Terminology

Below is a list of common terminology used in the queer community and the generally accepted definitions or explanations.  While it would be impossible to list every term, and there are always new or personal ways to use language, this is a good starting point for understanding a wide range of terms used in queer communities.

Asexual- A person who does not experience sexual attraction.  This is not the same as celibacy.

Bisexual- A person who is sexually or emotionally attracted to people of more than one sex or gender, though not necessarily in the same way, to the same degree, or at the same time.

Cisgender- A person whose gender identity and assigned sex at birth correspond.

Cissexism- The belief that cisgender individuals are superior to transgender and nonbinary individuals. It is used to justify the fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of people who have or are perceived to have a trans or other nonbinary gender identity.

Gay- A person who is primarily sexually or emotionally attracted to people of the same sex or gender.  Most often used to describe men, but can be used with any gender.  Also, gay is often used as a catch-all term for all gender or sexual minority identities, similarly to queer.

Genderqueer (Nonbinary)- A catch-all term for people whose gender identity is not exclusively man or woman.  A genderqueer person might identify their gender as a blend of man and woman or as a gender that is different than either man or woman.  Some genderqueer people do not identify with any gender at all.

Gender Fluid- A person who does not identify with a single, fixed gender identity.

Heterosexism- The false belief that heterosexuality is the only correct sexuality and is superior to homosexuality. It is used to justify the fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of people who have or are perceived to have a same-sex sexuality or relationship.

Heterosexual (Straight)- A person who is sexually or romantically attracted to people of a sex or gender other than their own.

Homophobia- A popular term to talk about the fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of people who identify as or are perceived as LGBTQ+. A more accurate term would be Heterosexism.

Homosexual- A person who is sexually or emotionally attracted to people of the same sex or gender.  Often viewed as an overly clinical term because of the history between same-sex attraction and psychology of homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Lesbian- A woman who is primarily sexually or emotionally attracted to other women.  Some lesbians may identify as gay as well.

Monosexism- The belief that single-sex attraction is superior to bisexuality. It is used to justify the fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of people who are or perceived to be bisexual.

Nonbinary- See genderqueer.

Pansexual- A person who is sexually or emotionally attracted to people of any sex or gender, though not necessarily in the same way, to the same degree, or at the same time.

Queer- A catch-all term for people of gender or sexual minority identities.

Straight- See heterosexual.

Transgender- A person whose gender identity and assigned sex at birth do not correspond.  Transgender is often abbreviated to trans.

Resources:

National LGBT Health Education Center

Human Rights Campaign

University of California San Francisco, LGBT Resource Center