LGBTQ+ Common Terminology

Common LGBTQ Terminology

Here is a list of common terminology used in LGBTQ+ and Queer communities.

This Common Terminology Guide is in no way a complete list, and language changes and evolves all the time. I’ll check back in once in a while to add, remove, or edit an entry. If you think of one that should be included or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!


  • Asexual – This is an umbrella term used to describe persons who experience little or no sexual attraction. A person who is asexual may refer to themselves as an “Ace.”
  • Bisexual – being sexually attracted to more than one gender
  • Cisgender – Simply put, this is a state of being in which a person’s assigned sex and their gender identity match. (My doctor assigned me female and I grew up and have always felt like a female) This is the opposite of transgender.
  • Deadname – This is using a person’s pre-transition name. Do not use a person’s deadname even to refer to the person pre-transition.
  • Gender Expression – This is the outward ways in which a person expresses their gender identity. It may include hair styles, clothing choices, mannerisms, etc.
  • Gender Identity – This is who a person knows themselves to be. A person may identify as male, female, neither, or more than one gender.
  • Gender Non-Conforming – This term is used to describe a person who’s gender expressions are outside societal expectations based on the person’s perceived gender identity.
  • Intersex – This term describes a person who’s born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that varies from the binary male/female sex assignments. An intersex person may have varied genitalia, chromosomes, and hormones. Some intersex people are known to be intersex from birth, others discover it later in life such as during puberty.
  • Non Binary – This describes a person who does not identify with binary male-female sex  assignments and/or gender identities. 
  • Pansexual – A sexual attraction to someone regardless of their gender.
  • Queer – Queer in an umbrella term for people who are not cisgender and/or are not heterosexual. This word has a history of being used as a slur against LGBTQ folks, but in recent years has been being “reclaimed” by the community. Use the term carefully when applying it directly to another person – only call someone queer if they self-identify that way. (like me!)
  • Sex (or Sex Assigned At Birth) – assignment given at birth, often by a medical professional based on the provider’s perception of the infant’s bodily characteristics. Typical assignments are male, female, and intersex.
  • Transgender – This is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity does not match with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. A transgender person may or may not elect to have gender affirming surgery, take hormones, etc.



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