Watch (A) the video and read (B)  LGBTQIA Dictionary and also, (C) a note on the difference between transsexual,inter-sexual and transgender people.

Now in the comment box, ask question(s)  about the issues  covered, on ideas, concepts, topics, issues not  necessarily clear to you.


Affectional Orientation: The deep-seated direction of one’s emotional, intellectual and social affinity. It is on a continuum and not a set of absolute categories. Some aspects of affectional orientation tend to change over time, while other aspects remain relatively consistent.

Agendered: Used interchangeably with ‘gender-neutral,’ this term describes people with neither a female or male gender.

Androgynous: Describes a person whose gender encompasses both male and female, thus lying somewhere in between the two. In some people, androgyny is purely devoted to their gender expression, rather than their gender.

Ally: Someone who advocates for and supports members of a community other than their own, reaching across differences to achieve mutual goals.

Asexual: 1) Having no evident sex or sex organs.
2) In usage, may refer to a person who is not sexually active, or not sexually attracted to other people.

Berdache: [See ‘two spirit] This term is generally rejected and considered offensive because it is a term that was assigned by European settlers to differently gendered Native peoples and comes from the French term bardache, meaning male prostitute.  A more appropriate term is called “Two-Spirit,” or even one of the “third gender.” In many Native American cultures some individuals are respected and looked upon as people who are both male and female, making them more complete, more balanced than those who identify as men or women.

Bias: Prejudice; an inclination or preference, especially one that interferes with impartial judgment.

Bigendered: Refers to a person whose gender identity is a combination of male/man and female/woman.

Biphobia: The irrational fear and intolerance of people who are bisexual.

Birth Sex: The sex an individual is assigned at birth, determined by normalized categories of genetic and physical characteristics.

Bisexual: Also “bi.” A person who is attracted to two sexes or two genders, but not necessarily simultaneously or equally. This used to be defined as a person who is attracted to both genders or both sexes, but since there are not only two sexes (see intersex and transsexual) and there are not only two genders (see transgender), this definition is inaccurate.

Cisgender: refers to people whose sex and gender are congruent by predominant cultural standards: women who have female bodies, men who have male bodies. This term was created to challenge, as many transgender people have argued, the privileging of such people in the term “gender” relative to the term “transgender.”

Cissexual: people who are not transsexual and who have only ever experienced their subconscious and physical sexes as being aligned.

Coming out: To recognize one’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex identity, and to be open about it with oneself and with others.

Discrimination: The act of showing partiality or prejudice; a prejudicial act.

Domestic Partner: One who lives with their beloved and/or is at least emotionally and financially connected in a supportive manner with another. Another word for spouse, lover, significant other, etc.

Dominant culture: The cultural values, beliefs, and practices that are assumed to be the most common, normal and influential within a given society.

Drag: The act of dressing in gendered clothing as part of a performance. Drag Queens perform in highly feminine attire. Drag Kings perform in highly masculine attire. Drag may be performed as a political comment on gender, as parody, or simply as entertainment. Drag performance does not indicate sexuality, gender identity, or sex identity.

Family: Colloquial term used to identify other LGBTQQI community members. For example, an LGBTQQI person saying, “that person is family” often means that the person they are referring to is LGBTQQI as well.

Family of choice (chosen family): Persons or group of people an individual sees as significant in his or her life. It may include none, all, or some members of his or her family of origin. In addition, it may include individuals such as significant others, domestic partners, friends, and coworkers.

FTM: Female to Male.

Gay: Men attracted to men. Colloquially used as an umbrella term to include all LGBTQQI people.

Gender: 1) A socially constructed system of classification that ascribes qualities of masculinity and femininity to people. Gender characteristics can change over time and are different between cultures. Words that refer to gender include: man, woman, transgender, masculine, feminine, and gender queer. 2) One’s sense of self as masculine or feminine regardless of external genitalia. Gender is often conflated with sex. This is inaccurate because sex refers to bodies and gender refers to personality characteristics.

Genderism: Holding people to traditional expectations based on gender, or punishing or excluding those who don’t conform to traditional gender expectations.

Gender Conformity: When your gender identity and sex “match” (i.e. fit social norms). For example, a male who is masculine and identifies as a man.

Gender Cues: What human beings use to attempt to tell the gender/sex of another person. Examples include hairstyle, gait, vocal inflection, body shape, facial hair, etc. Cues vary by culture.

Gender Identity: The gender that a person sees oneself as. This can include refusing to label oneself with a gender. Gender identity is also often conflated with sexual orientation, but this is inaccurate. Gender identity does not cause sexual orientation. For example, a masculine woman is not necessarily a lesbian.

