LGBTQ terminology you should know

•LGBTQ is an umbrella term used to refer to the community as a whole

Piece by: Maureen Waruinge

•List of LGBTQ terms to use 

•Understand how to pronounce and use correctly

Gay map of the world
Image: Courtesy

LGBTQ is the acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer.

Sometimes, when the Q is seen at the end of LGBT, it can also mean questioning. LGBT and/or GLBT are also often used. The term "gay community" should be avoided, as it does not accurately reflect the diversity of the community. Rather, the LGBTQ community is preferred.

Here is a glossary of terms you need to know

Agender [ay-jen-der] | adjective (agender people) A word that can describe a person who does not identify as any gender. Agender is not synonymous with genderqueer, genderfluid, or nonbinary.

Ally [al-eye] | noun (allies) A straight and/or cisgender person who supports and advocates for LGBTQ people.

Androgyne [an-druh-jahyn] | noun (androgynes) A gender identity in which a person feels their gender is between male and female and feels both masculine and feminine simultaneously. An androgyne person may feel more masculine than feminine, more feminine than masculine, or an equal amount of both at any given time. Presenting androgynously is not a requirement for this gender identity.

Bicurious [bai-kyoo r-ee-uh s] | adjective (bicurious people) Similar to "questioning," bicurious people are exploring whether or not they’re attracted to people of the same gender as well as people of different genders.

Bigender [bai-jen-der] | adjective (bigender people) Someone who identifies with two distinct genders, such as man/woman or woman/androgyne. Bigender people don’t necessarily identify with each gender 50 per cent of the time, and unlike gender fluid people, they don’t exist on a spectrum, either.

Cisgender [sis-jen-der] / Cis | adjective (cisgender people (not cisgenders) A term used by some to describe people who are not transgender; also known as "cis" for short. "Cis-" is a Latin prefix meaning "on the same side as," and is, therefore, an antonym of "trans-." A more widely understood way to describe people who are not transgender is simply to say, non-transgender people.

Gender dysphoria [jen-der di-sfaw-ree-uh] | noun [adjective: gender dysphoric] Refers to psychological distress that can result from an incongruence between one's sex assigned at birth and one's gender identity. Not all transgender people experience dysphoria, and those who do may experience it at varying levels of intensity.

Gender dysphoria is a diagnosis listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Some argue the diagnosis inappropriately pathologizes gender incongruence, while others contend that a diagnosis makes it easier for transgender people to access necessary medical treatment.

Genderfluid [jen-der floo-id] | adjective (genderfluid people) One who identifies as genderfluid doesn’t have a fixed gender identity—meaning, they may identify as male, female, or nonbinary on a shifting basis. Gender-fluid people choose not to abide by the socially-enforced binaries of males or females.

Gender non-conforming [jen-der nohn-kuh n-fawrm-ing] | adjective (gender non-conforming people) A term used to describe some people whose gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculinity and femininity. Please note that not all gender non-conforming people identify as transgender, nor are all transgender people gender non-conforming. Many people have gender expressions that are not entirely conventional—that fact alone does not make them transgender. Many transgender men and women have gender expressions that are conventionally masculine or feminine. Simply being transgender does not make someone gender non-conforming. The term is not a synonym for transgender or tran**exual and should only be used if someone self-identifies as gender non-conforming.