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some useful definitions

(This list is in alphabetical order.)

Ally:  An ally is an individual who is supportive of the queer community. They believe in the dignity and respect of all people, and are willing to stand up in that role.

Bisexual:  A person romantically, erotically, and/or emotionally attracted to people of either gender and/or people of either sex.  This attraction does not have to be equally split between genders and there may be a preference for one gender over others. This term, however, also implies that there are only two sexes or genders. (compare: pansexual)

Butch:  A person of any gender/sex who identifies themselves as masculine, whether it be physically, mentally, or emotionally. 

Coming Out:  A term referring to the process in which queer people disclose their sexual orientation and gender identity. It is a lifelong process and there are different levels of coming out: coming out to friends, family, co-workers, etc. Coming out is a liberating process, but can be difficult for some because societal and community reactions vary from complete acceptance and support to disapproval, rejection and violence.

Drag:  The performance of one or multiple genders theatrically.

Dyke:  A term for lesbian, originally used in a derogatory manner.  However, dyke has been reclaimed by most lesbians and the queer community as a whole, and is usually used in a non-derogatory sense as simple alternative to 'lesbian' or 'gay woman'.

Fag:  Term referring to a gay man, usually used in a derogatory manner.  However, it can also be used in other ways, with an affectionate or a political tone for example—generally only by members or allies of the queer community.

Femme:  A person of any gender/sex who identifies themselves as feminine, whether it be physically, mentally, or emotionally. 

FTM/F2M:  Abbreviation for female-to-male transgender or transsexual individual.

Fuck Gender:  Fuck Gender.

Gay:  1. Term used to represent males who are attracted to males romantically, erotically, and/or emotionally.  2. An umbrella term for anyone who identifies as not-heterosexual.

Gender:  A term used to distinguish a social role and/or personal identity (gender identity) distinct from biological sex. Elements of gender expression include clothing, speech patterns, movement and other factors not limited to biological sex.

Gender Identity: One's internal sense of gender--the gender with which a person identifies (i.e, whether one perceives oneself to be a man, a woman, trans, genderqueer, butch, etc.)

Genderfuck:  A gender performance which "fucks with" or plays with traditional gender identities, gender roles, and gender presentation.  As opposed to gender queer or transgender presentation, genderfuck is generally an intentional attempt to present a confusing gender identity, often with the intention to dismantle the perception of a gender binary.

Genderqueer:  A person whose gender identity is neither male nor female, is between or beyond genders, or is some combination of genders—someone who does not fit into the traditional two-gender or binary gender system.

GLBTQA: These letters are commonly used as shorthand for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied community. "I" for intersex, "Q" for queer and other identities are often included in this "alphabet soup." It is important to recognize the various sexual orientations and gender identities in our community. There are many people who do not like "letter labels" and when letters are used, someone in the community is always going to be excluded. OUTfront chose its name in part to prevent this problem.

Hate:  An emotion of intense revulsion, distaste, enmity, or antipathy for a person, thing, or phenomenon; a desire to avoid, restrict, remove, or destroy its object.  Hate can be based on fear of its object, justified or unjustified.  It is often described as the opposite of love or friendship; others consider the opposite of love to be indifference.  Hate is also used to describe feelings of prejudice, bigotry or condemnation against a person, or a group of people, such as racism, and intense religious or political prejudice. The term hate crime is used to designate crimes committed out of hatred in this sense.  Hate is often a precursor to violence.

Heteronormativity:  A term used in the discussion of sexual behavior, gender, and society, primarily within the fields of queer theory and gender theory. It is used to describe (and frequently to criticize) the manner in which many social institutions and social policies are seen to reinforce certain beliefs.  These include the belief that human beings fall into two distinct and complementary categories, male and female; that sexual and marital relations are normal only when between two people of different genders; and that each gender has certain natural roles in life. Thus, physical sex, gender identity, and gender roles should in any given person align to either all-male or all-female norms, and heterosexuality is considered to be the only normal sexual orientation. The norms this term describes or criticizes might be overt, covert, or implied. Heteronormativity distorts discourse by stigmatizing alternative concepts of both sexuality and gender, and makes certain types of self-expression more difficult.

Heterosexism: A term that refers to the assumption that all people are heterosexual and that heterosexuality is superior and more desirable than homosexuality.

Heterosexual:  A term invented in the 1800’s to refer to individuals who are sexually attracted to the opposite sex/gender.

Homosexual:  A term invented in the 1800’s to refer to individuals who are sexually attracted to their own sex/gender. This term is not widely used in the queer community as it is seen as too clinical.

Homophobia:  The irrational fear and hatred of queer people.

Intersex:  A person who is born with any or all of the following: chromosomes, genitalia, gonads, hormones, or secondary sex characteristics determined as neither exclusively male nor female, or which combine features of the male and female sexes.  However, not all intersex conditions result in atypical genital appearance.  The terms hermaphrodite and pseudohermaphrodite, introduced in the 19th century, are now considered misleading and stigmatizing. 

Lesbian:  Term used to describe female-identified people attracted romantically, erotically, and/or emotionally to other female-identified people.

MTF/M2F:  Abbreviation for male-to-female transgender or transsexual individual.

Pansexual/Omnisexual:  A person who is romantically, erotically, and/or emotionally attracted to people regardless of gender—including those who don't fit into the gender binary of male/female implied by bisexual attraction.  

Phallocentrism:  In critical theory and deconstruction, phallocentrism refers to the perceived tendency of Western thought to locate the center of any text or discourse within the phallus.

Queer:  1. An umbrella term which embraces a matrix of gender expressions, sexual preferences, orientations, and habits of anyone who “deviates” from the heterosexual-and-monogamous mainstream.  Queer includes transpeople, intersex persons, bisexuals, lesbians, gay men, the radical sex communities, and many other sexually transgressive explorers.  2. This term is sometimes used as a sexual orientation label instead of “bisexual” as a way of acknowledging that there are more than two genders to be attracted to, or as a way of stating non-heterosexual orientation without having to state who they are attracted to.  3. Formerly a derogatory adjective for gays and lesbians, but in the 1980s the term began to be reclaimed by gay and lesbian activists as a term of self-identification.  Nevertheless, a sizeable percentage of people to whom this term may apply still hold queer to be an extremely offensive word.

Questioning:  People who are in the process of questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity are often in need of support and understanding during this stage of their identity. Many may be seeking information and guidance in their self-discovery.

Sex:  A medical term designating a certain combination of gonads, chromosomes, external gender organs, secondary sex characteristics, and hormonal balances.  When sex is subdivided, as it usually is, into "male" and "female," it doesn't recognize the existence of intersexed bodies.

Sexual Orientation: Ones sexual orientation refers to whom he or she is sexually or romantically attracted to. Some people believe that this is a choice (a preference) and others that it is innate (queer people are born this way). The Kinsey Scale was designed to measure the intensity of someone's sexual orientation (from strictly heterosexual on one end to strictly homosexual on the other) and is a continuum. Some individuals believe that reparative therapy can "cure" homosexuals and make them heterosexual, but this does not work.

Straight:  Heterosexual.

Transgender:  A person who lives as a member of a gender other than that expected based on anatomical sex.  Sexual orientation varies and is not dependent on gender identity.

Transsexual:  A person who identifies psychologically as a gender/sex other than the one to which they were assigned at birth.  Transsexuals often wish to transform their bodies hormonally and surgically to match their inner sense of gender/sex.

Transvestite:  This term most often refers to males who dress in the clothing of women. 

 

 

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