to sexually, romantically, and emotionally.

Gender Identity – How we identify ourselves in terms of our gender.

Gender Expression – An individual’s physical characteristics, behaviors and presentation that are linked, traditionally, to masculinity, femininity, or gender, such as: appearance, dress, mannerisms, speech patterns and social interactions.

Pronouns –The part of speech used to refer to nouns or noun phrases. e.g. he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs. Objects—not people—use it/its. 

Feelings and Humanity

 

SEXUAL ORIENTATION IDENTITIES (an incomplete list)

Lesbian - A sexual orientation and/or identity of a person who identifies as a woman and who is sexually and emotionally attracted to some other women.

Gay – A sexual orientation and/or identity of a person who identifies as a man and who is sexually and emotionally attracted to some other men.

Bisexual – A sexual orientation and/or identity of a person who is sexually and emotionally attracted to some men and some women.

Queer - An umbrella term used to describe a sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression that does not conform to hetero-normative society. A reclaimed inclusive identity used widely to refer to all people not conforming to hetero-normative society.

Straight – A sexual orientation and/or identity of a person who identifies as a man and who is sexually and emotionally attracted to some other women; or of a person who identifies as a woman and who is sexually and emotionally attracted to some other men.

Asexual – A sexual orientation and/or identity of a person who does not feel sexual attraction.

Ally – An identity of a person who confronts homophobia, heterosexism, heterosexual privilege, biphobia, transphobia, and society’s gender norms in themselves and others on both a personal and institutional level. A friend of the LGBTQ community. 

 

GENDER IDENTITIES AND EXPRESSIONS (an incomplete list)

Man - Someone who identifies as a man.

Woman – Someone who identifies as a woman.

Trans*/ Transgender - An umbrella term and identity of persons whose gender identity is not aligned with the sex they were assigned at birth. The University of Missouri utilizes trans* as an umbrella term for people who transgress or transcend our normative notions of gender. There are many different ways to be trans and many identities fit under the transgender umbrella, including but not limited to: transsexual, genderqueer, two-spirit, third gender, agender, bigender, genderf*ck, crossdresser, boi, genderfluid, and more.

REMEMBER – ONLY YOU CAN DEFINE YOUR GENDER. HOW YOU’RE A WOMAN, MAN, NEITHER, BOTH…

Cisgender  - An identity of a person whose gender identity is aligned with the sex they were assigned at birth and whose gender expression more or less fits in with society’s roles and expectations of that gender.

Queer - An umbrella term used to describe a sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression that does not conform to hetero-normative society. A reclaimed inclusive identity used widely to refer to all people not conforming to hetero-normative society.

Transman – An identity of a person who identifies himself as falling within the transgender spectrum and lives his life as a man.

Transwoman – An identity of a person who identifies herself as falling within the transgender spectrum and lives her life as a woman.

Gender Non-Conforming – An identity or gender expression of a person who has gender characteristics and/or behaviors that do not conform to traditional or societal gender expectations.

Genderqueer – A person who often feels they don’t fit in society’s gender binary. Often but not always, this identity includes a political desire to challenge society’s gender norms and gender identities.

Two-spirit – In some Native American tribes, people who do not fit the traditional gender role (activities and/or gender or sexual/romantic partner) typically assigned to them. Depending on the tribe, they may be accepted as fitting a different and new gender role, as spiritual and religious leaders, or as living their life within the gender role typically assigned to others. *While this is also a chosen identity, it is racially, culturally, and historically insensitive for anyone not Native American to identify as Two-spirit.*

Intersex – A general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. e.g. at birth, appearing female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside; ambiguous genitalia (noticeably large clitoris, no vaginal opening, noticeably small penis, divided scrotum, etc); mosaic genetics (some XX chromosomes, some XY chromosomes); etc.

 

THINGS SOCIETY HAS (an incomplete list)

Transphobia – The societal & systematic discrimination and/or oppression of transgender people or those who are perceived to break or blur societal norms regarding gender identity or gender expression.

Homophobia – The societal & systematic discrimination and/or oppression of lesbian, gay or bisexual people.

Heterosexism/Hetero-normativity - Applies to attitudes, bias and discrimination in favor of heterosexual sexuality and relationships. It includes the presumption that everyone is heterosexual or that man/woman attractions and relationships are the norm and therefore superior. It is the belief that everyone is or should be straight.

Lots and lots of all different people.

 

 

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