Ally - A non-lesbian, gay man or bisexual whose attitudes and behaviors are anti-heterosexist in perspective and who works towards combating homophobia and heterosexism, both on a personal and institutional level.
Bicurious - A curiousity about sexual relations with a member of the same gender. A person who contemplates a sexual interest in both sexes.
Bisexual - Person with emotional and sexual attraction to both men and women, not necessarily at the same time or to the same extent.
Closeted - Hiding one's sexual orientation.
Coming Out - Process of recognizing and acknowledging non-heterosexual orientation to oneself and then disclosing it to others. Generally occurs is stages and is a non-linear process.
Crossdresser - Formerly called transvestites. Typically men (mostly heterosexual) who sometimes wear opposite-gender clothing for personal reasons. There are some women who crossdress also.
Dyke - Originally used as disparaging term for a lesbian. A disparaging term for a woman, most often for a feminist; most often used as a personal attack. Within recent years some women who openly identifying as lesbians have begun using the word politically in order to remove the negative connotation from it.
Family of Choice - Persons forming an individual's close social support network, often fulfilling the function of blood relatives. Many gay persons are rejected when families learn of their sexual orientation, while others may remain closeted to biological relatives. In such cases, it is the families of choice who will be called upon in times of illness or personal crisis.
Family of Origin - Biological family or the family in which one was raised. May or may not be a part of a person's support system.
Gay - Common word for men with emotional and sexual attraction to other men, but often used in reference to both genders.
Gay/Lesbian Baiting - Any attempt to control a person by accusing them of being gay or lesbian because their behavior is not acceptable.
Gender Identity - One's psychological sense of oneself as a male or female.
Gender Roles - Socially constructed and culturally specific behaviors and appearance expectations imposed on men and women.
Gender Variant - Those who can’t or choose not to conform to societal gender norms associated with their physical sex.
GLBT - Acronym for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender. Sometimes shown as LGBT.
Hate Crime - Any act of intimidation, harassment, physical force or threat of physical force directed against any person, or their property, motivated either in whole or in part by hostility to their real or perceived race, ethnic background, religious belief, sex, age, disability, or sexual orientation, with the intention of causing fear or intimidation, or to deter the free exercise or enjoyment of any rights or privileges secured by the Constitution or the laws of that state.
Heterosexism - Institutionalized assumption that everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is inherently superior to and preferable to homosexuality or bisexuality.
Heterosexual - Person with emotional and sexual attraction to persons of the opposite gender.
Homophobia - Irrational fear or hatred of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuals or homosexual behavior.
Homosexual - Person with emotional and sexual attraction to persons of the same gender.
Inclusive Language - Use of gender non-specific language to avoid imposing the limiting assumption of heterosexuality and to present an open social climate for non-heterosexuals.
Internalized Homophobia - Experience of shame, aversion, or self-hatred in reaction to one’s own feelings of attraction for a person of the same sex.
Intersexed - Formerly called hermaphrodites. People born with chromosomal and/or physiological anomalies, and/or ambiguous genitalia. Many are surgically "normalized" by their parents, which can result in the lack of sexual response in adulthood.
Lesbian - Woman with emotional and sexual attraction to persons of the same gender.
MTF and FTM - People categorized by gender vector male-to-female or female-to-male as they transition.
Pansexual - One who exhibits or suggests a sexuality that has many different forms, objects, and outlets. One who exhibits many forms of sexual expression. Pansexual is a broader term than bisexual because it includes not only loving both men and women but also transgendered people and gender fluid people who do not feel they fit into categories of male or female.
Partner - Primary domestic partner or spousal relationship among same gender couples.
Queer - A term that has historically been used as a derogatory term for GLBT persons. More recently some GLBT persons have reclaimed the word to express inclusiveness and pride in the GLBT community.
Safe Space - A place where gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals feel comfortable and secure in being who they are. In this place, they can talk about the people with whom they are involved without fear of being criticized, judged or ridiculed. It is representative of a move for gay, lesbian and bisexual rights; but rather than being geared toward political rights, it is focused toward the right to be comfortable in one’s living space, work environments, etc. It is focused toward the right to use the pronoun of a significant other in conversation, and the right to be as outwardly open about one’s life and activities as anyone else.
Sexual Orientation - An enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, or affectional attraction that a person feels toward another person. Sexual orientation falls along a continuum.
Stonewall & Pride Celebrations - On June 28, 1969, a routine raid on the Stonewall Bar (shown here with a few of its patrons) on Christopher Street in New York City turned into a riot when patrons resisted. The patrons barricaded themselves in the bar. The riot escalated until reinforcements arrived. The riots continued for several evenings. This rebellion, begun by drag queens and bar patrons, marked the beginning of the modern gay and lesbian movement. Each June, Pride marches, rallies and celebrations are held throughout the nation commemorating Stonewall.
Transsexual - Individual who presents him/herself, and lives as the gender opposite to his/her genetic gender at birth. Transsexuals may be heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual in the erotic orientation.
Transgender - Broad term used to describe the continuum of individuals whose gender identity and expression, to varying degrees, does not correspond with their genetic sex.
Transvestite - Man or woman who enjoys wearing the clothes of and appearing as the other gender. While many transvestites are heterosexual, the use of transvestitism in the gay “drag” culture is well documented.