We understand that it can often by confusing to understand all the different gender and sexual identities, so we've compiled a list of definitions and other helpful terms. If you have any questions about, or suggestions for our list then please get in touch.
Sexuality/Sexual Orientation - The interaction between one’s own gender and the gender(s) they feel sexual attraction towards.
Romantic orientation- The romantic attraction an individual has to others respective of their identified gender. e.g. Biromantic, Panromantic etc.
- Androsexual: An individual who feels sexual attraction towards men and/or Masculinity. Typically used by genderqueer individuals to whom homo/heterosexual do not apply.
- Asexual: An individual who lacks sexual attraction to other individuals.
- Bisexual: An individual who is attracted sexually to more than one gender.
- Bi-Curious: An individual who considers themselves hetero/homosexual, however is interested in having a bisexual experience, and/or believes they may be bisexual. (A Sub-term of Questioning)
- Demisexual: An individual who does not feel sexual attraction to another until an emotional or romantic connection with said person has been formed.
- Gynosexual: An individual who feels sexual attraction towards women and/or femininity. Typically used by genderqueer individuals to whom homo/heterosexual do not apply.
- Heterosexual: An individual who is sexually attracted to another Gender. (Also known as Straight)
- Homosexual: An individual who is sexually attracted to people of the same gender they identify as. (Also Known as Gay, Lesbian, Same Gender Loving)
- Kinsey Scale: A spectrum, described by renowned Sociologist, Alfred Kinsey, on a scale used to describe the type of sexual desire with an individual. Ranging from 0, as completely Heterosexual, to 6, completely Homosexual.
- MSM/WSW: An initialism for ‘men who have sex with men’ and ‘women who have sex with women’. Used to distinguish between sexual behaviour and sexual identities.
- Omnisexual: An individual who feels sexual attraction to all gender identities. This differs from Pansexuality as a Pansexual does not look at someone’s gender identity when considering potential partners. (A Sub-term of Polysexual)
- Pansexual: An individual who feels sexual attraction to others regardless of gender identity. (Also known as Genderblind)
- Polysexual: An individual who is attracted to many genders.
- Sexual Preference: The types of sexual activities an individual likes to receive and participate in. Often used mistakenly interchanged with sexual orientation, creating an illusion that one has a choice, or preference, in their sexual orientation.
- Skoliosexual: An individual who is sexually attracted to genderqueer individuals.
Gender-A socially constructed system of classification that ascribes qualities of masculinity and femininity to people. These qualities change over time and differ between countries. This is a different concept to sex.
- Agender: An individual who identifies as having no gender. (Also known as Gender Neutral)
- Androgynous: An adjective used to describe traits traditionally associated as both male and female, neither male nor female, or in between male and female.
- Bi-gender: An individual who identifies as two genders, either simultaneously or separately.
- Binding: The act of reducing the visible breast size of an individual through the use of constrictive materials. This can cause breathing difficulties if performed incorrectly.
- Butch: An individual who expresses and/or identifies with Masculinity.
- Cisgender: When an individual's gender identity matches the gender they were assigned at birth.
- Deadnaming: The term for calling someone their birth name after they have changed their name. Often associated with trans people who have changed their name.
- Demi-Boy/male: An individual who identifies partially as, but not wholly, a man/male.
- Demi-Girl/female: An individual who identifies partially as, but not wholly, a woman/female.
- Drag Queen/King: An individual who performs Masculinity/Femininity for theatrical purposes.
- Femme: An individual who expresses and/or identifies with femininity.
- Gender Binary: A traditional (and inaccurate) view of gender, limiting the possibilities to "man" and "woman".
- Gender Dysphoria: A condition where an individual experiences discomfort or distress due to a mismatch between their gender identity and their Biological sex or their perceived gender.
- Gender Expression: The ways in which one expresses their gender outwardly. Can be displayed through appearance, behaviour and pronouns.
- Gender Identity: The gender one identifies as.
- Gender Normative/Gender Straight: An individual whose gender presentation aligns with society’s gender-based expectations.
- Gender Recognition Certificate: A Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) allows trans people to be legally recognised in their self-identified gender and be issued with a new birth certificate.
- Genderfluid: An individual whose gender identity is dynamic or fluid. Their gender identity may fluctuate between many different genders, any number of which may include multiple genders simultaneously.
- Genderqueer: An individual who does not identify as part of the gender binary. (Also known as Non-Binary)
- Packing: The act of wearing a phallic device or other object in the groin area, under the clothes, for the purpose of creating a bulge to simulate male genitalia.
- Passing: A term for trans people being able to “pass for” a member of their self-identified gender.
- She-Male: A term, many people find offensive used to refer to MTF trans individuals. Often used by the sex and porn industries to objectify, exotify, and eroticize the trans body.
- Third Gender: An individual who does not identify as man or woman, but identifies as a third gender. This is typically used by societies that recognise three or more genders.
