Basic definitions relating to sexualities and genders
There are a lot of acronyms and terms relating to sexuality and gender which can be very confusing. If you search LGBT terminology online you can come across lists with so many new words it can feel overwhelming.
We have listed some of the most commonly used terms below. If you’d like to explore this further, we have included links at the end of this guide to more detailed information.
This refers to who you find attractive. On the Genderbread person it is represented by the ‘heart’.
Lesbian: a female who finds females attractive.
Gay: a male who finds males attractive (but just to confuse matters, it is sometimes used instead of the term lesbian and can describe a gay woman).
Bisexual: a person who finds both males and females attractive. This does not mean that they date two people at the same time, but simply that they may date either a man or a woman, as they find both attractive.
Straight: a person who finds the opposite sex attractive. E.g. a female who likes males and vice versa.
Our biological sex refers to our reproductive organs, hormones and chromosomes. Gender identity is how we think in our heads about ourselves.
*Cis Male: a person whose gender identity (male) matches the assumptions made about them at birth (male)
*Cis Female: a person whose gender identity (female) matches the assumptions made about them at birth (female)
Trans Male: a person whose gender identity (male) does not match the assumptions made about them at birth (female)
Trans Female: a person whose gender identity (female) does not match the assumptions made about them at birth (male)
Intersex: a person who is born with a combination of both male & female biological sex organs / chromosomes. Between 1.7% and 4% of the population are intersex.
Non-binary: a person who does not identify as either a man or a woman – sometimes the term gender neutral is used. Instead of using terms like she/her or he/him (pronouns) a non-binary person might prefer neutral terms such as they/them.
*Often people ask “why not just say male and female? Why do we need to add the term cis?” The reason it is being more commonly used, is to differentiate and therefore show respect for the other gender identities. Whilst cis men and women are statistically the majority of the population, it doesn’t mean other gender identities have any less value.
Please be assured, whatever you are feeling right now is ok and there is plenty of support available to help you through this journey.
Please do get in touch if you’d like to speak to our qualified parent worker for information, advice and guidance: Nicki Ryan 07884 425408 | Nicki@free2b-alliance.org.uk
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