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LGBT Resources
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LGBT Terminology

An informal "dictionary" of commonly used words and phrases

Ally - A person who supports and honors sexual and gender diversity, challenges biased remarks and behaviors, and who openly explores one's own biases.

Bisexual - Person with emotional and sexual attraction to both men and women, not necessarily at the same time or to the same extent.

Closeted - Hiding one's sexual orientation.

Coming Out - Process of recognizing and acknowledging non-heterosexual orientation to oneself and then disclosing it to others. Generally occurs is stages and is a non-linear process.

Family of Choice - Persons forming an individual's close social support network, often fulfilling the function of blood relatives. Many gay persons are rejected when families learn of their sexual orientation, while others may remain closeted to biological relatives. In such cases, it is the families of choice who will be called upon in times of illness or personal crisis.

Family of Origin - Biological family or the family in which one was raised. May or may not be a part of a person's support system.

Gay - Common word for men with emotional and sexual attraction to other men, but often used in reference to both genders.

Gender Identity - One's psychological sense of oneself as a male or female.

Gender Roles - Socially constructed and culturally specific behaviors and appearance expectations imposed on men and women.

LGBT - Acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. Sometimes shown as GLBT.

Heterosexism - Institutionalized assumption that everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is inherently superior to and preferable to homosexuality or bisexuality.

Heterosexual - Person with emotional and sexual attraction to persons of the opposite gender.

Homophobia - Irrational fear or hatred of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuals or homosexual behavior.

Homosexual - Person with emotional and sexual attraction to persons of the same gender.

Internalized Homophobia - Experience of shame, aversion, or self-hatred in reaction to one's own feelings of attraction for a person of the same sex.

Inclusive Language - Use of gender non-specific language to avoid imposing the limiting assumption of heterosexuality and to present an open social climate for non-heterosexuals.

Lesbian - Woman with emotional and sexual attraction to persons of the same gender.

Partner - Primary domestic partner or spousal relationship among same gender couples.

Sexual Orientation - An enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, or affectional attraction that a person feels toward another person. Sexual orientation falls along a continuum.

Transsexual - Individual who presents him/herself, and lives as the gender opposite to his/her genetic gender at birth. Transsexuals may be heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual in the erotic orientation.

Transgender - Broad term used to describe the continuum of individuals whose gender identity and expression, to varying degrees, does not correspond with their genetic sex.

Transvestite - Man or woman who enjoys wearing the clothes of and appearing as the other gender. While many transvestites are heterosexual, the use of transvestitism in the gay "drag" culture is well documented.

LGBT Symbols

The following web sites provide information regarding common symbols of the LGBT community: