Terminology

A

AC-DC: Bisexual

Affectional Orientation: A term used to defined who one is attracted to romantically with sexual attraction being only a part of a larger dynamic.

Agender: meaning of no gender. A fairly new term use to describe people who do not feel like they are of any particular gender.

AIDS: acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS, is a disease caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The disease attacks and weakens the immune system.

Ally: Any non-lesbian, non-gay, or non-bisexual person whose attitudes and behavior are both anti-homophobic and anti-heterosexist and who works toward combating homophobia and heterosexism on a personal and professional level.

Ambigender: undefined gender. Such people feel neither male or female but are some combination of genders.

Androgyny: --the state of being neither masculine nor feminine, i.e. being ambiguous.

Asexual: Having no evident sex or sex organs. In usage, may refer to a person who is not sexually active, or not sexually attracted to other people.

B

Bachelor: In the early twentieth century it became euphemism for homosexual. Obituaries in London, would be worded that "he never married" for heterosexual males, and "confirmed bachelor" for gay males.

Bashing: physical or verbal assault of a GLBT person on account of his or her sexually orientation.

Bi-curious: A heterosexual who wishes to "experiment" with his or her sexuality.

Biphobia: The irrational fear and intolerance of people who are bisexual.

Bisexual: being attracted to people of both sexes. A person who forms his or her primary loving and sexual relationships regardless of an individual’s sex.

Boston Marriage: A live-in relationship between two women that were sometimes lesbians.

Breeders: A derogatory term for heterosexuals.

Buggery: A legal term for both anal intercourse and bestiality.

Bulldagger or Bulldyke: A lesbian who dresses and behaves in a masculine fashion.

Butch: highly masculine.

C

CD4 count: The Centers for Disease Control {CDC} consider you to have AIDS if your CD4 count has EVER been below 200. It is a primary indicator for guiding HIV treatment.

Closet: The place where GLBT people figuratively hide their homosexuality. To be "In the closet" means not being open about being gay.

Coming Out (of the closet): To publicly declare and affirm one's sexuality to oneself or to others.

Commitment Ceremony: A public affirmation of your commitment and union.

Cross Dresser: A person who regularly or occasionally wears clothing socially assigned to a gender not their own. Such people are usually comfortable with their anatomy and do not wish to change it. Contrary to popular belief, the overwhelming majority of cross-dressers identify as straight and are often married. Very few women call themselves cross-dressers.

D

Domestic Partnership: a substitute term for marriage. An official recognition of partners to honor the union of a lesbian or gay male couple.

Down-Low: A term once used exclusively by the gay and bi black community to refer to working-class men who live as straight men, often who are married, and who secretly have affairs with gay men. The closest equivalent is the older phrase, rough trade.

Drag: The act of dressing in gender specific clothing as part of a performance. Drag Queens perform in highly feminine attire. Drag Kings perform in highly masculine attire. Drag may be performed as a political comment on gender, as parody, or simply as entertainment. A drag performance does not indicate sexuality, gender identity, or sex identity.

Dyke: A lesbian. The term derives from the nineteenth-century slang word dike, which referred to male clothing. When it was first used it carried a derogatory connotation but many lesbians have adopted the word as their term of preference.

F

F2M or FTM: A transgender or transsexual person who is transitioning or has transitioned from female to male.

Faggot: a bundle of sticks. The term was latter applied to gays during the Inquisition when they were burned along with witches. Gay men now sometimes use it affectionately with each other.

Family: Colloquial term used to identify other GLBT community members.

Fence Sitter: A bisexual person.

Flame: To behave in an extremely effeminate manner.

Friend of Dorothy: Gay. The term refers to the actress Judy Garland who is said to have preferred gay males as friends. Judy played Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

Front Marriage: A marriage between a lesbian and gay man in order to "pass" at work and/or with family.

Fruit Machine: A humorous term for a device developed in Canada that was supposed to be able to identify homosexuals. This machine was employed in Canada during the 1950s and 1960s in an attempt to eliminate homosexuals from the civil service and military. Subjects viewed pornography and the device measured pupil dilation, perspiration, and pulse to ascertain erotic responses.

G

Gaily Forward: The physical act of moving in a straight line. Used humorously to prevent uttering the word "straight".

Gay: A person who forms his or her primary loving and sexual relationships with other individuals of the same sex (often used to refer to both men and women).

Gay Plague: A 1980s term for HIV and AIDS

Gay-bashing: The harassment of GLBT people physically or verbally.