- Tucking: The act of hiding the male genitalia so they are not visible through clothing. Often involving pushing one’s testicles back into the Inguinal Canal and pulling the penis back between the legs.
- Trans-man: An individual who identifies as male but wasn’t assigned such at birth.
- Trans-woman: An individual who identifies as female but wasn’t assigned such at birth.
- Transgender: An individual who does not identify with their assigned sex at birth.
- Transition: A term used to refer to the process a trans person undergoes when changing their bodily appearance to be more congruent with their gender identity.
- Transvestite: An individual who wears items of clothing and adopts characteristics commonly associated with a different gender, while not identifying with said gender. Often confused with ‘Transgender’. (Also known as Drag, Cross-Dressers, Gender Non-Conforming (GNC), and Gender Variant)
- Trigender: An individual who identifies as three genders, either simultaneously or separately.
- Two-spirit: A term traditionally used by Native American people to recognise individuals who possess qualities or fulfill roles of both genders.
Biological Sex - The physical anatomy and chromosomal make up an individual is born with. This is often confused with gender.
- Sexual Characteristics: The physical and genetic characteristics that are used to indicate an organism’s biological sex. In humans these are categorised into primary characteristics and secondary characteristics.
- Primary Characteristics are those that an individual is born with. These include: Sex Hormones, Gonads, Level of Sex Hormones, Anatomy of internal Genitalia, and Anatomy of external genitalia.
- Secondary Characteristics are those that develop later in life, typically during puberty. These include: upper body development, body fat distribution, and pubic and body hair
- Assigned Sex: The Biological sex an individual is assigned at birth. (Known as: Assigned Female/Male At Birth (AFAB/AMAB), Designated Female/Male At Birth (DFAB/DMAB) etc.)
- Biological Male: A Definition applied at birth to an individual whose primary sexual characteristics are predominantly indicative of men.
- Biological Female: A Definition applied at birth to an individual whose primary sexual characteristics are predominantly indicative of women.
- Bottom Surgery: A term referring to the surgery used to alter the reproductive organs to confirm to their gender identity.
- Female-to-Male/Male-to-Female: An individual who was assigned gender A at birth, identifies as gender B and is physically transitioning, so that their biological sex matches their gender. (Also known as MTF, FTM, M2F, F2M)
- Gender Confirmation Surgery: The surgical procedure by which a transgender person’s physical appearance and existing sexual characteristics are altered to resemble that of their gender identity.
- Hermaphrodite: This term is incorrect for use with humans, and is described as derogatory slang. In actuality it describes an organism that has complete reproductive organs normally associated with both male and female sexes.
- Intersex: A person whose biological sex cannot be categorised into male or female. For example, people born with both anatomy (penis, testicles, vagina, uterus) or people born with XXY chromosomes.
- Medical Transitioning: The Process of changing one’s biological sex to match their identified gender, typically through hormone therapy and surgery.
- Top Surgery: A term referring to the surgery used to construct a male-type chest, or breast augmentation for a female type-chest.
- Transsexual: An individual who identifies as a different sex to that they were assigned at birth. Often confused with ‘Transgender’.
- -Erasure: The tendency to ignore, remove or falsify a group of people in history, academia, media. Often used as Bi-Erasure, and Trans-Erasure.
- Ally: An individual who supports the rights of LGBT+ people.
- Advocate: An individual who stands up for or campaigns for the rights of LGBT+ people.
- Cisnormativity: The assumption, in individuals, institutions, and culture, that everyone is cisgender, and that being cisgender is ‘the norm’.
- Closeted/In The Closet: An individual who is not open to themselves, or others, about their sexuality and/or gender identity.
- Coming Out: The process by which one accepts and/or comes to identify their own sexuality and/or gender identity, or share’s this knowledge with others.
- Constellation: The arrangement and/or structure, of a polyamorous relationship.
- Dyke/Faggot: Controversial Terms used to describe LGBT+ individuals. Used by some as a reclaimed term, but can be offensive to others.
- Fluidity: Where a characteristic is not fixed. Often used with gender and sexuality.
- Heteronormativity: The assumption in individuals, institutions, and culture, that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is ‘the norm’.
- Queer: An umbrella term sometimes used to refer to the entire LGBT+ community, however this can sometimes be considered offensive to some people depending on their generation, location and relationship with the word.
- Questioning: A frame of mind where one is querying their own sexual/romantic orientation/gender identity. (E.g. bicurious)
- Internalized Homophobia: The fear and self-hate of one’s own LGBT+ identity, that occurs for many individuals who have been raised with negative ideas about LGBT+ people.
- Polyamory: The practice of, desire to, or orientation towards, having ethical, honest, and consensual, non-monogamous relationships. (I.e. relationships that include multiple partners)
- Sexual Prejudice: Refers to negative attitudes and feelings towards a group of people often based on negative stereotypes or irrational fear. (E.g. Homophobia, Bi-phobia, Trans-phobia)
Compiled using definitions from:
and our own knowledge and reasoning.