Gender Expression: An expression of one’s own gender identity. This can include, but is not limited to personality traits, behaviors, appearance, mannerisms, interests, hobbies, values, etc.

Gender Identity Disorder: The term used for a condition defined in the DSM4 by the American Psychiatric Association, controversially ascribed to trans people.

Gender-neutral: Nondiscriminatory language to describe relationships—e.g. “spouse” and “partner” are gender-neutral alternatives to the gender-specific words “husband,” “wife,” “boyfriend” and “girlfriend.”

Gender Queer (or Genderqueer): A person who redefines or plays with gender, or who refuses gender altogether. A label for people who bend/break the rules of gender and blur the boundaries.

Gender Role: 1) Socially defined expectations regarding behavior, mannerisms, dress, etc. as related to socially assigned gender.
2) How “masculine” or “feminine” an individual acts. Societies commonly have norms regarding how males and females should behave, expecting people to have personality characteristics and/or act a certain way based on their biological sex.

Gender-variant / Gender non-conforming: Displaying gender traits that are not normatively associated with their biological sex. “Feminine” behavior or appearance in a male is gender-variant as is “masculine” behavior or appearance a female. Gender-variant behavior is culturally specific.

Hate crime: Hate crime legislation often defines a hate crime as a crime motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person.

Heteronormativity: The assumption, in individuals or in institutions, that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is superior to homosexuality and bisexuality.

Heterosexuality: Sexual, emotional, and/or romantic attraction to a sex other than your own. Commonly thought of as “attraction to the opposite sex” but since there are not only two sexes (see intersex and transsexual), this definition is inaccurate.

Heterosexism: Assuming every person to be heterosexual therefore marginalizing persons who do not identify as heterosexual. It involves belief that heterosexuality is superior to any different form of sexuality and all other sexual orientations.

Heterosexual Privilege: Benefits derived automatically by being (or being perceived as) heterosexual that are denied to homosexuals, bisexuals, and queers.

Hir: Sex/gender inclusive pronoun that can be used instead of his/her.

Homophobia: The irrational fear and intolerance of people who are homosexual or of homosexual feelings within one’s self. This assumes that heterosexuality is superior.

Homosexuality: Sexual, emotional, and/or romantic attraction to the same sex.

Institutional Oppression: Arrangement of a society used to benefit one group at the expense of another through the use of language, media education, religion, economics, etc.

Internalized Oppression: The process by which an oppressed person comes to believe, accept, or live out the inaccurate stereotypes and misinformation about their group.

Intersex: Intersexuality is a set of medical conditions that feature congenital anomaly of the reproductive and sexual system. That is, intersex people are born with “sex chromosomes,” external genitalia, or internal reproductive systems that are not considered “standard” for either male or female. The existence of intersexuals shows that there are not just two sexes and that our ways of thinking about sex (trying to force everyone to fit into either the male box or the female box) is socially constructed.

In the closet: Keeping one’s sexual orientation and/or gender or sex identity a secret, or choosing not to disclose this information to others.

Invisible minority: A group whose minority status is not always immediately visible, such as some disabled people and LGBTQQI people. This lack of visibility may make organizing for rights difficult.

Lambda: l The Gay Activist Alliance originally chose the lambda, the Greek letter “L”, as a symbol in 1970. Organizers chose the letter “L” to signify liberation. The word has become a way of expressing the concept “lesbian and gay male” in a minimum of syllables and has been adopted by such organizations as Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Legal Sex: The sex assigned on an individual’s legal documentation.

Lesbian: A woman attracted to women.

LGBTQQIA: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Ally.

Marginalized: Excluded, ignored, or relegated to the outer edge of a group/society/community.

Men who have sex with men (MSM): Men who engage in same-sex behavior, but who may not necessarily self-identify as gay.

MTF: Male to Female.

Nonmonosexual (NM): students that self-identify as bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer and any other nonmonosexual identity

On E: When a MTF takes the hormone estrogen.

On T: When a FTM takes the hormone testosterone.

Out or Out of the closet: Refers to varying degrees of being open about one’s sexual orientation and/or sex identity or gender identity.

Pansexual: A person who is fluid in sexual orientation and/or gender or sex identity.

Polyamory: Polyamory is the practice of having multiple open, honest relationships.

Queer: 1) An umbrella term to refer to all LGBTQQI people
2) A political statement, as well as a sexual orientation, which advocates breaking binary thinking and seeing both sexual orientation and gender identity as potentially fluid.
3) A simple label to explain a complex set of sexual behaviors and desires. For example, a person who is attracted to multiple genders may identify as queer. Many older LGBT people feel the word has been hatefully used against them for too long and are reluctant to embrace it.

