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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 acknowledges and appreciates differences in people and groups. This is someone who is a safe and open person to talk to and someone who is willing to stand up for the rights and well-being of others.

AMAB

An acronym for "Assigned Male at Birth."

Asexual

Someone who does not experience sexual attraction. There is considerable diversity in this community; each individual experiences things like relationships, attraction, and arousal somewhat differently.

Bisexual

Someone who is attracted to both men and women. A person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction to people of their own gender as well as another gender.

Cisgender

A term for someone who identifies with the sex 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

A sociological construct (usually taught as a binary) defining the collection of characteristics that are culturally associated with maleness or femaleness; masculine and feminine constitute this.

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 1800s to be used in opposition to the term "homosexual."

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 a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.

Non-binary

An identity claimed by those whose gender identity does not fit neatly into the culturally expected man/woman gender binary. Non-binary people may feel the desire to express a fluid and changing identity or to challenge social norms around gender.

Pansexual

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

Polyamorous

A term used to describe someone who has the ability to be in multiple romantic, sexual, and/or honest relationships at the same time.

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.