LGBTQ+ - an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual, and Queer (or Questioning); the "+" sign symbolizes that gender and sexuality exist on a spectrum and includes everyone who is part of the community without relegating them to a single defined identity; other often-used acronyms include LGBTQIA+

Queer - a word reclaimed by the LGBTQ+ community often used as an umbrella term for those who fall outside heterosexual/cisgender norms, often used interchangeably with LGBTQ

Questioning - a term used to describe people who are in the process of exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity

Gay - a man or person who is emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to members of the same gender

Lesbian - a woman who is emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to members of the same gender

Bisexual - a person emotionally, romantically or sexual attracted to more than one sex, gender, or gender identity

Pansexual - a person who is not limited in their romantic and sexual attraction by gender, sex, or gender identity 

Asexual - a person who experiences little or no sexual attraction to others and/or a lack of interest in sexual relationships/behaviors (Learn more at Asexual Visibility and Education Network)

Intersexual - a person who naturally has biological traits, such as hormonal levels or genitalia, that do not match what is typically identified as male or female, not linked to sexual orientation or gender identity

Transgender (or Trans) - an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth; being Transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation

Transsexual - an older term that was once used to describe transgender individuals. This is not an umbrella term and most transgender people prefer the term transgender

Genderqueer or Non-binary - refers to an individual whose gender identity/expression does not fall within the traditional categories of man or woman (Learn more at National Center for Transgender Equality)

Gender Non-conforming - an individual whose gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculine or feminine traits

Gender Identity - one's innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or either; how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves

Genderfluid - gender identity that is not fixed/static

Cisgender - an individual who is not transgender, whose gender identity is the same as their sex assigned at birth

Intersex - an individual born with born with variations in sex characteristics such as chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones or genitals that do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies (Learn more at Planned Parenthood or The Intersex Society of North America)

Two-Spirit - a Native American term to describe Native people who, in their communities, occupy an alternative gender status. It was coined during the 1990 Indigenous gay and lesbian gathering in Winnipeg to reclaim this alternative gender distinction from such offensive and outdated terms like berdache.  Although not every Native American Tribe uses the term two-spirit or has a cultural equivalent. Two-spirit is a concept with a rich, nuanced history and should also not be used as an umbrella term for gay, lesbian, transgender, or other queer Native American people (Learn more about two-spirits here and here)

Homophobia - fear and hatred of or discomfort with people who are romantically or sexual attracted to members of the same sex

Heteronormative - a worldview which frames heterosexuality as the standard sexuality created through repetitive representations of heterosexuality and heterosexual relationships in our society

For more terminology, see the Comprehensive* List of LGBTQ+ Vocabulary Definitions.