LGBT+ Glossary

Agender

Someone who identifies as having no gender or being without a gender identity (also called genderless, non-gendered or ungendered).

Ally

A person who is not a member of a particular community (or sub-group within a community) but supports that community's rights, challenges negative or offensive attitudes and language, and encourages inclusivity. 

Aromantic (Aro)

Someone who experiences no, or very little, romantic attraction to others.

Asexual (Ace)

Someone who experiences no, or very little, sexual attraction to others.

Bear

A term used in gay culture to describe larger, hairier men who present themselves in a masculine way.

Bisexual

Someone who is attracted to both men and women.

Binding

When someone with breasts uses a binder or alternative material to push breasts tight to the chest, giving the appearance of a flatter chest. This can cause serious health problems if done incorrectly, or without a binder fit for purpose.

Cisgender/Cis

Someone whose gender identity matches with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Demiromantic

Someone who only experiences romantic attraction after developing an emotional connection with another person.

Deadnaming

Using someone’s birth name after they’ve changed their name. This could be a crime if it’s done with an intent to distress.

Demisexual

When someone needs to develop a deep meaningful connection with someone before sexual feelings can occur.

Fa'afafine

People who identify as having a third-gender or non-binary role in Samoa, typically people who are assigned male at birth, but who take on a feminine gender roles and expression. Fa’afafine people have been an integrated part of Samoan communities for centuries

Fluid/fluidity

A term often used by people whose feelings or sense of self in relation to their gender identity or sexuality are not fixed and can change over time; most commonly paired with another term, e.g gender fluid or sexually fluid.

Gay

Someone who is attracted to the same gender as themselves (most commonly by men attracted to other men). 

Gender Binary

The concept of grouping people into two separate genders; male or female. Some things, like birth certificates in the UK, still require information in a gender binary.

Gender Dysphoria

When discomfort or distress are caused by someone’s gender identity not matching the sex they were assigned at birth. 

Gender Expression

The way a person expresses their own individual gender identity, usually through clothes, hair/makeup and the way they behave. 

Gender Identity

A person’s internal sense of being male, female, some combination of male and female, or neither male nor female. Gender identities aren’t always fixed, and can be fluid.

Gender Spectrum

The concept of male and female being at either side of a spectrum, where people can have identify as male, female, somewhere in-between (non-binary, see definition below) or neither.

GRA

This stands for Gender Recognition Act (2004) which is a UK law, that gives people with diagnosed gender dysphoria, legal recognition in the gender appropriate to their true gender identity by issuing them with a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). Currently, LGBT+ rights charities are lobbying for a self-determination process (meaning a diagnosis of gender dysphoria would not be needed).

GRC

This stands for Gender Recognition Certificate, which is a legal document officially recognising a change to a person’s gender. Once someone has been issues with a GRC they can have things like passports and driving licences changed to reflect their true gender identity instead of the sex assigned at birth.

Grey-aromantic

Someone who rarely experiences romantic attraction or desire for a romantic relationship, or may only experience it under certain conditions.

Grey-asexual

A sexuality where people rarely experience sexual attraction/desire, or only experience it under certain conditions.

Heteronormative / Heteronormativity

Making the assumption that people are heterosexual, or that this applies to most people, without knowing anything about someone. This can lead to incorrect assumptions about lives, relationships, and use of very gendered/incorrect language.

Hijra

A third gender in the Indian subcontinent, Hijra often dress in a feminine way, and in some cultures, they are thought to have magical powers. Hijra often sing and dance, and some prefer to be known as Kinnar or Kinner, which refers to mythological beings which excel at song and dance.

Intersex

When a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.

Lesbian

A woman who is attracted to other women.

Lower surgery (a.ka. bottom surgery)

Surgery that someone may have, which involves changing their genitals to match their gender identity.

Neutral pronouns

Pronouns such as they/them or ze/zir do not indicate a specific gender identity; they and them are always great options to use until you know someone’s preferred pronouns.

Non-binary

Non-binary is a spectrum of gender identities which are not exclusively masculine or feminine; this may be a combination of both or neither. 

Pan

Someone who can be romantically and/or sexually attracted to anyone, regardless of gender (panromantic or pansexual). 

Passing

A word used to describe someone who is transgender, and is perceived to be a cisgender person.

Pronouns

Words used when talking about something or someone (e.g. I, you, he, she, it, we, they, me, him, her, us and them). Pronouns can form an important part in a person's gender identity; using gendered pronouns (he/she) is quite common in the UK. However, some people use different pronouns to the sex they were assigned at birth, and others prefer gender neutral pronouns, like they and them. If you're unsure of someone's pronouns, you can use neutral pronouns, use their name, or ask them what their preferred pronouns are.

Queer

A term which has previously been used as an insult to LGBT+ people; some still consider it an offensive term. It can also be used by some people to describe their sexuality or gender identity. 

Sex

Decided by a health professional at birth based on someone’s genitals/genes. In the UK, the two options available at birth are “male” or “female”.

Sexuality

A person’s sexual orientation or preference.

Top surgery

Surgery that someone may have which involves removing breast tissue, to give them a more masculine, or gender-neutral, appearance.

Transgender/Trans

Someone whose gender identity does not match with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Transition

The process of moving from one gender identity to another (e.g. male to female, female to non-binary). This usually involves social transition, which can include things like a change in name, pronouns and clothing/hair/make-up. For some people, their transition may involve medical aspects, like taking hormones or having surgery.

Transsexual

This was used in the past as a more medical term to refer to transgender people. This term is still used by some, although many people prefer the term trans or transgender and some find the term “transsexual” offensive and outdated.

Tucking

Hiding or minimising the appearance of the penis/testicles by “tucking” them between and behind the legs. This may be done with specific underwear, or tape. Read tips on how to tuck safely here.

Two-spirit

A Native American umbrella term for individuals who possess qualities or fulfil roles of either a third gender, or both feminine and masculine genders. Two-spirit is an ancient and traditional role in Native American communities.

LGBT Stoke is a service provided by the Sexual Health Prevention Team from Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust