A Glossary of Identity and Gender Terms


identity and gender glossary

Sometimes confused by the plethora of identity and gender expressions used these days? The rainbow communities are a glorious and diverse coalition of genders and sexualities. We’ve compiled this glossary of identity and gender terms to help out.

As some humans become more open-minded to the diversity of human experience, minorities feel better able to talk about their sexuality or identity. They find terms to describe or define themselves.

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Sometimes that offends people who instinctively find anything outside their personal experience illegitimate. However, humans are a funny animal – all the same, but all remarkably different.

While we may look the same and even talk the same, and inhabit the same planet, we are all individuals with our own personal needs and desires.

Androgyny

Neither specifically feminine nor masculinean ambiguous combination of the characteristics of both.

Androsexual

Primarily sexually or emotionally attracted to masculinity.

Aromantic

Little or no romantic attraction to others.

Asexual

Little or no sexual attraction to others.

Bicurious (also Questioning)

Curious about sexual experience with people of more than one gender.

Bisexual

Sexually attracted to both men and women. 

Cisgender

A person whose sex assigned at birth and gender identity corresponds in an expected manner. Often abbreviated to cis as in cis male or cis female.

Cisnormativity

An assumption that everyone is cisgender which frequently leads to misgendering and offensive behaviour, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.

Cross-dresser

Someone who wears clothes commonly associated with another gender. While some cross-dressers wear those clothes because of a sexual fetish, others do so for purposes of comfort or self-expression.

Dead Name

The birth name of a (usually transgender) person who since changed it. Because the person’s identity no longer matches the name, it is offensive to use it.

Demiromantic

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Little or no capacity to experience a romantic attraction without a strong sexual connection.

Demisexual

Little or no capacity to experience any sexual attraction without a strong romantic connection.

Drag King; Drag Queen

Generally, a person who performs as a member of the opposite sex for an audience. However, in an exception to the rule, bio or faux queens are women who take on the OTT style typical of male drag queens.

Enby

An alternative term for non-binary used instead of boy or girl.

Erasure

Ignoring or concealing a gender or sexuality. Previously mainly attributed to the heterosexual community omitting LGBTIQ people from the cultural narrative, it now also describes ignoring or sidelining particular members of the LGBTIQ communities.

Feminine-presenting; Masculine-presenting

Someone who expresses gender according to either the feminine or masculine visual cues of their culture.

Fluid

An identity that may change over time.

Gender binary

The idea that there are only two genders – male and female and thus, every person is one of the two, either a man or woman.

Gender expression

The external manifestation of gender, through clothing, grooming, demeanour, social behaviour, and other factors.

Gender fluid

A dynamic mix of boy and girl.

Genderf*ck

The conscious effort to subvert traditional notions of gender identity and gender roles, generally by way of sending mixed messages in clothing and presentational choices.

Gender identity

Internal perception of an individual’s gender, and how they label themselves.

Gender non-conforming

Non-traditional gender presentation

Gender normative

Gender presentation aligns with society’s expectations.

Genderqueer

Does not identify with the binary of man/woman, but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.

Gender variant

Does not conform to gender-based expectations of society.

Gynesexual

Primarily sexually or emotionally attracted to femininity.

Heteroflexible

Primarily heterosexual but engages in same-sex sexual activity in certain circumstances. While bisexuals tend to somewhat equally favour different genders, heteroflexibles are ‘mostly straight’.

Heteronormativity

An assumption that everyone is heterosexual, despite thousands of years of evidence to the contrary.

Heterosexism

An assumption that heterosexuality is ‘normal’ and thus superior.

Homoflexible

Primarily homosexual but engages in opposite-sex sexual activity in certain circumstances.

Incel

Involuntary celibate: (usually) young men who define themselves by their inability to attract sexual or romantic partners. Although most incels are heterosexual, recently some homosexuals also identify by the term.

Intersex

Natural biological variations of chromosomes, gonads, hormones, internal sex organs, and genitals that differ from the two expected patterns of male or female. While some intersex people continue through life as the sex assigned at birth, others may choose to identify differently.

Mx

Honorific for someone who does not identify as male or female, used instead of Mr, Mrs, Ms or Miss.

Pansexual

Experiences sexual and/or romantic attraction for members of all gender identities.

Phobia

Irrational fear or aversion. Thus a person with an irrational fear of transgendered people, for example, is transphobic.

Polyamory

Orientation toward ethical, honest, and consensual non-monogamous relationships. Sometimes described as the “desire for intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved.”

Privilege

Social advantage because of social characteristics.

Pronoun

Words used to refer to gender in conversation. Traditional English pronouns generally focus on binary definitions of ‘he’ and ‘she’. However, some people prefer gender non-distinct pronouns based on ‘they’. Other gender non-specific pronouns include ze and hir.

Queer

Umbrella term for individuals who don’t identify as straight and/or cisgender. Because the word originated as a slur, some members of the rainbow communities continue to despise the word. However, others embrace the reclamation of the word by the very people once vilified with it. While some feel stong antagonism toward the word, other LGBTIQ people primarily identify as queer.

QPOC / QTPOC

Acronyms for ‘queer people of colour’ and ‘queer and/or trans people of colour’.

Sapiosexual

Attracted to people for their intelligence, rather than gender identity or biological sex.

Skoliosexual

Sexually or emotionally attracted to genderqueer, transgender or non-binary people.

Transgender

Someone who has transitioned or is transitioning from living as one gender to another.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.