How Do You Identify?

Ally
Typically any non-LGBT person who supports and stands up for the rights of LGBT people; though LGBT people can be allies too, such as a lesbian who is an ally to a transgender person. These people are willing to confront heterosexism, homophobia, transphobia and lesphobia and believe that these are social justice issues.

Androgynous
A person who may appear as and exhibit traits traditionally associated as both male and female, or as neither male nor female, or as in between male and female.

Asexual
A sexual orientation where a person does not experience sexual attraction or desire to partner for the purposes of sexual stimulation; 2) a spectrum of sexual orientations where a person may be disinclined towards sexual behaviour or sexual partnering. 

Biological Sex
Is defined by primary and secondary sex characteristics identified at birth. ‘Sex’ refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women.

Bisexual
A bisexual is defined as a person who is attracted to and/or has sex with both men and women and who identifies with this as a cultural identity. 

Cisgender/Cismen/Ciswomen
People whose gender identity matches their sex at birth. This has a more positive connotation than ‘normal’ or ‘non-transgender’.

Discrimination
Prejudice and power. It occurs when members of a more powerful social group behave unjustly or cruelly to members of a less powerful social group. Discrimination can take many forms, including both individual acts of hatred or injustice and institutional denials of privileges normally accorded to other groups. Ongoing discrimination creates a climate of oppression for the affected group.

Gay
The term ‘gay’ can refer to same-sex sexual attraction, same-sex sexual behaviour, and same-sex cultural identity. 

Gender
Refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. To put it in another way – male and female are sex categories, while masculine and feminine are gender categories.

Gender and Sex
The term ‘sex’ refers to biologically determined differences, whereas ‘gender’ refers to differences in social roles and relations. Gender roles are learned through socialization and vary widely within and between cultures. Gender roles are also affected by age, class, race, ethnicity, and religion, as well as by geographical, economic, and political environments. 

Gender Diversity
The range of different gender expressions that spans across the historically imposed male-female binary. Referring to “gender diversity” is generally preferred to “gender variance” as “variance” implies an investment in a norm from which some individuals deviate, thereby reinforcing a pathologising treatment of differences among individuals.

Gender Expression
Is how you demonstrate your gender (based on traditional gender roles) through the ways you act, dress, behave and interact.

Gender Non-Conforming
Behaviour or gender expression by an individual which does not match masculine or feminine gender norms.

Hate Crime
Any incident, which may or may not constitute a criminal offence, perceived as being motivated by prejudice and hate. The perpetrators seek to demean and dehumanise their victims, whom they consider different from themselves based on their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, health status, nationality, social origin, religious convictions, culture, language or other characteristic.

Hegemony
An ideology which dominates in a society and exerts power over rival ideologies. Central to the notion of hegemony is that it dominates in taken-for-granted ways (institutionalised ways), where the dominant ideology elicits the support of the oppressed by seeming legitimate and accepted. In this manner the power relations stipulated by the hegemonic ideology are regarded as normal, inevitable and beneficial to everyone.

Heteronormativity
Related to “heterosexism”, it refers to the privileged position associated with heterosexuality based on the normative assumptions that there are only two genders, that gender always reflects the person’s biological sex as assigned at birth, and that only sexual attraction between these opposite genders is considered “normal” and “natural”. The influence of heteronormativity extends beyond sexuality to also determine what is regarded as viable or socially valued masculine and feminine identities, i.e. it serves to regulate not only sexuality but also gender roles/identity.

Heterosexism
A system of beliefs that privileges heterosexuality and discriminates against other sexual orientations. It assumes that heterosexuality is the only normal and natural option for human relationships and posits that all other sexual relationships are either subordinate to or perversions of heterosexual relationships. In everyday life, this manifests as the assumption that everyone is heterosexual until proven otherwise.

Heterosexual/heterosexuality
The term ‘heterosexual’ is used to refer to people who have sex with and/or are attracted to people of the opposite sex. (UNAIDS, 2011) 

Homosexual/homosexuality
The word homosexual refers to people who have sex with and/or sexual attraction to or desires for people of the same sex. (UNAIDS, 2011) Alternative terms are same-sex, sexual diversity and lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB).

Homonormativity
The system of regulatory norms and practices that emerges within homosexual communities and that plays a normative and disciplining function. These regulatory norms and practices need not necessarily be modelled on heteronormative assumptions, but they often are.

Intersectionality
The interaction of different axes of identity, such as gender, race, sexual orientation, ability and socio-economic status in multiple and intersecting ways, resulting in different forms of oppression impacting on a person in interrelated ways.

Intersex
A term referring to a variety of conditions (genetic, physiological or anatomical) in which a person’s sexual and/or reproductive features and organs do not conform to dominant and typical definitions of “female” or “male”. Such diversity in sex characteristics is also referred to as biological “variance” a term which risks reinforcing pathologising treatment of differences among individuals.

Lesbian
A woman who has sexual, romantic, and intimate feelings for or a love relationship with another woman or women.