Rainbow Flag: The Rainbow Freedom Flag was designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker to designate the great diversity of the LGBTQQI community. It has been recognized by the International Flag Makers Association as the official flag of the LGBTQQI civil rights movement.

Sex Identity: The sex that a person sees themselves as. This can include refusing to label oneself with a sex.

Sexual minority: 1) Refers to members of sexual orientations or who engage in sexual activities that are not part of the mainstream.
2) Refers to members of sex groups that do not fall into the majority categories of male or female, such as intersexuals and transsexuals.

Sex: Refers to a person based on their anatomy (external genitalia, chromosomes, and internal reproductive system). Sex terms are male, female, transsexual, and intersex. Sex is biological, although social views and experiences of sex are cultural.

Sexual Orientation: The deep-seated direction of one’s sexual and/or erotic attractions. It is on a continuum and not a set of absolute categories. Sometimes referred to as affectional orientation or sexuality. Sexual orientation tends to change over time through a multistage developmental process.

SRS: Acronym for Sexual Reassignment Surgery, the surgery done by transsexuals to make their bodies and their sex identity match.

Stereotype: An exaggerated oversimplified belief about an entire group of people without regard for individual differences.

Straight: Person who is attracted to a gender other than their own. Commonly thought of as “attraction to the opposite gender,” but since there are not only two genders (see transgender), this definition is inaccurate.

Transgender: 1) An umbrella term for transsexuals, cross-dressers (transvestites), transgenderists, gender queers, and people who identify as neither female nor male and/or as neither a man or as a woman. Transgender is not a sexual orientation; transgender people may have any sexual orientation. It is important to acknowledge that while some people may fit under this definition of transgender, they may not identify as such.
2) Transgender (sometimes shortened to trans or TG) people are those whose psychological self (“gender identity”) differs from the social expectations for the physical sex they were born with. To understand this, one must understand the difference between biological sex, which is one’s body (genitals, chromosomes, etc.), and social gender, which refers to levels of masculinity and femininity. Often, society conflates sex and gender, viewing them as the same thing. But, gender and sex are not the same thing. For example, a female with a masculine gender identity or who identifies as a man.

Transgenderist: A person who lives either full time, or most of the time, in a gender role different than the role associated with their biological or chromosomal sex (a gender non-conformist).

Transition: A complicated, multi-step process that can take years as transsexuals align their anatomy with their sex identity; this process may or may not ultimately include sex reassignment surgery (SRS).

Transphobia: Fear or hatred of transgender people; transphobia is manifested in a number of ways, including violence, harassment and discrimination.

Transsexual: Transsexual refers to a person who experiences a mismatch of the sex they were born as and the sex they identify as. A transsexual sometimes undergoes medical treatment to change his/her physical sex to match his/her sex identity through hormone treatments and/or surgically. Not all transsexuals can have or desire surgery.

Transvestite/Cross Dresser: Individuals who regularly or occasionally wear the clothing socially assigned to a gender not their own, but are usually comfortable with their anatomy and do not wish to change it (i.e. they are not transsexuals). Cross-dresser is the preferred term for men who enjoy or prefer women’s clothing and social roles. Contrary to popular belief, the overwhelming majority of male cross-dressers identify as straight and often are married. Very few women call themselves cross-dressers.

Triangle: A symbol of remembrance. Gay men in the Nazi concentration camps were forced to wear the pink triangle as a designation of being homosexual. Women who did not conform to social roles, often believed to be lesbians, had to wear the black triangle. The triangles are worn today as symbols of freedom, reminding us to never forget.

Two Spirit: This term refers to Native American/First Nation persons whose bodies simultaneously house both a masculine and feminine spirit. Two spirit people typically had distinct gender and social roles in their tribes. This term is more appropriate than berdache which is considered outdated and offensive.

Ze: Gender/sex inclusive pronoun that can be used instead of he/she.

Zir: Gender/sex inclusive pronoun that can be used instead of his/her.

(C) What’s the difference between being transgender or transsexual and having an intersex condition?

People who identify as transgender or transsexual are usually people who are born with typical male or female anatomies but feel as though they’ve been born into the “wrong body.” For example, a person who identifies as transgender or transsexual may have typical female anatomy but feel like a male and seek to become male by taking hormones or electing to have sex reassignment surgeries.

People who have intersex conditions have anatomy that is not considered typically male or female. Most people with intersex conditions come to medical attention because doctors or parents notice something unusual about their bodies. In contrast, people who are transgendered have an internal experience of gender identity that is different from most people.

