Queer Lexicon 101

Not all my readers are queer. I get that. Not all my writing is queer (well, to be fair, it is) but it’s totally passing. And for the next month (year and, well, forever) more and more labels and acronyms are going to be cropping up. Especially as we celebrate pride every damn month around here and as we navigate being a same-sex couple raising a kid.

Here is a short 101 of the most common stuff  – including the really obvious stuff.

For the record: this information comes from all over the internet – I will link to it. It’s not a comprehensive list (yet) and as an afab non-binary/genderfluid bisexual there will be some topics I’m not an expert on.

Sexual Orientation

Gay – men who are attracted (sexually, romantically and/or emotionally) to men. Also, a generic term covering anything queer. Annoyingly.

Lesbian – women who are attracted (sexually, romantically and/or emotionally) to women.

Bisexual – The attraction to two or more genders. Or the same gender and another gender.

Asexual – Not experiencing any sexual attraction to any gender. (Often shortened to ace) It’s different for everyone but some asexual people will have an emotional and/or romantic attraction. Some will not.

Polysexual – Attraction to multiple genders (but not all genders)

Pansexual – Attraction regardless of gender.

Demisexual – A person who doesn’t experience attraction until a strong emotional connection has been formed with that person.

Aceflux –  someone whose experience of sexual attraction varies over time.

There is also homoromantic, biromantic, aromantic etc – describing the romantic attraction in particular. So someone can be homoromantic and bisexual for example.


Transgender – An umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. It covers some most of the genders below. You don’t need to have or even want to transition to be trans.

Intersex – “A term used to describe a person who may have the biological attributes of both sexes or whose biological attributes do not fit with societal assumptions about what constitutes male or female.” *Not all intersex people consider themselves as part of the LGBTQIA+ community but some do – hence it’s inclusion.

Agender – A person with no gender, or genderless. Or being gender neutral or lacking in a gender identity. Again, it’s different for everyone.

Bigender – A person who experiences two different genders (at the same time or at different times). These genders could be a combination of any gender, not just male and female.

Genderqueer – This is another umbrella term for those people who are non-binary, gender non-conforming or people who do not identify with any gender binary (i.e male or female).

Genderfluid – People whose gender varies from one to another, encompassing more than one gender or no gender. This doesn’t necessarily mean from one binary to another but also includes non-binary.

Non-Binary – Any gender that doesn’t fit the usual binary male or female gender. This again includes genderqueer, genderfluid etc or multiple gender identities.

Cisgender – A person whose biological sex at birth and gender are the same.

Aporagender – A gender separate from male, female, and anything in between while still having a very strong and specific gendered feeling.

AFAB – Assigned Female At Birth

AMAB – Assigned Male At Birth

Other Terms

Homophobia – prejudice, fears and negative attitudes against anyone who isn’t heterosexual, and often for anyone who is LGBTQIA+.

Transphobia – prejudice, fears and negative attitudes against transgender people in particular. Also includes any prejudice against people whose gender falls under the trans umbrella.

Biphobia – prejudice, fears and negative attitudes against bisexual people in particular.

Coming Out – The process of letting people know your gender and/or sexuality. This is often the term most commonly associated with the first time a person ever comes out, but often LGBTQ people come out many times over the course of their lives.

Queer – An umbrella term for anything LGBTQIA+ related. An old slur but it’s an awesome word and covers so much so we took it back.

Deadname – A person’s birth name after they’ve changed it. Deadnaming is the process of calling someone by their birth name after they’ve changed it or transitioned.

Passing – Looking or seeming cis or het.

Transition – The process of living as the gender a person is. This can be anything from starting hormone therapy to wearing clothes that match that person’s gender. Or even just changing their name and pronouns.

Outing – Outing is the process of letting people know someones LGBTQIA+ status without their permission. Not every Queer person is out to everyone they know or comfortable with strangers knowing if they are LGBTQIA+.

Heteronormative/Cisnormative – The assumption that everyone and everything is straight and cis.

Straightwashing – The process of making historically LGBTQIA+ characters in media straight or cis-gender.

TERF – Trans-exclusionary radical feminist. Women who don’t think transwomen are women and should be excluded from female-only spaces and services. Basically, TERF’s are transphobic and not fighting for true equality. Equality for some is not equality.

Cishet – Someone who is cisgender and heterosexual.

Corrections and Suggestions

If you disagree with any of my definitions let me know in the comments or via the contact form. Even as an LGBTQIA+ person I am still learning and gender-identity especially is always evolving. I am an inclusive person and blogger, if you are LGBTQIA+, whatever your sexuality, gender or identity, you are LGBTQIA+ enough. You are valid. That’s all that matters. Yes, there are hoops to jump through, but not here. I will always accept you.

Again, if I have missed anything (I know I’ve missed a lot actually), let me know what it is and any resources I can read would also be useful (but not necessary). You can comment on this post or send me an email via the contact form.

In time I’ll create a new resources page for LGBTQ support and information (it’s in the works) and revamp my mental health one. This will definitely get added to over time as people remind me of stuff and I learn new things (every day’s a school day).


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17 Replies to “Queer Lexicon 101

  1. Loved this! Feel like I’ve definitely learned a lot first thing in the morning! One of my best friends is awaiting gender reassignment surgery and it’s been a difficult transition for her family x

  2. This post is great and so necessary. There were even a few that I had heard but was not completely sure what they meant. Thank you!

  3. This is a really interesting and informative read. I’ve definitely learnt more now. There are some phrases here I had heard and wondered what they meant, but don’t like to ask in case I seem rude or ignorant.

  4. This is a very helpful guide as I’ve only recently heard of pansexuality as didn’t understand what it was at first.

  5. I consider myself a very liberal person and I thought I had quite a bit of an understanding about these definitions – but reading this, I haven’t. Tanks for sharing, fantastic read.

  6. I kind of thought Pansexual was attracted to a person regardless of gender rather than the definition above – ie it’s the person over the gender, the gender could be either but it’s irrelevant. That said, I don’t really know why I thought this and actually have no idea…(I’m CISgender hetronormative…to make me sound fancy…;)

  7. Wow, that’s a lot of definitions that I never knew existed! Well done for putting it out there. #kcacols

  8. Really interesting post, Bread! I really didn’t know about a few of the words you have listed here. I knew the common ones so it has been a good way for me to learn more definitions. Thank you for sharing this with us! 🙂 #kcacols

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