Gaydar: The supposed ability to be able to tell by sight if another person is not heterosexual without asking direct questions. This supposed ability is based on indirect sensing and intuition. Some people believe this idea should not be perpetuated because it reinforces stereotyping. In reality there are no social, biological, or personal attributes that differentiate GLBT people from general population.

Gay-Until-Graduation (GUG): Sarcastic phrase to refer to individuals who have exclusive same-sex relationships in college, but who form heterosexual partnerships after graduating.

Gender Identity: A person’s sense of his or herself as a male or female, masculine or feminine, neither, or both. Gender identity is also often conflated with sexual orientation, but this is inaccurate.

Gender Role: The level to which an individual adheres to or accepts the proscribed cultural norms for masculine and feminine behavior.

Gender: A socially constructed system of classification that ascribes qualities of masculinity and femininity to people. Gender characteristics can change over time and are different between cultures.

GLBT: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered. This sequence is predominant on the American East Coast, whereas LGBT is predominant on the West Coast.

H

Hanky Codes: The handkerchief code was a way, for gay men to recognize each other. The handkerchief code used location and color, to indicate the sexual interests, of the potential sex partners.

Hate Crime: a crime motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person.

Hermaphrodite: a human being with both male and female sexual organs, though one set is usually underdeveloped.

Heterosexism: The system of advantages bestowed on heterosexuals. It assumes that all people are or should be heterosexual and, therefore, excludes the needs, concerns, and life experiences of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals
.
Heterosexual Privilege: Benefits derived automatically by being (or being perceived as) heterosexual that are denied to GLBT persons
.
Heterosexual: A person who is emotionally, physically and/or sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex. Initially this term was used to denote bisexual people.

Homoicide: police slang for a homosexual that is murdered
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Homophobia: The hatred, fear, and/or prejudice against people who love and sexually desire other people of the same sex or who are perceived as loving and sexually desiring others of the same sex. It is also the fear of one’s own same-sex feelings of attraction. Homophobia includes discrimination, harassment, and acts of violence.

Homosexual: Attracted physically to people of the same sex.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus: A virus that attacks and weakens the immune system eventually leading to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS.

Hundred-And-Seventy-Fiver: a person violating Paragraph 175 of the German Penal Code of 1871 outlawed homosexual practices. Accordingly, the term has come to mean homosexual.

I

In the Closet: To hide one's sexuality in order to maintain one's job, housing situation, friends, family or in some other way to survive life in a heterosexist culture. Many LGBT persons are out in some circumstances, but closeted in others.

Intermediate Sex: Homosexual. The term was used around the turn of the century, but soon fell into disfavor.

Internalized Oppression: The process by which a member of an oppressed group comes to accept and live out the inaccurate myths and stereotypes applied to the group.

Intersexed: A person who is born with a sexual and/or biological anatomy that mixes male and female characteristics. This describes at least one in every 2,000 people.

Inversion: Homosexuality. This term first appeared in the 1800s it was used by gay people until the early 1900s despite its negative connotations.

K

Kinsey Six: A person who identifies completely as gay, as opposed to one with some bisexual inclinations. The term refers to a scale developed by Alfred Kinsey's where a score of 0 indicated heterosexuality and 6 homosexuality.

L

Laddie or Lassie - A term used to identify children with gay parents. Originally the term had a negative connotation but it has been reclaimed as an affectionate term.

Lavender Law - Legal issues, practice and study pertaining to the gay and lesbian community.

Lavender Marriage: A marriage of convenience. A male and female marriage between men who like men and women who like women. The marriage is for mutual benefit.

Lesbian: A woman who forms her primary loving and sexual relationships with other women. The term originates from the ancient Greek poet Sappho who lived on the island of Lesbos. As Sappho became known for her poems celebrating love between women, the term lesbian changed its primary meaning from "one who lives on Lesbos" to "a woman like Sappho and her followers."

Lincoln Logs: Derogative term, used to describe a gay Republican group known as the Log Cabin Republicans.

Lipstick Lesbian: A feminine lesbian.

M

M2F or MTF: A transgender or transsexual person who is transitioning or has transitioned from male to female.

Mary: One of many female names used to refer to gay men who are effeminate. Sometimes it is a term of endearment.

N

Names Project: an undertaking begun in San Francisco to commemorate people who died of AIDS. The project involved surviving friends and relatives sewing quilt panels, three feet by six feet, for departed loved ones.