Many people confuse transgender and transsexual people with people with intersex conditions because they see two groups of people who would like to choose their own gender identity and sometimes those choices require hormonal treatments and/or surgery. These are similarities. It’s also true, albeit rare, that some people who have intersex conditions also decide to change genders at some point in their life, so some people with intersex conditions might also identify themselves as transgender or transsexual.

In spite of these similarities, these two groups should not be and cannot be thought of as one. The truth is that the vast majority of people with intersex conditions identify as male or female rather than transgender or transsexual. Thus, where all people who identify as transgender or transsexual experience problems with their gender identity, only a small portion of intersex people experience these problems.

It’s also important to understand the differences between these two groups because in spite of some similarities they face many different struggles, including different forms of discrimination. The differences between transgender and transsexual and intersex have been understood by lawmakers in countries such as Australia where lawmakers have publicly acknowledged that people with intersex conditions have distinct needs from people who identify as transgender or transsexual.

People who identify as transgender or transsexual also face discrimination and deserve equality. We also believe that people with intersex conditions and folks who identify as transgender or transsexual can and should continue to work together on human rights issues; however, there are important differences to keep in mind so that both groups can work toward a better future.

Transsexuals are people who transition from one sex to another. A person born as a male can become recognizably female through the use of hormones and/or surgical procedures; and a person born as a female can become recognizably male. That said, transsexuals are unable to change their genetics and cannot acquire the reproductive abilities of the sex to which they transition. Sex is assigned at birth and refers to a person’s biological status as male or female. In other words, sex refers exclusively to the biological features: chromosomes, the balance of hormones, and internal and external anatomy. Each of us is born as either male or female, with rare exceptions of those born intersex who may display characteristics of both sexes at birth.

Transgender, unlike transsexual, is a term for people whose identity, expression, behavior, or general sense of self does not conform to what is usually associated with the sex they were born in the place they were born. It is often said sex is a matter of the body, while gender occurs in the mind. Gender is an internal sense of being male, female, or other. People often use binary terms, for instance, masculine or feminine, to describe gender just as they do when referring to sex. But gender is more complex and encompasses more than just two possibilities. Gender also is influenced by culture, class, and race because behavior, activities, and attributes seen as appropriate in one society or group may be viewed otherwise in another.

Transgender, then, unlike transsexual is a multifaceted term.

All these are difficult to remember. But we all should start with at least the following concepts:

Sex refers to a person’s biological status and is typically categorized as male, female, or intersex (i.e., atypical combinations of features that usually distinguish male from female). There are a number of indicators of biological sex, including sex chromosomes, gonads, internal reproductive organs, and external genitalia.

Gender refers to the attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person’s biological sex. Behavior that is compatible with cultural expectations is referred to as gender-normative; behaviors that are viewed as incompatible with these expectations constitute gender non-conformity.

Gender identity refers to “one’s sense of oneself as male, female, or transgender” (American Psychological Association, 2006). When one’s gender identity and biological sex are not congruent, the individual may identify as transsexual or as another transgender category (cf. Gainor, 2000).

Gender expression refers to the “…way in which a person acts to communicate gender within a given culture; for example, in terms of clothing, communication patterns and interests. A person’s gender expression may or may not be consistent with socially prescribed gender roles, and may or may not reflect his or her gender identity” (American Psychological Association, 2008, p. 28).

Sexual orientation refers to the sex of those to whom one is sexually and romantically attracted. Categories of sexual orientation typically have included attraction to members of one’s own sex (gay men or lesbians), attraction to members of the other sex (heterosexuals), and attraction to members of both sexes (bisexuals). While these categories continue to be widely used, research has suggested that sexual orientation does not always appear in such definable categories and instead occurs on a continuum (e.g., Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953; Klein, 1993; Klein, Sepekoff, & Wolff, 1985; Shiveley & DeCecco, 1977) In addition, some research indicates that sexual orientation is fluid for some people; this may be especially true for women (e.g., Diamond, 2007; Golden, 1987; Peplau & Garnets, 2000).


8 thoughts on “ABC of LGBTQIA

  1. This video was pretty cool! I took a Human Sexuality class at my community college, and it helped me understand the NUMEROUS differently kinds of sexualities people have in their lives. The LGBTQIA Dictionary is also VERY helpful in this. There are even more words I didn’t know!
    • “Transsexual” refers to a person who had surgical treatment to become a member of the opposite sex. A woman who desires to be a man can be considered a “transsexual” when she undergoes an operation to make her vagina into an artificial penis. This can occur vice versa: a man can be considered a “transsexual” when he undergoes an operation to make his penis into an artificial vagina.

