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Advocate
(Noun) Someone who calls attention to a social problem and asks people with authority (lawmakers, school board members, etc.) to address that problem.

(Verb) To call attention to a social problem and to work actively toward a positive change that addresses that problem.

Ally
Someone who is not a member of a group that tends to be discriminated against (such as people who identify as LGBTQ) but who works to support members of that group.

Androgynous
This term describes someone or something that is gender neutral or non-gendered. It can refer to things like clothing or social status.

Bedarche
A person in Native American culture who is both masculine and feminine. Also known as two-spirited.

Bi-curious
A term that refers to someone who is primarily attracted to people of a different sex, but who has romantic or sexual thoughts about people of the same sex.

Bisexual
A person who is attracted to males and females.

Breeder
A slang term for a heterosexual person that is usually derogatory.

Butch
A gender role meaning mostly masculine and tough. Both guys and girls can be called “butch,” but generally it applies to women and may be used in a derogatory way. This term is also sometimes used to mean “lesbian,” although not all lesbians are masculine or identify as “butch.”

Cisgender
A term that describes a person whose gender identity matches their biological sex.

Closeted
A term that refers to a person who does not tell others their sexual orientation or gender identity. Sometimes referred to as being “in the closet.”

Come Out
When a person acknowledges that he or she is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and shares it with others.

Cross dresser
A person who dresses in clothing that is typically associated with a different gender. Also known as a transvestite, which is typically used in a derogatory way.

Drag
Dressing up as someone of a different sex, or as the same sex in an exaggerated manner. A drag queen is a man who dresses as a woman and a drag king is a woman who dresses like a man. Often people who perform in drag have a stage name and impersonate famous figures by singing and doing comedy for an audience.

Fag/faggot
Two very derogatory and pejorative terms for a gay man. These terms are as unacceptable as racial, sexist, religious or any other types of slurs

Gay
Being sexually and romantically attracted to people of one’s same sex. It can refer to men or women, although many gay women will use the term “lesbian.” Also known as homosexual, which some gay people feel is a derogatory word because homosexuality used to be a diagnosable mental illness.

Gaydar
A term used to describe a person’s self-proclaimed ability to, based on stereotypes, determine whether someone is lesbian, gay or bisexual. For example, a person might say, “Wow, I was really surprised to find out that he was gay; my gaydar did not go off at all around him.” Often used as a good-natured term by people of all orientations although it may be offensive by some people as having “gaydar” relies on stereotypes.

Gender
This refers to the social and cultural norms related to what it means to be masculine or feminine and one’s gender identity. A person’s gender identity may or may not be related to their biological sex. This term is often used interchangeably with sex. However, sex is biological and refers to being female or male.

Gender Identity
A person’s inner feelings and understanding about being a man, a woman, neither or a combination. Sometimes, these feelings will match one’s sex organs, called being cisgender. Or a person may be transgender, meaning their inner sense and understanding of their gender does not match their sex organs.

Gender Neutral
When the gender of a person or something that can be used by people is not specified or could apply to people of any gender. For example, the terms “spouse” and “partner” are gender-neutral alternatives to the gender-specific words “husband” and “wife.” Public restrooms that do not have the label “men’s room” or “women’s room” are gender neutral and can be used by a person of any gender.

Genderqueer
A way of describing one’s gender that does not include the current terms of man, woman or transgender. Similar to how some people have taken back the negativity of the term queer because they don’t feel the categories of sexual orientation describe accurately who they are, someone who identifies as “genderqueer” may not feel like the terms man, woman or transgender accurately reflect how they feel.

GLBTQ
The acronym for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (or questioning). Also known as LGBTQ.

Heteroflexibility
An expression of sexual identity, though not usually used to identify sexual orientation. For most people this term means they are typically in a heterosexual romantic relationship but also are open to having sexual experiences or romantic relationships with people of different genders.

Heterosexual
Being sexually and romantically attracted to someone of a different sex.

Homophobia
An irrational fear, hatred or prejudice toward people who are or who are perceived to be gay, lesbian or bisexual.

Homosexual
An historically derogatory term that refers to being sexually and romantically attracted to a person of the same sex. Also known as gay, lesbian or queer.

Intersex
A person born with a combination of genitals and/or chromosomes that are different from an XY male with a penis and testicles or an XX female with a vulva, vagina and ovaries. Intersex people may have XO, XXY, XYY or any other combination of chromosomes and anatomy. The outdated word for intersex people is “hermaphrodite;” today that term is considered demeaning.

Lesbian
A woman who is sexually and romantically attracted to other women.

Queer
A name some people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender(LGBT) use as an affirmation of their sexual orientation or gender identity as different and wonderful, as in “I’m queer and proud.” By using an historically negative word, some LGBT people are trying to erase the negativity associated with it. It is important to note that not all LGBT people use the term queer, and it should not be used by people who are heterosexual or cisgender to describe LGBT people.

Sexual Orientation
A term to describe the gender or genders of the people to whom one is attracted physically and romantically. Typical words people use to describe sexual orientation are bisexual, gay, lesbian, heterosexual and in some cases queer.

Sexuality
Sexuality is a broad term that refers to far more than sexual behaviors and body parts. It also refers to how people feel about themselves and being with others, how they see their gender and sexual identities, and how they interact with other people.

Straight
A slang term for being sexually and romantically attracted to members of a different sex, also known as heterosexual. The word straight can have negative connotations, as it implies that people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual are “crooked” or otherwise have something wrong with them.

Transgender
A term that describes a person whose gender identity does not match that person’s biological sex. This may include someone who was born biologically female who feels biologically male, vice versa, or something else altogether. Transgender people may alter their bodies using hormones, surgery, both, or neither.

Transsexual
A term that describes a person who was born one biological sex but who feels strongly enough that she or he is a different sex to have sex realignment surgery. Someone who is transsexual can be non-operative, which means they do not wish to change their sex characteristics; pre-operative, which means they have begun the process of changing their sex characteristics, but have not yet had the surgery; and post-operative, which means they have completed the process of genital surgery.

Transvestite
A person who dresses in the clothing typically associated with a different gender. The preferred term for this tends to be “crossdresser.”