Basic LGBTQA Terminology and Concepts:
- Ally- Someone who advocates for and supports members of a community other than their own. Reaching across differences to achieve mutual goals.
- Bisexual- aka bi; A person who is attracted to two sexes or two genders, but not necessarily simultaneously or equally.
- Discrimination- The act of showing partiality or prejudice; a prejudicial act.
- FTM and MTF- are abbreviations used by many female-to-male transgender persons (also known as transmen) and male-to-female transgender persons (also known as transwomen). You’ll often hear transgender people referring to themselves as MTF or FTM, so if you know these terms, you’ll sound much more knowledgeable about their issues. Remember, the first letter is the gender assigned to someone at birth, the “T” stands for “to,” and the last letter is how the person identifies now. So, MTF refers to someone who is male-to-female. (*For Definition on Transgendered- please see below.)
- Gay- Men attracted to men. Also used as an umbrella term to include all LGBTQA people
- Gender- refers to the societally determined characteristics of a particular sex; these characteristics are commonly refereed to as “feminine” and “masculine”. Different societies have different ideas about what it means to be feminine or masculine and how people are expected to act.
- Gender Identity- describes how people perceive their own internal sense of maleness or femaleness. Transgender people can be straight, gay, lesbian or bisexual—gender identity is separate from your sexual orientation
- Homophobia- The irrational fear and intolerance of people who are LGBTQA. This also assumes that heterosexuality is superior.
- Homosexuality- sexual, emotional, and/or romantic attraction to the same sex.
- Intersex- people have physical characteristics that do not match the typical understandings of male and female; previously called hermaphrodites. It is now considered offensive to use the term hermaphrodite, so it is more appropriate to call people intersex. Some intersex people identify as transgender while others do not. Some intersex conditions are known at the time of birth while others are not discovered until later in life, if it all; some intersex conditions are anatomical, while others are chromosomal. For more information, contact Advocates for Informed Choice (www.aiclegal.org).
- In the closet- Keeping one's sexual orientation and/or gender or sex identity a secret.
- LGBT- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered
- LGBTQIA- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, Intersex and Asexual/Ally
- Lesbian- A woman attracted to women
- Queer- 1.) An umbrella term to refer to all LGBTQ people. 2.) A political statement, as well as sexual orientation, which advocates breaking binary thinking and seeing both sexual orientation and gender identity as potentially fluid. 3.) A simple label to explain a complex set of sexual behaviors and desires.
- Sex- refers to the designation of the biological differences between females and males. This is the scientific term for what makes males and females different; remember, though, that not everyone fits into these 2 categories. There are a number of different factors that determine sex, not just chromosomes.
- Sexual Orientation- describes who people fall in love with and/or are sexually attracted to
- Transgender- is an umbrella term that refers to people who live differently than the gender presentation and roles expected of them by society. There are many kinds of people who fit this term and the rest of the following terms describe some of them.
***This information comes Butler County Community College's Campus Safe-Zone Resource Manual, authored by Dr. Catherine Massey of Slippery Rock University, Morgan Rizzardi of Butler County Community College, and Mitchell R. Hortert of the University of Pittsburgh. Other definitions are from the Washington D.C. based National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). The NCTE is a 501(c)3 social justice organization dedicated to advancing the equality of transgender people through advocacy, collaboration and empowerment.