The words and terms used within the LGBTQ+ society can seem daunting, but with a little bit of time they are easy to understand. We understand a lot of these terms may be new to you, and we have endeavoured to make them as simple as possible. If you need any further explanation on these terms, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quick tip: Definitions are changing all the time, and it’s difficult to get a definition 100% accurate. This is about how humans live and love so it’s complicated and there is a lot of grey area!
People who identify as cisgender (see cis below) and straight, and believe in social and legal equality for LGBTQ+ people.
This is an umbrella term used for individuals who do not experience, or experience a very low level of sexual attraction to others. Sometimes referred to as “Ace”, this identity can include those who are interested in having romantic relationships, and those who are not. Those who are interested in having romantic relationships may identify as homo-romantic, heteroromantic, bi-romantic, or pan-romantic.
Assigned at birth
Assigned at birth refers to the way in which your perceived sex is recorded on your birth certificate. When a baby is born, they are assigned a sex based on the physical appearance of their genitalia. Typically, babies are either assigned female at birth (AFAB), or assigned male at birth (AMAB).
Bisexual & Pansexual
Both of these terms refer to people who are attracted, sexually and/or romantically, to more than 1 gender. This might be new information to you if you had always thought there were only two genders. In fact, there are many genders! While the evolution of the terms Bi & Pan is still in flux, roughly speaking you can consider bisexual people to be attracted to 2 or more genders, and pan people to be attracted to people regardless of their gender. That does not mean pan people are attracted to everyone, just that the gender of the person they are attracted to isn't a factor. There is overlap between these two identities and some people may use both interchangeably. If this is confusing to you, don't worry! All you have to do is say "that's grand!" when someone tells you they are bi and pan, and be aware that these people may have partners of different genders. Recent studies have shown there are more bi and pan people than gay and lesbian combined.
Cisgender refers to people who are not trans; someone who had the correct gender assigned to them at birth. For example, if someone was assigned male at birth (AMAB) and they identify as a man, then they are a cisgender man, or cis man, also referred to as a “man”. If someone was assigned female at birth (AFAB) and they identify as a woman, then they are a cisgender woman, or a cis woman, also referred to as a “woman”.
Quick tip: These labels are not a judgement of a person’s value, they are just ways to describe people. Being cis is not bad, being trans is not bad, they are judgement free labels.
Cis & Straight
This the term we use to refer to people who are cisgender (see above) and heterosexual, i.e. not part of the LGBTQ+ community.
This is the process of revealing your sexual orientation and/or gender identity to individuals in your life; often incorrectly thought to be a one-time event, this is a lifelong and sometimes daily process.
Discrimination means making a distinction in favour of, or against, a person based on the group, class, or category to which a person belongs.
This term refers to someone who is attracted to people of the same gender. It is mainly used to describe men.
The external manifestation of a person’s gender identity. Gender can be expressed through mannerisms, grooming, physical characteristics, social interactions and speech patterns.
An individual’s internal self-perception of themselves as female, male, or non-binary, or as another gender.
Gender norms define what society considers male and female behavior, and it leads to the formation of gender roles, which are the roles males and females are often expected to take in society.
Refers to heterosexual identities being considered the norm, to the exclusion of any other sexual orientation or gender identity. One way that it is demonstrated is by the lack of representation of LGBTQ+ people and relationships in the media.
Someone who is attracted to people of the opposite gender.
Homophobia & Transphobia
Homophobia encompasses a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian or gay. Transphobia relates to prejudice directed specifically at those who don’t adhere to gender norms and people who are trans.
Intersex is term which represents a variety of different biological traits which are not typically male or female. These are normal variations; just like hair and eye colour vary in individuals so can genitalia and/or sex organs. The most thorough existing research finds intersex people to constitute an estimated 1.7% of the population, which makes being intersex about as common as having red hair.
A woman who is attracted to other women.
Non-binary refers to those who do not identify as either male or female. It comes under the trans umbrella, see trans below. People who are non-binary may use they/them pronouns e.g. “They are really nice, they live in Dublin, they are going to the shop. “
Monosexual refers to people who are only attracted to one gender. For example, a straight man is only attracted, to the most part, to women, or a gay man is only attracted, for the most part, to men. It is essentially to refer to people who are not bisexual or pansexual. Why is it useful? It's useful when talking about the specific prejudice faced by bi and pan people because they may face discrimination from straight people, but also from gay and lesbian people as well.
When someone reveals another person’s sexual orientation or gender identity to an individual or group, often without the person’s consent or approval.
Prejudice is defined as a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
Pride is an annual celebration of LGBTQ+ communities held around the world. In Ireland most of the large cities and towns have their own Pride Festival or else they have floats in the Dublin Pride Festival.
The rainbow has represented LGBTQ+ people since 1978. The colours reflect diversity within the LGBTQ+ community.
The attraction felt between people.
Quick tip: There are a lot of terms and definitions, and being a good ally is not about knowing all of these off by heart, it’s just about being open to learning and not making assumptions about people.
This term is used for people whose identity, expression, behaviour, or general sense of self does not conform to what is usually associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender is an internal sense of being male, female, or other. Trans people may, or may not, take medical steps to feel that their body is more aligned with their gender. Whether they do or not is none of anyone's business but their own. If this is still confusing to you, don't worry! All you have to do is call someone by the name they've told you is theirs, and call them "she" or "he" or "them" depending on what option they use. He, she and they are pronouns, so it's important to respect people's pronouns. If you are unsure what someone's pronouns are, don't worry! Use they and them until you find out.