LGBTI
An abbreviation referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons. LGB are sexual orientations, while the “T” is a gender identity and “I” is a biological variant. They are clustered together in one abbreviation due to similarities in experiences of marginalisation, exclusion, discrimination and victimisation in a heteronormative and heterosexist society, in an effort to ensure equality before the law and equal protection by the law. It is important to recognise that LGBTI persons are not a homogenous group and that their issues, experiences and needs may differ significantly in several respects.

Men who have sex with men (MSM)
MSM is an abbreviation referring to ‘men who have sex with men’ or ‘males who have sex with males’, regardless of whether or not they have sex with women or have a personal or social gay or bisexual identity. It also includes men who self-identify as heterosexual but have sex with other men. 

Oppression
The systematic subjugation of a group of people by another group with access to social power, the result of which benefits one group over the other and is maintained by social beliefs and practices.

Queer
An inclusive term that refers not only to lesbian and gay persons, but also to any person who feels marginalised because of her or his sexual practices, or who resists the heteronormative sex/gender/sexual identity system.

Same Gender Loving
A term to express an alternative sexual orientation without relying on terms and symbols of European descent. The term emerged in the early 1990's with the intention of offering a voice to black women who love women and black men who love men, a way of identifying and being that resonated with the uniqueness of black culture in life.

Sexuality
Refers to a human’s capacity for sexual feelings and includes sexual orientation, sexual identity, social gender roles and sexual activity. Sexuality is an integral part of all persons, a basic need, and an aspect of being human. Sexuality includes eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction.

Sexual behaviour
Sexual behaviour is distinguished from sexual orientation because the former refers to acts, while the latter refers to feelings and self-concept. People may or may not express their sexual orientation in their behaviour.

Sexual Diversity
The range of different expressions of sexual orientation and sexual behaviour that spans across the historical imposed heterosexual-homosexual binary.

Sexual Orientation
A person’s lasting emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction to others (heterosexual, homosexual, same-sex sexual orientation, bisexual or asexual.

Sex worker
The term ‘sex worker’ is non-judgmental and focuses on the working conditions under which sexual services are sold. Sex workers include consenting female, male, and transgender adults and young people over the age of 18 who receive money or goods in exchange for sexual services, either regularly or occasionally. (UNAIDS, 2011)

Significant other
Person(s) who have an important influence on an individual’s life and well-being. These could include romantic partner(s), friends and biological or social family.

SOGI
Refers to sexual orientation and gender identity. It is a fairly recent term which is used as opposed to LGBTI. 

Stigma and Discrimination
LGBTIQ individuals frequently experience stigma and discrimination; however there is a difference between the two concepts.  Stigma is the feeling experienced by a sexually diverse person based on what others think and affects the way they view themselves. It is the “holding of derogatory social attitudes or cognitive beliefs, a powerful and discrediting social label that radically changes the way individuals view themselves or the way they are viewed by others.” (Smart)

Discrimination is “an action based on a pre-existing stigma; a display of hostile or discriminatory behavior towards members of a group, on account of their membership to that group” (Smart) Name-calling or refusing to hire a person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity are examples of discrimination.

Trans*
Trans* is an umbrella term that includes all the various identities within the transgender spectrum: transgender, agender, transsexual, genderfluid, crossdressers, third gender, genderqueer, non-binary, genderfuck, genderless, non-gendered, two-spirited, bigender, and transman and transwoman. 

Trans diverse 
This term is also an umbrella term for people who have a gender identity, and often a gender expression, that is different to the expected gender of the sex they were assigned at birth by default of their primary sexual characteristics. It is also used to refer to people who challenge society’s view of gender as fixed, unmoving, dichotomous, and inextricably linked to one’s biological sex. Gender is more accurately viewed as a spectrum, rather than a polarised, dichotomous construct. The broad term also encompasses crossdressers, transgender people, gender benders, transsexuals, genderqueers, people who are androgynous, gender fluid and those who defy what society tells them is appropriate for their gender. Trans diverse people can be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or asexual. The word “trans diverse” has increasingly gained momentum as an alternative to “trans *” to indicate rejection of the hegemony of the global North in dictating the language used to describe the identities and experiences of trans diverse people. The terms trans* and trans diverse are used interchangeably in this report to demonstrate an inclusive attitude, but without also diminishing the fact that rights, circumstances, needs and priorities differ amongst people.

Transgender man/Transman
A person who was assigned ‘female’ at birth, but identifies as male. Such a person is also referred to as “female-to-male” (FtM) trans person. Male pronouns should always be used in reference.

Transgender woman/Transwoman
A person who was assigned “male” at birth, but identifies as female. Such a person is referred to as a “male-to-female” (MtF) trans person. Female pronouns should always be used in reference.

Transphobia
This terms refer to the fear of, rejection of, or aversion to anybody on the basis of them being or perceived to be trans diverse. These phobias are often expressed as stigmatizing attitudes or discriminatory behaviour

Transsexual 
A trans diverse person in the process of seeking or undergoing some form of medical or surgical treatment to bring their body (sex characteristics) and gender identity into closer alignment. Not all trans diverse people wish to or undergo sex/gender reassignment procedures. 

Women who have sex with women (WSW)
The term ‘women who have sex with women’ includes women who self-identify as lesbian or homosexual and have sex only with other women, bisexual women and women who self-identify as heterosexual but have sex with other women. (UNAIDS, 2011)