LBTIQA Words*

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.  This can refer to hormones, chromosomes, internal reproductive organs or genitals. 1 in 150 people are born intersex (8,700 in San Diego, 47 million in the world).

Asexuality
The lack of sexual attraction to anyone or low or absent interest in sexual activity. This can include little sexual attraction or desire, no sexual attraction or desire, or a combination with or without the characteristic of behavior (meaning some asexual people engage in sexual activity despite a lack of desire for sex or sexual attraction, for reasons such as the desire to please a partner or to have children).  Many asexual people, while lacking in sexual desire for any gender, may still engage in purely romantic, intimate relationships.

Queer
The term has been used to describe sexuality and gender as not easily classifiable or static and is an umbrella term for people who are not heterosexual, heteronormative or within the gender-binary.  Queer has also been used to include groups outside of LGBT identities (for example, the use of the acronym LGBTQ).  Queer politics may or may not share the mainstream LGBT movement’s priorities (i.e. marriage equality, “don’t ask, don’t tell”) and instead challenge essentialist ideas of identity (for example, straight and gay are the only choices for a person’s sexual orientation) and institutions such as marriage, the military, etc.

Genderqueer
A general term for non-binary (male or female) gender identities.  Those who identify as genderqueer may identify as neither male nor female, both, may see themselves as outside of or in between the binary gender boxes, or may simply feel restricted by gender labels.  People who do not identify with the gender binary may also refer to themselves as gender variant or gender non-conforming, and not all people use the term “genderqueer.”

Sex vs. Gender vs. Sexual Orientation
Sex: The assignment and classification of people as male or female based on physical anatomy at birth.
Gender: One’s internal sense of being male or female, neither or both.
Sexual orientation: a person’s physical, romantic, emotional and/or spiritual attraction to others.

Cisgender
“Cis” is a prefix or adjective that means “not trans.”  A person who, for the most part, identifies their gender with the sex they were assigned at birth.  When we say “cisgender” and “transgender” neither is implied as more normal than the other.

Transgender
An umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from the sex or gender they were assigned at birth, and for those whose gender expression differs from what is culturally expected of them.  The term transgender is not indicative of sexual orientation, hormonal makeup, physical anatomy, or how one is perceived in daily life.

Bisexuality
romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior toward both males and females. The term is mainly used in the context of human attraction to denote romantic or sexual feelings toward both men and women.  It may also be defined as encompassing romantic or sexual attraction to people of all gender identities or to a person irrespective of that person’s biological sex or gender, which is sometimes termed pansexuality.  A bisexual identity does not necessarily equate to equal sexual attraction to both sexes; commonly, people who have a distinct but not exclusive sexual preference for one sex over the other also identify themselves as bisexual.

Lesbian
The term most widely used in the English language to describe sexual and romantic attraction between females.  Some women who engage in same-sex sexual activity may reject not only identifying as lesbians but as bisexual as well; sexual identity is not necessarily the same as one’s actual sexual orientation, due to various reasons such as the fear of identifying as such in a homophobic setting.

 

*Information from Intersex San Diego, Intersex Society of North America, Asexual Visibility and Education Network, Wikipedia, Genderqueer San Diego, Basic Rights Oregon, Queer Network Project (Asian & Pacific Islander Women & Safety Center)