Terms and Definitions
What do the letters LGBTQQIA stand for?
Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Questioning Intersex Ally
What do the colors of the rainbow flag mean?
Gilbert Baker designed the first Rainbow Flag in 1978. It was based on the five-striped “Flag of the Race” and was originally designed with eight stripes: pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Those colors represented: sexuality, life, healing, sun, nature, art, harmony, and spirit. However, the colors pink and indigo were eventually taken out, and today we use the rainbow flag with six stripes.
What other symbols does the LGBTQQIA community have?
Please reference this great website for more information. http://www.lambda.org/symbols.htm
What does ________ mean?
- Ally: Anyone who is politically aligned with the Queer movement.
- BDSM: Bondage and Domination (Discipline), Sadomasochism (Sadism and Masochism). The BDSM community provides a safe exploration of power relationships in sexual situations.
- Bear Community: A gay man that generally has one or more of the following traits; a hairy chest and body, a beard, wide shoulders, husky build, beefy, more masculine. The exact definition of what a bear look like varies from person to person. A defining quality of a bear is that they do not fit into contemporary gay culture, or the stereotypical gay image. Cubs, Otters, Bears, Chasers, Ursophiles and Chubs are all members of the bear community.
- Boi: In the gay male arena: a young gay man ; in the BDSM arena: a butch who is a submissive or sexual bottom; in the butch-femme arena: a chronologically or behaviorally young butch; in the lesbian arena: someone with a female birthsex who identifies as a male.
- Biphobia: Irrational fear or hatred of individuals who identify as bisexual. This fear may stem from things a belief the bisexual identity is not an authentic Queer identity, a resentment at the bisexual’s heterosexual privileges, or a concern that the bisexual is harbinger of disease from Queer communities into the heterosexual communities.
- Birthsex: You come out of your mom, the doctor says “it’s a boy,” or “it’s a girl.” One’s birthsex is on their birth certificate, but does not necessarily reflect gender identity.
- Bisexual: A fluid identity, describing sexual, emotional and physical attraction to both sexes or to many genders. This term becomes problematic in cross-cultural studies and should be used only with other people from the United States, pending your further cultural competence research.
- Colored: Never use this word to describe anyone’s ethnicity. Use people of color.
- Coming out: The process of coming to terms with one’s sexual and/or gender identity or identities. It can describe an internal process, describing the internal decisions to take on a sexual or gender identity. It can be an external process, describing the process of disclosing sexual and gender identity to friends, family, co-workers, etc. It can also be a process we are not aware that we do on a daily basis. See heterosexual privilege.
- Cross-dressing: Adopting the dress of another gender. Cross-dressers are mainly heterosexual men, but can also be men of other sexual orientations and gender identities. The older term transvestite is considered by many to be offensive. Cross dressers differ from transsexuals in that they do not necessarily wish to change their sex.
- Cultural appropriation: The theft of rituals, aesthetic standards and behavior from one culture by another, generally by a "modern" culture from a "primitive" culture — often this involves the conversion of religion and spirituality into pop-culture. If you're going to borrow or even just draw inspiration from another culture, you should educate yourself thoroughly to avoid stepping on toes.
- Drag: The adoption of clothing and roles of another gender for the purposes of play, entertainment, or eroticism. Originally used to refer to “drag queens” (DRessed as A Girl), there are also a number of “drag kings.” Drag performers are not crossdressers, who adopt the clothing of another gender outside of the context of entertainment or performance.
- DSM-IV: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is the handbook used most often in diagnosing mental disorders in the United States and other countries. It was published in 1952, 1968, 1980 and 1994. December 15, 1973, the board of the American Psychiatric Association voted 13-0 to remove homosexuality from its official list of psychiatric disorders.
- Dyke: A derogatory word for people who are lesbians. This term is sometimes reclaimed in younger generations as a symbol of pride to empower lesbian communities.
- Ethnicity: Of or relating to large groups of people classed according to common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, cultural origin, or background; being a member of an ethnic group.
- Faggot: A derogatory word for people who are gay. This term came into use in times of witch burnings. Male homosexuals were thought to be the assistants of witches, and their bodies were used as fuel for the fires that burned witches.
- Gay: Someone who is male-identified who seeks to be emotionally, spiritually and/or physically involved with other people who are male-identified.
- Gender: A person’s expression and/or presentation of some combination of socially constructed ideas defining masculine and/or feminine characteristics.
- Gender Binary: The prevalent construction of boyness and girlness; the concept that there are only two genders.
