LGBT Terms

If you’re not in the LGBT community, and even if you are, there are some terms used to describe the community that could get confusing. If you’re not sure what you should be calling someone, or how to describe someone, just ask. Most of the time, individuals will tell you, but if they don’t, just ask. There’s no harm in that! I’m going to give you some of the most talked about terms and their definitions so that you can learn more of the correct ways to describe your LGBT friends.

Advocate: Someone who works to end intolerance, educate others and supports equality for all.

Ally: A straight person who supports queer people.

Asexual: A person who generally does not experience sexual attraction to any group of people.

Biological Sex: The physical anatomy and generated hormones one is born with. Generally described as male, female, or intersex. Often confused with gender.

Bisexual: A person who experiences sexual, romantic, and physical attraction to people of their own gender as well as another gender.

Cisgender: A person whose gender identity, gender expression, and biological sex all align.

Fluid(ity): Usually with another term attached such as gender fluid. Describes an identity that is a mix of two options. (Gender fluid = male/female)

Gay: Used to describe men who are attracted to the same sex but also used as a blanket term for gays and lesbians alike.

Genderqueer: A blanket term describing someone whose gender falls outside of the gender binary.

Pansexual: A person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical and/or spiritual attraction for members of all gender identities and expressions.

Queer: (1) Historically, this was a derogatory slang term to identify LGBTQ+ individuals. (2) A term that has been embraced and reclaimed by the LGBTQ+ community as a symbol of pride, representing all individuals who fall out of the gender and sexuality norms.

Sexual Orientation: The type of sexual, romantic and physical attraction one feels for others.

Sexual Preference: Often used interchangeably with sexual orientation.

Straight: A man or woman who is attracted to other people of the opposite sex.

Transgender: A blanket term used to describe all people who are not cisgender (see above)

Transitioning: A term used to describe the process of moving from one sex/gender to another, sometimes this is done by hormone or surgical treatments.

Transsexual: A person whose gender identity is the binary opposite of their biological sex, who may undergo medical treatments to change their biological sex, often times to align it with their gender identity.

Transvestite: A person who dresses as the binary opposite gender expression for one of many reasons, including relaxation, fun, or sexual gratification. Often called a cross-dresser, and often confused with transsexual.

Trans-man: A person, who was assigned a female sex at birth, but identifies as a man; often confused with “transsexual man” or “FTM”.

Trans-woman: A person, who was assigned a male sex at birth, but identifies as a woman; often confused with “transsexual woman” or “MTF”.

I know it can get confusing, but like I said above, all you have to do is ask what pronouns, or what labels they prefer!


  1. I definitely need to learn more about these terms. Thanks for the post!
    Mikayla | A Seersucker State of Mind.

  2. I am super appreciative of this vocabulary lesson! Definitely planning on sharing this!

    XX, SS || A Little Seersucker Sass

  3. Glad to have some insight now! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I had no idea what some of these terms meant and never heard some of them before! Thanks for educating!

  5. I think it is great that you are sharing these terms. I think people often use many of these words interchangeably even when they have different meanings!

  6. Thanks for sharing about this - I know that I get confused or misappropriate a few of these terms. This makes things much more clear.

    Alessandra | blog.pumpup.com

  7. I really appreciate the insight! Australia is in the process of making gay marriage legal and I can't wait for the day they follow America's lead!

  8. I actually go to a university that's extremely supportive of LGBT and I've always been comfortable with it my four years there (even though it is in the Bible belt!). I'm glad you made this post for people who just honestly don't understand. :)


  9. This is definitely helpful and I am thankful that you posted this. I knew some of these terms but others I had never heard before.

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

  10. Using correct terminology is more than just political correctness, it's about being supportive and considerate of others. Definitely planning on sharing this!
    xx, Southwestern Prepster

  11. I really appreciate the term lesson, I think people really need to learn from this and get it right. I will be sharing this!

    Nicole // Chronicling Home

  12. Thanks for the term lesson, as I didn't know what some of them really meant.

  13. Love that you are sharing this!!! Keep up the informational and helpful posts, sweet girl!! I definitely appreciate reading them and learning!

    xo Ashley

  14. Good to know! Learn something(s) new everyday!

    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

  15. Thank you so much for this! There's so much vocabulary and I get so nervous that I'm going to say the wrong thing. Seriously so helpful!

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

  16. This is so informative and helpful, thank you so so much!!

    xo, Alicia | Alicia Tenise

  17. definitely learned something new! thanks for the lesson :P

  18. So informative, thank you for posting, will definitely use these!


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