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Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center

Terms and Definitions

*While this is not an exhaustive list, we hope this list can help you build a foundation for being an affirming ally at WSU and beyond.

AFAB

An acronym for "Assigned Female at Birth."

Ally

A term used to describe someone who, not only acknowledges and appreciates differences in people and groups, but is also a safe and open person to talk to and someone who is willing to stand up for the rights and well-being of others.  An ally actively advocates for and supports the community.

AMAB

An acronym for "Assigned Male at Birth."

Asexual (ace)

An identity describing someone who experiences little to no sexual attraction.  A person's romantic attraction may be different and not defined by their sexual attraction, and vice versa.

Bisexual

An identity used to describe someone who is sexually attracted to two or more genders.

Cisgender

A term for someone whose gender identity aligns with the sex and/or gender they were assigned at birth.

Crossdresser

A term used to describe an individual, regardless of sexual orientation, who chooses to dress in the “opposite” gender clothing.

Drag

A theatrical performance adopting gendered clothing and behaviors (usually not associated with one's own identity) for entertainment and expression. Drag does not indicate the performer's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Gender

1. The state of being man, woman, or other gender identity;

2. A social construct meant to classify people based on concepts of masculinity and femininity.

Gender Expression

External manifestation of one’s gender identity, usually expressed through clothing, haircut, voice, or body characteristics.

Gender Identity

One’s internal sense of being a man, woman, neither of these, both, or other gender(s).

Heterosexual

A term used to describe someone who is attracted to those on the "opposite" side of the sex and gender binary. The term was originally created in the 1800's to be used in opposition to the term "homosexual," and to maintain the dominant status of straight people.

Homosexual

A term used to describe someone who is attracted to those on the same side of the sex and gender binary. The term's pathological connotation makes many LGBTQ+ people hesitant to identify with it. 

Intersex

A general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.

Non-Binary

A gender identity that lies outside the socially constructed man/woman gender binary, including those who are neither man nor woman, or a combination of both.

Pansexual

An identity describing someone who is capable of being sexually attracted to any/all genders.

Polyamorous

An identity describing someone who desires relationships with more than one other person.  Polyamorous relationships are not cheating; they require trust, open communication, and honesty.

Queer

(1) An umbrella term sometimes used by LGBTQA people to refer to the entire LGBTQA community. (2) An term that some people use to push back against the idea of labels and categories. (3) An in-group term that can be empowering for some but offensive to others.

Sex

A biological term dividing a species into male or female, usually on the basis of chromosomes (XX = female, XY = male). Hormone levels, secondary sex characteristics, and internal and external genitalia may also be considered criteria.

Sexual Orientation

A person’s physical, romantic, emotional, aesthetic, and/or other form of attraction to others.

Transgender

An umbrella term for those individuals whose gender identity does not match with that assigned for their physical sex. Importantly, this term does not tell us anything about someone’s sexual orientation.

Transition

The process of changing one's sex or gender, socially (through outward gender expression, pronouns) or medically (hormones/surgery).

Transsexual

A term used to describe a person who identifies psychologically as a gender/sex other than the one to which they were assigned at birth. This individual may use hormones and/or surgery to help their physical body match their inner sense of gender/sex.

Undocuqueer

A term linking one's status as undocumented with their queer identity to show that not only are they intersectional, but inseparable.

Many of these term definitions have been adapted or adopted from The ABC's of LGBT+ by Ashley Mardell.