Do you know these LGBTQ+ terms that are commonly used in the queer community?
We’ve already filled you in on our fave LGBTQ+ movies, queer artists on Instagram, and the best gay bars in Hong Kong. So, now we’ve put together a list of some of the most basic LGBTQ+ terms and their definitions – ready to see if you understand what they mean?
20 LGBTQ+ terms that you need to know
Asexuality means that one experiences no sexual attraction to others. Even though asexuals aren’t interested in having sex with anyone, they can still have romantic feelings for people – and be in a healthy relationship. Being asexual and aromantic are two very different things.
Being an LGBTQ+ ally means that the person supports the LGBTQ+ community. This often denotes that the ally is (typically) straight and/or cisgender.
A man or woman who is sexually attracted to both genders.
As bisexuals are perceived to possess straight passing privilege when they’re with an opposite gender, it’s common to see people ridicule or undermine the plausibility of bisexuality, such is internalised biphobia (it even happens within the gay community). The idea that bisexuals are just having it all and they should pick a side is antiquated.
Cisgender means a person’s gender identity aligns with their birth sex. For instance, you were born a female and you feel like a female, so you’re a cisgender. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re heterosexual – so don’t get confused with these LGBTQ+ terms.
6. Coming out
Coming out is when a person first tells others about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Drag kings and queens – some are heterosexual and cisgender – are males and females who dress like the opposite sex to perform either masculinity or femininity as a form of art.
A man who is sexually attracted to a man.
9. Gender non-conforming
Gender non-conforming refers to someone who doesn’t conform to traditional gender norms. They don’t dress and act masculine or feminine in order to fit into society’s default gender expression.
When you meet a new female friend, do you automatically ask her whether she has a boyfriend (instead of a girlfriend)? When you talk about marriage, do you assume it’s a guy and a woman instead of two men or two women? That’s heteronormativity. When it comes to LGBTQ+ terms, one must not forget why they’re important – because the world functions in a heteronormative manner and we need to break those norms starting from language.
Intersex is a general term to describe someone who is born with several variations in sex characteristics, such as genitals or chromosomes, that don’t fit the typical definitions of male or female.
A woman who is sexually attracted to a woman.
LGBTQIA stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (or Questioning), Intersex, and Asexual. As the queer community gets increasingly inclusive, most people simply use LGBTQ+ as an umbrella term to describe the entire community.
This is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with “man” or “woman”. There is a spectrum of non-binary identities: some people identify with themselves with certain aspects of binary identities, while others reject them entirely.
While bisexual is a more familiar term to describe someone who is attracted to both males and females, pansexual means that you’re attracted to all people, regardless of their biological sex, gender, or gender identity. It’s truly what’s on the inside that counts.
Queer was once perceived as a derogatory term, but younger generations have been reclaiming the word to make it one of the positive LGBTQ+ terms. People who identify as queer mean that they’re non-heterosexual, as well as being sexually fluid.
17. Sexual fluidity
Sexual fluidity means that one’s sexual orientation is fluid and can change over time. For example, people who were definitively straight (or heterosexual) can feel sexually attracted to someone of the same gender, as sexual preferences aren’t set in stone.
A transgender refers to someone whose gender identity doesn’t align with their birth sex. A pre-operative (pre-op) transsexual person means someone who intends to have sex reassignment surgery (SRS) in the future, while post-op means someone who has had SRS, and non-op means someone who hasn’t had SRS and doesn’t wish to have it.
Transphobia refers to prejudice and discrimination towards trans people. If you wish not to come across as transphobic because of your oblivion, educate yourself on trans issues. Don’t question their genitals or surgery, and start by asking what pronouns they prefer to be called (some use gender neutral language like they/them). Also, there is a BIG difference between trans people and drag.
A person who dresses as the binary opposite gender expression (“cross-dresses”) for any one of many reasons, including relaxation, fun, and sexual gratification (often called a “cross-dresser,” and should not be confused with transsexual).