A beginner's guide to gender-identity and sexual-orientation terms

While many argue that nature determines the sex and gender of a person, science reveals that nature itself is not so definite in categorizing people into just two sexes. Understanding human sexuality requires understanding a multiple of factors beyond chromosomes and hormones.

While it is true that sex is determined by DNA and gender is what the person chooses to be, nature itself isn't as definite in determining sex as we assume it to be. Intersex individuals have variations in the chromosomes that make them not fit into the typical female or male sex.

These may express themselves as variations in the gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. Here is a list of terms and their definitions that will help us understand sex, gender, sexuality, and other human beings better. 

LGBTQQIAAP: Source: Pinterest

Agender: a person who doesn't align oneself with traditional concepts of being man or woman 

Ally: a (typically straight/cisgender) person who supports and respects members of the LGBTQ community

Androgynous: a gender expression that has elements of both masculinity and femininity

Androsexual/androphilic: being primarily sexually, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to men/males or masculinity

Aromantic: having little or no romantic attraction to others  (abbreviated as arrow or aro)

Asexual: experiencing little or no sexual attraction to others and/or a lack of interest in sexual relationships/behavior (abbreviated as ace)

The Bisexual Umbrella; Source: Twitter

Bigender: a person who fluctuates between traditionally “woman” and “man” gender-based behavior and identities, identifying with both genders

Bicurious: a curiosity about having an attraction to people of the same gender/sex (similar to questioning)

Biphobia: a range of negative attitudes that one may have or express towards bisexual individuals. Biphobia can come from within the LGBTQ community as well as straight society. Negative attitudes and feelings would include fear, anger, intolerance, invisibility, resentment, erasure, or discomfort.

Bisexual: a person who is emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to people of their gender and other genders

The Bisexual Chart; Source: Pinterest

Cisgender: a person whose gender identity and biological sex assigned at birth align (e.g., woman and assigned female at birth); easier way to understand this: if a person is not transgender, they are cisgender

Demisexual: a person who cannot or finds it hard to experience sexual attraction until a strong romantic or emotional connection is formed with another individual

Drag king: someone who performs masculinity theatrically

Drag queen: someone who performs femininity theatrically

Fluid(ity): describes an identity that may change or shift over time between or within the mix of the options available (e.g., man and woman, bi and straight); usually used with another term (e.g., gender fluid or fluid sexuality)

LGBT flags. Source: Shutterstock

FtM/F2M; MtF/M2F: female-to-male transgender or transsexual person; male-to-female transgender or transsexual person

Gay: a) individuals who are primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex and/or gender. More commonly refers men who are attracted to other men, but applies to women who are attracted to women, as well b) A broader term used to refer to the entire community that doesn't identify as heterosexual. 

Gender binary: the belief that there are only two genders (woman and man) and that every person is one of these two

Gender symbols. Source: Shutterstock

Gender expression: the external display of one’s gender, through dressing, demeanor, social behavior, etc. a.k.a. gender presentation

Gender-fluid: an identity that makes a person feel unrestrained by definite gender identity; a person may feel more man on some days and more woman some days

Gender-variant: someone who either by nature or by choice does not conform to gender-based expectations of society (e.g. transgender, transsexual, intersex, gender-queer, cross-dresser)

Grayasexual: the gray area between asexuality and sexuality, in which a person may only experience sexual attraction on occasion

Gynesexual/gynephilic: being primarily sexually, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to women/females or feminity


Page 1 / 2