- Genderfuck: Someone whose gender expression is a political commentary on the conventions of a gender binary system.
- Gender Dysphoria: A strong and persistent cross-gender identification and a persistent discomfort with his or her sex or a sense of inappropriateness in the gender role of that sex . . . include(s) a variety of individuals--those who desire only castration or penectomy without a desire to develop breasts; those with a congenital intersex condition; those with transient stress-related cross-dressing; those with considerable ambivalence about giving up their gender roles.
- Gender Queer: Someone whose gender expression is consciously not consistent with conventional standards for masculine and feminine behavior.
- Gender Expression/Presentation: The external presentation of a person’s gender (e.g. dress, mannerisms, hair style, speech, etc.). A person’s gender expression may differ from their gender identity.
- Gender Identity: A person’s personal view of their own gender. A person’s gender identity may or may not conform to the conventional expectations for their birth sex.
- Grrl: Third-wave, counter-culture feminists.
- Hermaphrodite: An offensive word. See Intersex.
- Heterosexual: People who seek emotional, physical and/or spiritual relationships with other people of the opposite sex or gender expression. Also, people who are a very important part of great panels.
- Heterosexism: To perceive heterosexuality as “normal,” negating the Queer experience in whole or in part. Example: “Leave it to Beaver is heterosexist: There is no representation of Queer folks on that show.”
- Herteronormative: The assumption that there are no alternatives to heterosexuality.
- Hir: Pronounced “here.” Hir is a third person possessive or objective pronoun that is used in lieu of his/his’ and her/her’s. Do not use this pronoun to refer to someone until you do some research on the transgender community.
- HIV/AIDS: HIV stands for Human Imuno-deficiency Virus. The original transmission of HIV came through the infected blood of a chimp that was butchered for consumption. HIV is only communicable through direct contact with blood, semen, cervical/vaginal secretions, breast milk, but CANNOT be transmitted through bronchial fluid and sweat. HIV is also not communicable through social kissing, tattooing, inanimate objects, workplace settings or hugs. An estimated 5 million people are infected with HIV throughout the world. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Whereas a disease is a pathological condition with a single identifiable cause, a syndrome – like AIDS - is a group of symptoms that together are characteristic of a specific condition. In its history, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) defined AIDS five different times. Since 1993 the CDC recognizes and individual with AIDS as someone who has HIV antibodies and a T-cell count of less than 200 per liter of blood or one opportunistic infection. A healthy T-cell count ranges between 500 and 1600 cells per liter of blood. Kaposi’s sarcoma, cervical cancer, pneumonia and herpes are all examples of opportunistic infections, or organisms and viruses that are normally present but do not cause disease unless the immune system is damaged. An estimated 40 million people are infected with AIDS.
- Homophobia: An irrational fear or hatred of people who identify as homosexual. This fear may stem from the out-of-date belief that homosexuality is a mental illness, from personal religious beliefs about the post mortem fate of homosexuals, from the incorrect belief that homosexuals are responsible for AIDS, etc.
- Homosexual: People who seek emotional, physical and/or spiritual relationships with other people of the same gender.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy: The process of taking hormones to achieve the secondary sex characteristics of the desired sex. “T” is common short hand for the male hormone testosterone.
- Intersex: An individual whose biological birth does not correspond with conventional expectations of male/female anatomy or genetics. Some intersexuals consider themselves transgender and some do not. The older term, hermaphrodite, is considered by many to be offensive.
- Internalized Homophobia, Internalized Transphobia, Internalized Biphoba: Self-hatred at one’s own identity as result of “believing,” or internalizing the negative stereotypes of one’s identity.
- In the Closet: A term used to refer to people who have not revealed their sexual or gender identity/identities either to themselves or others.
- Lesbian: A woman-identified person who seeks emotional, spiritual and/or physical relationships with other woman-identified people.
- Men who have sex with Men (MSM): Men, regardless of their sexual identity or orientation engage in sexual activity with men.
- Omnisexual: An attraction to many genders; an alternative to bisexual, which evokes the idea of an attraction to only two genders.
- Oppression: Occurs when social privilege is denied.
- Oppression Olympics: Although it is imperative to acknowledge all of the various identities we encompass as individuals; it is equally important that we do not allow this to devolve into a competition of who is oppressed more.
- Pansexual: Another alternative to bisexual and omnisexual.
- It’s a ‘Pat’: This phrase developed from a Saturday Night Live character who’s ambiguous gender is the source many jokes and tittering discomfort. Never use this phrase to describe transgender people; it is completely derogatory.