    • “Inter-Sexual” refers to a person who was born with ambiguous genitalia. Their chromosomes are not identifiable as strictly “male” or “female.” They are considered androgynous, meaning their sexes/genders share both male and female characteristics.

    • “Transgender” refers to people who experiment outside of their cultural norms of how their genders are supposed to act based on their sexes. Transvestites can be considered “transgendered” because a woman who identifies as a man can wear more masculine clothing, whereas a man who identifies as a woman can wear more feminine clothing. Thus, “transgendered” people defy the norms of their gender roles and social expectations depending on their personal gender identity.

    I’m confused about Cisgender and Cissexual. We should definitely discuss those in class because I don’t really understand their definitions.


  2. The video was quite interesting. One thing I learned was that sexual behavior is the “bow chicka wow wow” stuff and sexual orientation is who you fall in love with.

    Transexual refers to a person who has undergone a sex change operation.
    Intersex is a variation in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, or genitals that do not allow the individual to identify as either female or male. Transgender is gender expression or identity that does not match the person’s assigned sex at birth.

    Institutional Oppression and Internalized Oppression would be something I would like to know more about. I didn’t really understand the definitions too well!


  3. This video was actually very interesting, I’ve never had any knowledge on the terms involving sex and gender.
    Transsexual is a feeling of emotionally and psychologically feeling like you belong to the opposite sex.
    Inter-Sexual is biological and relating to the anatomy of the female and male body. It’s about having one appearance on the outside but the opposite internally. Such as a female born with male anatomy on the inside.
    Transgender People can be comparable to transexual in the state of feeling a sense of belonging to the opposite sex.
    People who identify themselves as transgender, inter-sexual, or transsexual often face discrimination, but they deserve equality.
    Cisgender is a new term to me, something I have never heard of. We should talk more about how its not just race but its also these terms and the people who belong to them that face discrimination.


  4. The video was very good and interesting.I did not know their where that many terms that had to do with sex and gender. like one of the ones i never heard was Transsexualism.Transsexualism is when an individual identifies with a gender inconsistent or not culturally associated with their assigned sex.This is when you get the people that have conflicts with their psychological gender. so they feel the need to change their gender.
    other one is inter-sexual which is a variation in sex characteristics including chromosomes that do not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as male or female.
    And the last one is Transgender this is when the gender identity act of that person dose not match the assigned sex. these are the 3 thought that he went over in the ted talk.


  5. After finishing the video, I felt like I had gained more knowledge and I thought the video overall was really cool. When looking at the dictionary provided, I was surprised to see the different terms associated with the LGBTQIA community. The words that I found interesting were transgender transsexual. Transgender is where a person doesn’t express or indentify with the gender they were born with. This is a different term than the word transsexual. The word transsexual means that a person changes their sexual orientation through reconstructive surgery of their genitals. The difference between transsexual and transgender is that transgender is a multifaceted term. One term that I was confused on was cisgender because I have never heard of that term before. I think this would be a good term to go more in depth with in class.


  6. When I think of gender, the only ones I think of are male or female. After watching this video I have come to learn that it is way more complicated. There are many different things to consider than just male or female. The way people express themselves can vary between a male or female just as their behavior and who they fall in love with etc. This video was very helpful in understanding the different sexualities.

    Transexual is basically when someone gets procedures done to become the opposite sex.
    Inter-sexual is when some can be referred to both male or female.
    Transgender is when someone believes they belong to the opposite sex.

    Just as mentioned in the other comments I do not fully understand Cisgender and Cissexual.


  7. This video was really informative and fun to watch! It was quite informative and interesting to learn about!

    Transsexual is a person who had surgery to become a member of the opposite sex.

    Inter-Sexual is a person who was born with ambiguous genitalia. Their chromosomes are not identifiable as strictly man or woman. They are both male and female.

    Transgender is a term for transsexuals, cross-dressers (transvestites), transgenderists, gender queers, and people who identify as neither female nor male and/or as neither a man or as a woman.

    The two words I am really still unsure of is Cissexual & Cisgender.


  8. This video was really informational and fascinating to watch. I was never aware there were such distinctions between sex and gender. This video helped me in learning the difference of sexual identities.

    Transsexual is a person who has undergone surgery to remove the unwanted parts in order to become the opposite sex.

    Inter-Sexual is a person who was born with ambiguous genitalia. Their chromosomes cannot be identified as male of female. They are identified as both male and female.

    Transgender is a term for transsexuals,, transgenderists, gender queers, and people who identify as the opposite sex.

    Like many others, I still don’t fully comprehend the two terms, Cissexual & Cisgender.


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