LGBTQ orientation glossary
- 1 Basic orientations
- 2 Terms relating to discrimination
- 2.1 Asexual exclusion
- 2.2 Biphobia
- 2.3 Bisexual erasure
- 2.4 Compulsory sexuality
- 2.5 Gay bashing
- 2.6 Gay and trans panic defense
- 2.7 Heteronormativity
- 2.8 Heterosexism
- 2.9 Heterosexual privilege
- 2.10 Homonormativity
- 2.11 Homophobia
- 2.12 Lesbophobia
- 2.13 Monosexism
- 2.14 Outing
- 2.15 Straightsplaining
- 2.16 Straightwashing
- 3 Emerging or neologistic orientation identities
- 4 LGBT slang and colloquialisms
- 5 Slurs and outdated concepts
- 6 Other relevant concepts
- 6.1 Camp
- 6.2 Closeted
- 6.3 Coming out
- 6.4 Gay-friendly; LGBT-friendly
- 6.5 Kinsey scale
- 6.6 Lesbian feminism
- 6.7 Mixed-orientation marriage
- 6.8 Multi-attraction spectrum
- 6.9 Pinkwashing
- 6.10 Polyamorous
- 6.11 Queerbaiting
- 6.12 Romantic orientation
- 6.13 Same-sex marriage
- 6.14 Sexual fluidity
- 6.15 Straight-acting
- 6.16 Straight ally
- 6.17 Transgender
- 7 See also
- 8 References
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Terms for anyone who is attracted exclusively to men. This term encompasses straight women, gay men, viramoric nonbinary people etc. Coined in order to express sexual orientation in a manner that does not reference one's own gender. (Ancient Greek: ándras=man; philía=love)
Not sexually attracted to anyone. Includes a spectrum that contains degrees of romantic attraction and sexual attraction (such as being sexually attracted only in a romantic relationship).
A term used by African Americans to describe individuals who are attracted to those of the same gender. Coined by Cleo Manago for African-American use, as an alternative to traditional LGBT labels.
An umbrella term for women who are attracted to women (exclusively or otherwise). This term encompasses lesbians as well as bisexual and pansexual women etc. A synonym for WLW. Named for the Ancient Greek poet Sappho.
Terms relating to discrimination
An ideology within a small subset of the LGBT community & allies that seeks to (you guessed it,) exclude asexual people from queer spaces. It can be as civil as labelling them as "straight allies" or uncivil by accusing them of being incels, MGTOWers or invaders at best.
Discrimination against and aversion to bisexual people.
The marginalization of bisexual people either by passive exclusion from popular culture and media or by actively denying the reality of bisexuality.
The idea that people in relationships must engage in sexual activity with each other.
Attacks or abuse directed at someone who is, or is perceived to be, LGBT.
Gay and trans panic defense
A legal defense whereby a victim's LGBT status can be used to justify violence against them, usually with the claim that they made romantic or sexual advances on the defendant.
The unearned benefits enjoyed by heterosexual people and not by LGBTQ people in society, solely on the basis of their sexual orientation.
The assumption that heteronormative ideals and structures should be emulated within LGBT culture and same-sex relationships. Related to respectability politics. Contrary to what one would first expect, this term is not the opposite of heteronormativity.
Aversion to and discrimination against lesbians.
Institutionalized bias in favour of monosexuality, involving the assumption that everyone is or should be either exclusively straight or exclusively gay, to the exclusion of those who are attracted to more than one gender (bisexuals, pansexuals etc.) Related to biphobia.
The act of disclosing another person's LGBT identity to others against their will or without permission. This is invariably a very harmful thing to do (unless of course one is outing oneself).
The act by a heterosexual person of explaining LGBTQ issues to an LGBTQ individual in a condescending manner that assumes superior knowledge.
Emerging or neologistic orientation identities
Generally monosexual, but curious about or open to experimenting sexually with people of a gender to which one is not primarily attracted. In practice, this word is generally used as a synonym for heteroflexible.
A broad umbrella term for any relationship, attraction, or orientation that cannot be labelled as gay or straight due to involving at least one nonbinary person (or nonbinary people in general). (Ancient Greek and Latin: dís=two; amor=love)
LGBT slang and colloquialisms
A generally large, hairy and masculine gay man. This term is used both as a personal identity and as the basis for bear subculture.
An opposite-sex partner maintained by a homosexual person in order to give the impression of being heterosexual; generally a woman who is with a gay man.
A (generally playful) derogatory term for a heterosexual person.
An individual of any sexual identity who has a masculine personality or expression (antonym of femme). Has sometimes been used as a derogatory term for lesbians, but has also been reclaimed as an identity.
Friend of Dorothy
Either a gay man or, more broadly, any LGBTQ person. Originates from either Dorothy Parker or the character Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Hilariously the use of this term led to the US Naval Investigative Service conducting a search for a mysterious Dorothy, believing her to be the leader of a large group of homosexuals in the military.