O

Out: (i.e. of the closet) being open about one's sexual orientation to the general population.

Outing or "to out": To publicly disclose another person's homosexuality, usually against their will or without their knowledge.

P

Pairage: a substitute word for marriage. An official recognition of partners to honor the union of a lesbian or gay male couple.

Pangender: is often meant to be a third sex They feel neither female nor male but rather some combination of genders.

Pansexual: A term describing individuals who are fluid in sexual orientation and/or gender or sex identity.

Pass or Passing: To appear correctly as something that one is not. For example, a gay man can "pass" as heterosexual or a transwoman can "pass" as a woman.

Polyamory: Polyamory is the practice of having multiple open, honest love relationships.

Q

Queen: An effeminate gay man; a drag queen. Is also a suffix in a compound noun to overemphasize a point, such as "leather queen", "drama queen", and "size queen."

Queer: This term originally meant odd but was latter used in a derogatory manner to describe gay men and lesbians. Recently the term has been reclaimed by more radical LGBT activists and used in the slogans of ACT UP and Queer Nation (We're here, we're queer, get used to it!). Considered a more inclusive term than gay, queer also sometimes refers to a more radical and confrontational type of activism. Many people in the LGBT community still find this an offensive word.

R

Rainbow Flag: The flag was originally designed by San Francisco artist, Gilbert Baker, in 1978 as a symbol of gay and lesbian pride. It was modified in 1979 to a six-strip format red for light, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for natural serenity, blue for art, purple for harmony.
Rainbow: a symbol celebrating the uniqueness and diversity within the GLB community. Often displayed in the form of a flag or "freedom rings."

Red Necktie: Gay males wore red neckties as a code to identify one another in the early 1900s. The red necktie was used up in to the 1950s.
Romantic Orientation: A term used to defined who one is attracted to romantically with sexual attraction being only a part of a larger dynamic.

S

Sapphistry: Lesbian love; derived from Sappho, the lesbian poet of ancient Greece.

Sex Identity: The sex that a person sees themselves as. This can include refusing to label oneself with a sex.

Sex: The biological aspect of being male or female expressed through chromosomes, endocrine, gonadal, and external genitalia.

Sexual Orientation: The part of one’s identity that defines to whom a person is emotionally, romantically, and sexually attracted.

Silence=Death: A galvanizing phrase, originating in the mid-1980s, by the radical AIDS activist group, ACT-UP, to bring attention to the AIDS epidemic.

Sodomy: Sexual acts deemed unnatural by religious and legal precedents.

Straight: Person who is attracted to a gender other than their own. Commonly thought of as "attraction to the opposite gender," but since there are not only two genders (see transgender), this definition is inaccurate.

T

Third Sex: A term used in the past to denote homosexuals. The first sex meant heterosexual men, the second described heterosexual women, and third sex meant those who fell in between or on the outside.

Transgender: In the broadest sense, the term encompasses anyone whose identity or behavior falls outside of stereotypical gender norms or expectations. There is also some variation in the ways that different groups and individuals use this term that may reflect more specific meanings.

Transphobia: Fear or hatred of transgender people; transphobia is manifested in a number of ways, including violence, harassment and discrimination.

Transsexual: Transsexual refers to a person who experiences a mismatch of the sex they were born as and the sex they identify as. A transsexual sometimes undergoes medical treatment to change his/her physical sex to match his/her sex identity. There are female-to-male (FTM) and male-to-female (MTF) transsexuals.

W

We're Here, We're Queer, Get Used To It!: Famous 1990s slogan of the once in-your-face queer liberation group, Queer Nation.

Y

Yestergay: A person who identified as gay in the past, but who no longer does so.

Z

Ze: Gender neutral pronoun that can be used instead of he/she.

Zir: Gender neutral pronoun that can be used instead of his/her

 

References:

Answers.com: (http://www.answers.com/main/reference.jsp)
Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary 25th ed. (1974). W.B. Saunders Publishing: Philadelphia.
Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley (www.gagv.org)
Gay Slang Dictionary: (http://www.hurricane.net/~wizard/19w.html)
Human Rights Campaign (www.hrc.org)
Queer Slang in the Gay 90's: (http://www.gaymart.com/6fun/slang.html)
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (2004) Houghton Mifflin Company.

Much of the information contained on this page has been collected from various sources on the web. If for any reason there are problems, email me and I will remove the information immediately.