- Perceived Gender: What another person assumes one’s gender is in a given interaction. Some people’s gender expressions can be misinterpreted or confused and perceived as different from the person’s identity.
- Polyamory: The non-possessive, honest, responsible and ethical philosophy and practice of loving multiple people simultaneously. Polyamory emphasizes consciously choosing how many partners one wishes to be involved with rather than accepting social norms which dictate loving only one person at a time. Polyamory embraces sexual equality and all sexual orientations towards an expanded circle of spousal intimacy and love. Polyamory is from the root words Poly meaning many and Amour meaning love hence "many loves" or Polyamory.
- Prejudice: Inaccurate and negative beliefs about another group and its members without basis in fact. It is often based on stereotypes and can occur on a conscious or unconscious level.
- Queer: Originally pejorative for gay, it is now being reclaimed by some gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered persons as a self-affirming umbrella term. Caution: still extremely offensive when used as an epithet, especially among older Queers.
- Queerphobia: See homophobia.
- Questioning: Someone who is exploring their Queer potential.
- Race words: Be very careful using these as a speaker. Never say “colored” to substitute an identity. Ask your facilitator if you don’t know why. Always ask yourself if it is it necessary or relevant to you one of your stories that you have a Black or a Latina friend? Ask your facilitator for an example if you don’t understand. Always ask your friends and people you associate with how they identify, before assigning labels to them. Never make assumptions, even if you think the identification is obvious. For example, you may think you have an African-American friend, but your friend may be of Haitian ascendancy.
- Sex: A medical term: Boy or Girl.
- Sex reassignment surgery: Surgery for the purpose of having a body more consistent with one’s gender identity. Sex reassignment surgery can be quite costly and not everyone who desires sex reassignment surgery has equal access.
- Sexual Behavior: Describes an individual’s preferences in sexual attachments/relationships. Sexual behavior does not determine one’s sexual orientation. For example, a celibate lesbian (one who does not have sex at all) is still a lesbian.
- Sexual Orientation: The gender or genders of the people one chooses to form romantic relationships/sexual attachments to. Gender identity and sexual orientation are very different. Additionally, transpeople can be gay, lesbian, straight, queer, bisexual or pansexual.
- Social Privilege: A right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by certain people beyond the common advantage of all others; an exemption in many particular cases from certain burdens or liabilities. Example: A special advantage or benefit; with reference to divine dispensations, natural advantages, gifts of fortune, genetic endowments, social relations, etc. A person can enjoy certain privileges based on things like their race, ethnicity, ability, body size, sexual orientation, etc.
- Standards of Care: Organizational professional consensus about the psychiatric, psychological, medical, and surgical management of gender identity disorders. Professionals may use this document to understand the parameters within which they may offer assistance to those with these conditions. Persons with gender identity disorders, their families, and social institutions may use the SOC to understand the current thinking of professionals. Outlines hormone therapy, the real-life test, etc. http://www.hbigda.org/socv6sm.pdf
- Tokenize: The policy or practice of making only a symbolic effort. For example, you are the only (out) Queer student in your class. Your professor, to create the illusion of a diverse discussion, asks you to fill in the gay parts of a discussion on Oscar Wilde.
- Transgender: A term used to describe the people whose gender identity is not adequately described by the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender is also used in some communities to describe all gender-variant people.
- Transphobia: The irrational fear or hatred of people who identify as Transgender. This fear may stem from the incorrect belief that transgender people have a psychological disorder, the incorrect belief that they are confused, etc.
- Two-Spirit: A term used some Native American people to empower themselves. The term comes from specific traditional and cultural gender identities historically used in various Native American nations. Describes transgenderism in terms of sensing one’s internal balances of spiritual forces. See also Cultural Appropriation.
- Tranny: Slang word used by the transgender in-crowd to refer to themselves. Ask you transgender friend if you can use it. That’s a joke. See Tokenize.
- Transition: The period during which transsexual persons begin changing their appearances and bodies to match their internal gender identity.
- Transsexual: A person who does not identify with the sex they were originally assigned.
- Transvestite: An offensive word. See crossdresser.
- Twink: originally, was an acronym for T.W.I.N.K - Teenage, White, Into No Kink. Referring to young or youthful, homosexual males, with little or no body hair, and semi-athletic or thin build.
- Zie: Pronounced “zee.” Zie is a third person subjective pronoun that is used in lieu of she and he. Do not use this pronoun to refer to someone until you have invested significant time in researching trans issues.