So, I have a blog post coming up tomorrow that uses terms some of you might find confusing, so I decided to create this glossary of GLBTQAAI terms for your benefit. Honestly, I should have done this a long time ago. It is not nearly comprehensive; I’ll be going back to make updates.
GLBTQAAI – This is a lengthened, more inclusive term used to describe the LGBT community. You’ll also see GLBT, and the one I generally use is GLBTQ. G stands for “gay”, L stands for “lesbian”, B stands for “bisexual”, T stands for “transgender”, Q stands for “queer/genderqueer”, the first A stands for “androgynous”, the second A stands for “asexual”, and the I stands for “intersex”.
Gay – Either referencing the gay male community, or used in conjunction with the word “woman” – as in, “the gay [male] community” versus “a gay woman”.
Bear – A husky, hairy gay man.
Cub – A younger bear.
Otter – A thin, hairy gay man.
Twink – A thin, effeminate gay man.
Chub – A husky, effeminate gay man.
Lesbian – A gay woman.
Late-in-life-lesbian – A gay woman who came out later in life, either because she was closeted or because she was confused.
Gold Star Lesbian – A gay woman who has only had relationships with other women, and has never been with a man.
Dyke – A gay woman whose gender presentation is more on the masculine side, or a term that refers to lesbians in general. While “dyke” is a word that is frequently used in pride celebrations and marketing (Dykes In The City, or DITC, is a clothing brand aimed at lesbians), it can also be used as an epithet, so be careful with the context of this word and watch what communities you use it around.
Butch – A gay woman whose gender presentation is more on the masculine side.
Femme – A gay woman whose gender presentation is more on the feminine side.
Lipstick Lesbian – A gay woman whose gender presentation is more on the feminine side. This is a term generally reserved for women who appear to be stereo-typically straight.
Stone – A lesbian who likes to arouse her partner but prefers not to be aroused herself. A “top” or “pitcher”, if you will.
Pillow Queen – A lesbian who likes to be aroused by her partner but prefers not to arouse her partner. A “bottom” or “catcher”, if you will.
Bisexual – Someone who is attracted to both cisgender men and women.
Pansexual – Someone who is attracted to cisgender men and women, transgender men and women, and intersex, genderqueer, and androgynous persons. This word has been adapted, and be careful what circles you use it in, because some people will assume it also means an attraction to animals.
Omnisexual – Someone who is attracted to cisgender men and women, transgender men and women, and intersex, genderqueer, and androgynous persons. They focus on the romantic attraction moreso than the physical or sexual attraction. This term, to my knowledge, does not have any baggage attached to it; it was coined at a GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) conference that I attended, so I don’t know how popular it is.
Queer – Someone who is attracted to cisgender men and women, transgender men and women, and intersex, genderqueer, and androgynous persons. This word has developed its own culture in the younger GLBTQ community that I would need an entire blog post (possibly more) to explain. Be careful what circles/what context you use it in, because this word (originally meaning “strange”) used to be used as an epithet (still is, actually) and older members of the GLBTQ community will likely be offended by its use.
Gender Identity – A person’s view on their gender; this is always the correct gender (i.e., I am a man, I am a woman, I am genderqueer, I am intersex, I am androgynous). This generally is the determining factor in gender pronouns.
Sex – The physical characteristics of gender, including primary and secondary genitalia (i.e., penis, vulva, breasts)
Gender Presentation – An outsider’s view on their gender. Sometimes gender presentation matches one’s gender identity but not their sex, sometimes gender presentation matches one’s sex but not their gender identity, and sometimes it matches both. This is the second most important factor in determining gender pronouns – there are instances where a transwoman may need to present as a cisgender male for safety reasons, for example.
Transgender – A person who is born with their gender identity and sex out of alignment.
Cisgender – A person who is born with their gender identity and sex in conjunction with one another.
Genderqueer – A person whose gender identity is both male and female.
Androgynous – A person whose gender identity is neither male nor female. Sometimes refers to a person whose sex is neither male nor female.
Intersex – A person whose sex is both male and female.
Asexual – A person who does not feel sexual (sometimes even romantic) attraction toward other people.