The capacity to intuit whether or not other people are gay.
Lesbian until graduation
Also known as LUG for short; a woman who experiments with same-sex encounters in college.
Playing for the other team / playing for both teams
Homosexual / bisexual, respectively.
A (usually feminine and flamboyant) gay man. This term was a slur in the 1970s but has been largely reclaimed. 'Closet queen' is still a slur because of the closet part.
A transgender lesbian.
A generally slim, hairless and young gay guy in his teens or early 20s.
Slurs and outdated concepts
A partially-reclaimed slur for a (usually masculine-presenting) lesbian. Is sometimes used as a self-identifier, but should generally only be used by those within the lesbian community.
Fag hag / fag stag
A (partially reclaimed) slur for a woman / straight man, respectively, who associates or socializes primarily with gay men.
A (partially reclaimed) slur referring to a gay man.
An archaic term for homosexual, used in the 1950s and earlier.
A marriage between a man and a woman, one or both of whom are homosexual, in order to preserve a heteronormative public image. The term dates from the early-20th century, long before same-sex marriage was legalized.
A term referring to male attraction to adolescent boys, or the bygone institutions that supported this, in cultures such as that of Ancient Greece.
An term used by 19th and early-20th century sexologists, based on the idea that same-sex attraction represented an inversion of normative gender roles.
A law that ostensibly criminalized certain types of sex act, but in practice, has historically been used to target homosexuals and not heterosexuals.
A slur denoting a gay man with feminine interests and behaviour.
Other relevant concepts
An aesthetic or style that is theatrical and flamboyant, and does not take itself seriously. Has historically been associated with gay culture.
Not open about one's sexual orientation or gender identity.
Welcoming, accomodating and supportive to LGBT people and their orientations and relationships.
A scale developed in the 1940s to rate a person's sexual orientation, which could range from 0 (completely heterosexual) to 6 (completely homosexual), with an additional value of X (asexual). Created by Alfred Kinsey, an American biologist, professor and sexologist from the first half of the 20th century.
A marriage between two people who are of different sexual orientations.
The act of exploiting LGBTQ issues to improve one's public image, often as a way to increase financial success (e.g., via advertising) or to draw attention away from one's other discriminatory or unsavoury stances or behaviour. A neologism based on the term "whitewashing".
Loving, or being in a relationship with, more than one person simultaneously; the term can also describe such a relationship. Opposed to the terms monoamorous (being in love with only one person) and nonamorous (not being in love with anybody).
The act, by producers of fictional media and entertainment, of hinting at LGBTQ representation but without explicitly enacting it.
A romantic counterpart to sexual orientation, denoting the demographic to which one is romantically attracted; generally mentioned when this differs from the demographic to which one is sexually attracted (e.g. for asexuals). Romantic orientations may be indicated by replacing "-sexual" with "-romantic" in sexual orientation labels, to create words such as heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic and aromantic.
Marriage between two people of the same sex. Not necessarily a "gay marriage", as it does not require that both parties are strictly homosexual.
Not displaying any of the mannerisms or behaviour that are stereotypically associated with one's LGBT identity.
A heterosexual person who works to support LGBT causes.
An umbrella term for anyone who identifies as a gender other than the one assigned at birth.
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- The Gay/Trans Panic Defense: What It is, and How to End It. American Bar Association, March 31, 2020.
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- Halperin, David M. How to be gay, 2012, p. 441.
- Osenlund, R. Kurt. When well-meaning sentiments are actually straightsplaining in disguise. Out.com, September 12, 2014.
- Smith, Lydia. What is straightwashing? When Hollywood erases gay characters from films. PinkNews, April 20, 2018.
- Allosexual. LGBTA Wiki.
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- Transbian. Gender Wiki.
- Eribon, Didier. Insult and the Making of the Gay Self, p. 357.
- Askew, Emily and O. Wesley Allen. Beyond Heterosexism in the Pulpit.
- See the Wikipedia article on Dykes on Bikes.
- fag. Lexico Dictionaries.
- faggot. Lexico Dictionaries.
- Crimmins, Cathy. How the Homosexuals Saved Civilization: The Time and Heroic Story of How Gay Men Shaped the Modern World.
- Slide, Anthony. Gay's the Word: Being a Brief History of the Secret Language of Homosexuality,
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- Hate Group: 'Homosexual Activists' Try To 'Confuse Children' To 'Build Their Numbers'. Think Progress, July 9, 2012.
- Whisnant, Clayton. Male Homosexuality in West Germany - Between Persecution and Freedom, 1945-69.Palgrave Macmillan.
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- Oxford English Dictionary, "pederasty".
- Ellis, Havelock. Studies in the Psychology of Sex Volume II: Sexual Inversion, 3rd ed. Project Gutenberg, 1927.