Glossary of Sexual Orientation/Gender Terminology

Sexual orientation and gender are immensely complex, and the various terminologies related to them can be very confusing. Below is a list of definitions to help provide a clear understanding of various terms surrounding sexual orientation and gender.  DISCLAIMER: Some of the following terms are derogatory, offensive, and outdated, and should not be used as…

Gender Binary

The gender binary is a system that pairs together sex (which is based on an individual’s reproductive anatomy) and gender (which refers to the socially constructed ideas and expectations that a culture has for certain sex). More specifically, it classifies two distinguishable, distinct, and oftentimes contrasting genders: males who identify as men and females who…

Bisexuality

Bisexuality can be difficult to define, because it holds different meanings for different people. In its most basic definition, bisexuality is the ability to be sexually, emotionally, or romantically attracted to more than one sex or gender (bi often indicating two). The Bisexual Resource Center uses “bisexual” as an inclusive term for people who recognize…

Asexuality

Sexuality exists on a continuum, and not within a dichotomy of heterosexual and homosexual. Thus, there are many different types of sexual orientation. Sexual orientation describes a person’s preferences for whom they find emotionally, romantically, and sexually attractive. One type of sexual orientation is asexuality, or the lack of sexual attraction to individuals of any gender. For example, someone might…

Genderqueer

The word “genderqueer” is a term used to describe one whose gender identity does not necessarily fit within the male/female gender binary. Gender identity is an inner sense and experience of one’s gender, whether male-identifying, female-identifying, trans*, or non-binary.1 Though many individuals identify with the male or female labels, others reject this strict gender binary. Some identify with specific labels on the spectrum of…