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LGBTQ+ Basic Terms and Definitions

LGBTQ+: An acronym used to signify Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people collectively. 

Lesbian: A woman who is emotionally, romantically, and sexually attracted to only women.

Gay: A word describing a man who is emotionally, romantically, and sexually attracted to only men. 

Bisexual: A person emotionally, romantically, and sexually attracted to both (or all) genders, though not necessarily simultaneously. A bisexual person may not be equally attracted to both (or all) genders. The word "bisexual" is sometimes used interchangeably with the word "pansexual" and the label an individual chooses to use for themselves depends on their personal preference. 

Pansexual: A person who is attracted to others regardless of their gender identity or sex. The word "pansexual" is sometimes used interchangeably with the word "bisexual" and the label an individual chooses to use for themselves depends on their personal preference. 

Transgender: A term describing a broad range of people who experience and/or express their gender differently from what most people expect. It is an umbrella term denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex or is otherwise gender non-conforming.

Non-binary: “Nonbinary” is generally used as an umbrella for various gender nonconforming identities, and is most often used by those who do not strictly identify as "male" and "female." 

Queer: An umbrella term used by some people who identify with the LGBTQ+ community. It tends to be used to avoid the labeling and classification of one's gender or sexuality. "Queer" is also commonly used as an anti-LGBT slur, but has been reclaimed by some. However, it should not be used to label others outside of yourself unless they are comfortable with it.

Cisgender: An identity where an individual’s experience of their own gender matches the sex they were assigned at birth. 

Biological Sex: A medical term used to refer to the chromosomal, hormonal and anatomical characteristics that are used to classify an individual as female or male. Often abbreviated to simply “sex”.

Gender Identity: The internal perception of one’s gender, and how they label themselves, based on how much they align or don’t align with what they understand their options for gender to be. Common identity labels include man, woman, genderqueer, trans, and more. Gender identity is sometimes confused with biological sex, or sex assigned at birth

Heterosexual Privilege: The basic civil rights and social privileges that a heterosexual individual automatically receives, but are systematically denied to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons on the sole basis of their gender identity.

Heterosexism or Heteronormativity: Describes a system of attitudes, biases and behaviors in favor of heterosexual relationships. It includes the assumption that everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexual relationships are the norm and therefore superior.