This page is dedicated to providing you with essential vocabulary related to the LGBTQIA+ communities. Whether you are familiar or not with these terms, we hope that these definitions help everyone be able to thoughtfully and respectfully talk about these communities. We frequently use many of these terms on this website with these definitions in mind. We at Rainbow Stacks have compiled these definitions from outside research along with adding our own knowledge from LGBTQ+ studies courses. Many definitions were also built from information provided by The Trevor Project.
Many definitions are being added or altered every day to the LGBTQIA+ community terminology. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but instead breaks down basic terms that are frequently used on this website.
Navigating your own personal sexual orientation or gender identity journey can be terrifying and confusing for many, especially for young people. It is important to remember that not everyone needs a label and that many times labels can shift and evolve over time. Whether or not you chose to identify with an identity word on this list is completely up to you. This is simply an educational tool for anyone who has questions about what a word means, whether if it is used on this website or just a word you hear out in the world. This list will continue to be updated as needed and in no way covers every single identity. For more information, please head on over to The Trevor Project, which provided excellent information on these topics.
GAY: A broad sexual orientation that refers to someone who is sexually attracted to the same gender as themselves. This can either refer to those who identify as men who are sexually attracted to men or women who are sexually attracted to other women (also known as LESBIAN). It can also be used for non-binary individuals.
HOMOPHOBIA: Hatred or prejudice towards those who identify as LGBTQIA+. Can range from outright intolerance to snide comments about someone’s sexual orientation. This can take the form of hateful actions, words, speeches, or feelings.
LESBIAN: A sexual orientation that refers to those who identify as women who are sexually attracted to other women.
LESBOPHOBIA: Hatred or prejudice towards those who identify as lesbians. Can range from outright intolerance to snide comments about someone being a lesbian. This can take the form of hateful actions, words, speeches, or feelings.
BISEXUAL: A sexual orientation that refers to someone who is sexually attracted to more than one gender. This does not mean the attraction to multiple genders occurs at the same time, in the same way, or to the same degree. Visit our Biseuxality Explained page for more information!
- PANSEXUAL: A sexual orientation that refers to someone who is attracted to any gender, or refers to attraction that happens regardless of the sexual or gender identity of their prospective partner. This term is often compared to bisexuality, although pansexuality is typically thought of to be broader. However, some people use the terms interchangeably.
- SKOLIOSEXUAL: Attraction to transgender and non-binary people.
- OMNISEXUAL: Attraction to all genders where gender is an important part of the attraction. This is where is differs from Pansexuality, which is attraction regardless of gender.
- ABROSEXUAL: Sexual attraction is fluid.
- POLYSEXUAL: Attraction towards multiple but not ALL genders. For example, someone who identifies as a woman can be sexually attracted to other women and non-binary individuals, but not attracted to cis-gender men.
BIPHOBIA: Hatred or prejudice towards those who identify as bisexual. Can range from outright intolerance to snide comments about someone’s bisexuality. This can take the form of hateful actions, words, speeches, or feelings.
QUEER: Refers to any sexual identity that is outside of heterosexual norms. Although historically used as a slur, the Queer Community have changed the term into one of power and political significance. Some individuals still do not feel comfortable using the word to describe themselves, while other embrace it.
ASEXUAL: Asexual describes someone who has no, little, or conditional sexual attraction. Visit our Asexuality Explained page for more information!
- AROMANTIC: Someone who has no, little, or conditional desire for a romantic relationship.
- DEMISEXUAL: Someone who wants to experience a sexual relationship only once they get to know the person.
- GREY A: Someone who may experience some sexual attraction, but who lies in between asexual and sexual.
- QUEERPLATONIC: A relationship void of the romantic component but transcends a typical friendship.
- BI/PAN/GAY/ETC – ROMANTIC: asexuals sometimes have preferences for the genders they wish to be romantically involved with. For example, an Ace person may say they identify as an asexual panromantic in order to emphasize their romantic attraction to any gender regardless of the gender.
- APHOBIA: Hatred or prejudice towards those who identify as asexual. Can range from outright intolerance to snide comments about someone’s asexuality. This can take the form of hateful actions, words, speeches, or feelings.
QUESTIONING: Questioning is an identity typically assigned to someone who is still unsure of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Many LGBTQIA+ individuals go through questioning phases of various lengths before discovering their identity. Other LGBTQIA+ individuals are in the questioning phase for all their life.
TRANSGENDER: Someone who does not align with the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender is a complex idea that varies widely depending on the context. Visit our Gender Identity Explained for more information about both transgender and non-binary identities.
TRANSGENDER WOMAN: Someone who was assigned the sex MALE at birth who now identifies as a woman would be referred to as a
TRANSGENDER MAN: Someone who was assigned the sex FEMALE at birth, who now identifies as a man.
TRANSPHOBIA: Hatred or prejudice towards those who identify as transgender. Can range from outright intolerance to snide comments about someone’s transition, including anything from using someones dead name to misgendering. This can take the form of hateful actions, words, speeches, or feelings.
DEAD NAME: The name typically assigned to a transgender or non-binary person at birth that they feel does not currently represent their identity. For trans and non-binary folks, using their dead name can be incredibly triggering.
NON-BINARY: Refers to people who do not identify within the strict male/female gender binary. Typically have they/them pronouns, but make sure to ask what someone’s pronouns are, even if they have expressed that they identify as non-binary.
GENDERQUEER: An umbrella term that is similar to non-binary. Can refer to either transgender individuals or someone who identifies outside of the strict male/female binary.
BIGENDER: Someone who identifies as two genders.
DEMIGENDER: Someone who identifies partially to one or more genders. May not feel a strong connection to any gender or gender at all.
AGENDER: Someone who experiences no genders. In other words, they are gender neutral.
POLYGENDER: Someone who experiences multiple genders.
TWO-SPIRIT: A term unique to First Nations/indigenous individuals which challenges the colonial idea of the gender binary. Refers to a First Nations individual whose sexual orientation/gender identity is outside of the colonial construction of the gender binary.
INTERSEX: Refers to someone who was born somewhere in between the typical binary ideas surrounding male and female. Sometimes this means this person may present on the outside as one gender but may have internal anatomy that corresponds to a different gender or even multiple genders.