Many people are hesitant to discuss LGBTQ+ issues (and people) because they fear that they do not know the correct terms to use, and avoid discussing these topics altogether. These dictionaries and word choice guides are great resources to help those who wonder how to express their thoughts in a respectful and culturally competent manner.
Language is constantly evolving, and terminology can be controversial. These are high-quality guides that use terms and definitions that are widely agreed upon, but not all terms are universally embraced.
Glossary of Terms Used Throughout This Website
Asexual (adj) describes individuals who experience little or no sexual attraction to others and/or lack interest in sexual relationships/behavior. Asexuality is different from celibacy: celibacy refers to choosing to abstain from sexual behaviors, while asexuality is a sexual orientation. An asexual person may or may not be aromantic (not interested in romantic relationships with others). (33)
Binder (noun) compressive undergarment that flattens the chest - read more here.
Bandages (noun) some people use bandages, rather than a binder, to flatten the chest. However, this practice is known to be more dangerous than use of a well-fitting binder or sports bras. Read more about safety issues and binding here.
Breast forms (noun) prostheses that have the appearance of breasts
Cisgender (adj) a person whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth (also known as gender assigned at birth).
Someone who is cisgender is not transgender.
Gaff (noun) compressive underwear that minimizes the appearance of the penis and testicles - read more here.
Tape (noun) tape may be used with or instead of a gaff to "tuck" (minimize the appearance of the penis and testicles).
Intersex (adj) describes individuals with "a combination of chromosomes, gonads, hormones, internal sex organs, and genitals that differs from the two expected patterns of male or female. Formerly known as hermaphrodite (or hermaphroditic), but these terms are now outdated and derogatory." (33)
LGBTQ+ (adj) lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning.
Lesbian (noun/adj) describes women who are primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to other women. (30)
Gay (adj) (1) describes individuals who are primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex and/or gender. More commonly used when referring to men who are attracted to men, but can be applied to women as well. (2) An umbrella term used to refer to the LGBTQ community as a whole, or as an individual identity label for anyone who does not identify as heterosexual.(30)
Bisexual (adj) describes individuals who are emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to more than one gender.(30)
Transgender (adj) describes people whose gender identity is different from the gender they were thought to be at birth. “Trans” is often used as shorthand for transgender. (31) Click here for more information
Queer (adj) an umbrella term to describe individuals who don’t identify as heterosexual or cisgender (non-transgender). The term queer can often be used interchangeably with LGBTQ. However, due to its historical use as a derogatory term, it is not embraced or used by all members of the LGBTQ community.(30)
Questioning (verb/adj) describes an individual who is unsure about or exploring their own sexual orientation or gender identity.(30)
Other terms that are used to refer to the LGBTQ community include queer, LGBT, GLBT, LGBTQIA, MOGAI, GSRM, and more. There are many names for this community because we face the challenge of creating a name that encompasses many diverse identities and experiences. The many different names of this community represent a continuous attempt at universal design—and occupational therapy practitioners, educators, and students know that universal design is not always easily achieved.
Packer (noun) prosthetic that has the appearance of a penis.
Pansexual (adj) describes individuals who are emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of all gender identities.
Two-Spirit (noun) an umbrella term used by some Native American people to refer to people who "have both a male and female spirit within them and are blessed by their Creator to see life through the eyes of both genders" (36)
This page last updated: 2018