Is the ever-expanding LGBTQIA+ community a little hard to keep up with? We know it can get confusing sometimes, so we created a glossary to spell everything out for you! Keep your language inclusive, and up-to-date with this reference point.
Your assigned sex determines biology at birth based on genitalia and chromosomes. Biology is not the same as gender identity and does not determine how one should identify themselves.
Cisgender, typically shortened to cis, refers to a person who is content with their assigned gender at birth and identifies as such.
How someone presents themselves to support how they would like to be perceived. Gender expression does not always align with a person’s gender identity; therefore, it is always important not to be assumptive.
This is how someone perceives their gender on a spectrum. This may or may not align with their biological identity.
Orientation is how someone feels attracted to others; sexual and romantic feelings are included in this.
Sexualities and Gender Identities
A person whose sexual orientation is subject to regular, and rapid change. This sexuality is a prime example of why sexuality is fluid.
Men, male-leaning, or masculine-aligned people attracted to other men, male-leaning or masculine-aligned people of all genders.
People who identify as Allosexual experience sexual attraction to others. This term is used to serve as a distinct difference between the “normal” attraction experience and the Asexual one.
A common term for men who experience sexual and romantic attraction to other men. In recent years it has also become an umbrella term to refer to the LGBTQIA+ community as a whole.
An umbrella term that encapsulates a wide range of natural variations of reproductive or sexual anatomy. A person born with these variations does not meet the traditional definition of female or male.
A woman or female-leaning non-binary person who is attracted to only women and female-leaning non-binary people.
An umbrella term used to describe a person whose gender identity and gender expression do not conform to their assigned sex at birth.
Queer is a general umbrella term in the LGBTQIA+ community. Sexuality and gender identity are fluid and can change at any time, which is what the word is used to express. Sometimes queer is the preferred identity for someone who does not feel as though they fit the bill of one overarching label.
Those in the process of discovering and exploring their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or other aspects of personal identity!
The Asexual Umbrella (A-Spec)
Asexuality is a sexual orientation where a person experiences little to no sexual attraction. Asexuality is not a choice, and while those following celibacy and abstinence choose to avoid sex, asexuality can sometimes mean the person does not seek or desire sexual contact.
Aegosexual falls under the asexual umbrella. People who identify as aegosexual lack the desire to be involved in sexual activity with another person but are often aroused by sexual content and pornography. They may enjoy masturbation but only by themselves.
A person on the asexual spectrum who is completely repulsed by sex. While they do not want to partake in sexual activities, typically they have no issue with others engaging in sex.
Autosexuality is an identity where a person is most attracted to themselves sexually and would prefer self-stimulating activities.
A cupiosexual is someone who does not feel or experience sexual attraction but still would like to engage in sexual activities and desires a sexual relationship.
A person who is demisexual does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a close emotional connection with a potential partner.
Fraysexual describes people who more easily feel sexual attraction to those they have just met or do not have a formed relationship with; are the opposite of Demisexual.
Experiencing sexual attraction to another person but feeling no need or want to act on the feelings.
A person who identifies as greysexual experiences limited sexual attraction and will often have this attraction infrequently with low intensity.
The Bisexual+ Umbrella (Bi+)
Bisexual refers to people who experience attraction to members of more than one sex; there may or may not be a preference toward one gender over the other. An older term for bisexual is ambisexual, which may appear online.
This term refers to someone who typically identifies as straight but sometimes diverts and has a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex. This term can be controversial because it is alleged to contribute to bi-erasure, yet others include them.
This term refers to someone who typically identifies as homosexual but will sometimes divert and have or desire to have a sexual relationship with someone of the opposite sex. This term can be controversial because it is alleged to contribute to bi-erasure, yet others include them.
People who identify as omnisexual experience attraction to those of all gender identities and sexual orientations.
A person who may be attracted to any person regardless of their gender identity and sex. This falls under the bisexual+ umbrella.
A polysexual is a person who is sexually and romantically attracted to multiple genders with no limitation on the gender spectrum. This differs from pansexual and bisexual.
The Non-Binary Umbrella
Agender refers to a person who doesn’t identify with any particular gender. This can emphasize being genderless, lacking gender, or having a null gender; this person’s gender is undefinable.
People who identify as gender fluid (gender-fluid) may experience different genders and gender identities and express their gender in more than one way over time. These changes can be as frequent or infrequent as the person feels fit. They can be dramatic or subtle and can be entirely situational.
An umbrella term encompassing a combination of genders. Genderqueer folx may also identify as transgender and/or non-binary.
A non-binary person does not identify as exclusively a man or a woman. Someone who is non-binary might feel like a mix of genders or like they do not align with any gender at all.
This term can be used to describe anyone who expresses their gender differently than the sex they were assigned at birth and pushes the notion of the traditional gender binary.
Two-Spirit individuals identify as having both a masculine and feminine spirit. This often describes the sexual orientation, gender identity, and spiritual identity.
Do you have more questions about sexuality and gender identity? These resources can help you find out more information.
Are You Questioning Your Sexuality?
A Compiled List of LGBTQIA+ Affirming Therapists
Understanding Gender Identities
What to Do If You’re Questioning Your Sexuality
Words Matter: A Guide to Talking About the Trans People in Your Life
Want to share your experience, or let us know if we missed something? Feel free to email us at Spencersblog@spencergifts.com