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Sexuality and Gender Definitions by the LGBTQ+ Community

2022-07-25
min read
Sexuality and Gender Definitions by the LGBTQ+ Community

Pride month has come and gone, but celebrating the LGBTQ+ community is something we do year round here at afterglow. 

It can be tricky to define and talk about your sexuality. Lots of people don’t fit into a clear-cut category, and that’s okay. Sexuality and gender are fluid, and it’s perfectly fine to explore, with or without a label. 

We wanted to know how you define your sexuality and gender identity, so we reached out to college folks in the LGBTQ+ community and asked them to define, whether creatively or literally, the terms with which they identify. 

Remember, definitions change over time, and sexuality is highly personal. It’s okay if these definitions don’t resonate with you, and it’s okay if you’re still learning which labels fit you best.

Sexuality and gender identity definitions

 

Allyship (Noun): allyship refers to the efforts made by a more privileged community to advance the interest of a more marginalized group of individuals. This can be an effort in society at large or particular social contexts. 

— Ethan (he/him)

 

Aromantic (adjective)(noun): Aromantic individuals are people with little to no romantic interest for other individuals. They can, however, feel sexual attraction. This leads to individuals with aromantic identities falling in to categories of aromantic sexual or aromantic asexual, but of course it is all a spectrum and not limited to these. 

— Ethan (he/him) 

 

Asexual (adjective)(noun): Asexual refers to individuals who experience little to no sexual attraction for individuals. Asexual people, or ace people, can still experience romantic attraction, but have varying to minimal interest in pursuing sexual relationships.

— Aidan (they/them)  

 

Bigender (adjective): Someone who may gracefully float through multiple gender expressions. 

— Dora (she/they)

 

Bisexual (adjective)(noun): Someone attracted to two or more genders, including their own.

— Dora (she/they)

 

BlaQ/BlaQueer (adjective)(noun): This term is often used for Black folks who identify as Black and Queer. This is because Blackness and queerness intersect so much, so it’s important to have a term that specifies the queerness and the Blackness of that individual.

— Kam (he/they) 

 

Cisgender (adjective): Someone whose personal identity and perception of their gender aligns or corresponds with their birth sex.

— Ethan (he/him)

 

Demisexual (adjective)(noun): For people who identify as demisexual, an emotional bond is a precursor for romantic relationships.

— Evan (he/him)

 

Gay (adjective)(noun):

1. Although traditionally meaning men loving men, gay also means loving and being sexually attracted to people of the same gender.

— Mikayla (she/they)

2. Gay to me is an umbrella term for those who are not straight.

— Kam (he/they)

 

Gender (noun): Range of characteristics pertaining to one’s identity that may or may not correspond to the birth sex. 

— Ethan (he/him)

 

Gender Identity (noun): One’s understanding of their gender without regards to their sex. 

— Evan (he/him)

 

Gender Non Conforming (GNC) (noun):

1. Not following society’s set binaries of gender and living as one’s own independent individual.

— Sarah (they/them)

2. Anyone who doesn’t follow typical gender roles / stereotypes based on their assigned sex at birth (looks, personality, etc.).

— Mikayla (she/they)

 

Genderqueer (noun): an individual who transcends the gender binary or doesn’t subscribe to gender norms.

— Dora (she/they)

 

Heteronormativity (adjective): The inherent social pressure that asserts that heterosexuality is the norm and that one must conform to behaviors that promote such norms. 

— Evan (he/him)

 

Heterosexuality (noun): Heterosexual people are attracted to people of a different gender than their own.

— Kam (he/they)

 

Homosexual / Homosexuality (noun): These terms are often used to reference someone who is sexually and romantically attracted to people of their own gender. 

— Ethan (he/him)

 

Intersectionality (noun): Created by Kimberlé Crenshaw, intersectionality is a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects. It’s not simply that there’s a race problem here, a gender problem here, and a class or LGBTQ problem there. Many times, that framework erases what happens to people who are subject to all of these things. 

— Dora (she/they)

 

Intersex (adjective)(noun): An intersex person is a person who has both primary sex organs or other sex characteristics of the male and female sex.

— Ethan (he/him)

 

Lesbian (noun): AFAB (assigned female at birth) individuals who prefer other AFA individuals and identify as women. 

— Sarah (they/them)

 

Monogamy (noun): the practice or state of being married to or in a relationship with one person at a time. It is seen as the norm in society when in reality, it doesn’t need to be (and it isn’t for many people).

— Ethan (he/him)

 

Non Binary / Nonbinary / Non-binary (adjective): 

1. One’s gender identity does not conform to the binary of male female gender identities.

— Evan (he/him)

2. Non binary is the umbrella term but it usually means someone who doesn’t subscribe to “formal” gender roles ( like man or woman). It can also mean the absence of gender or an in between.

 

Omnigender (adjective): Similar to pangender, this term can be used by someone who experiences all genders. This does not mean that they don’t prefer specific genders but they don’t confine themselves. 

— Ethan (he/him)

 

Pansexual, Omnisexual (adjective): For pansexual and omnisexual people, romantic relationships are formed regardless of a partner’s gender identity. 

— Evan (he/him)

 

Polyamory (noun): 

1. A polyamorous person is an individual whose preference is to have more than one (intimate) relationship at a time.

Sarah (they/them)

2. Polyamorous people are interested in being in a relationship with multiple partners at once and those partners are aware of each other and or are also in the relationship.

— Kam (he/they)

 

Polygender, Pangender (adjective): Similar to gender fluidity, people who are poly or pangender feel as though they are multiple genders all at the same time.

— Mikayla (she/they)

 

Polysexual (adjective): Polysexual people are attracted to people of multiple genders. The term polysexual is often used in order to reference attraction to a greater variety of sexual orientations that traditional gender binaries of male and female, or heterosexual and homosexual identities.

— Ethan (he/him) 

 

Queer (adjective/noun): Queer people do not follow stereotypes of womanhood and manhood.

  1. A better word to use rather than gay, more inclusive of all homosexual individuals and not just men
  2. A way to describe fruity things 😉

Sarah (they/them)

 

Queerplatonic (adjective)(noun): Everyone’s queerplatonic relationship looks different because the point is that queerplatonic relationships break away from conventional norms. Queerplatonic relationships challenge the binaries imposed by heteronormative culture seperating sexual, romantic, and platonic feelings. It is important to mention that the concept originally started in the asexual and aromantic community and thus far has been mostly associated with queer women based on personal experiences. But anyone can have this type of relationship, and straight people can, too!

— Aislinn (she/they)

 

Sexuality (Noun): How an individual chooses to sexually express themselves. 

— Sarah (they/them)

 

Trans (adjective): People who don’t align with the gender they are confined to by society. People who are non-binary also fall under the trans umbrella because some of them don’t confine to the gender that was placed on them. 

— Kam (he/they)

 

Two Spirit (adjective)(noun): The term two spirit refers to people who identify as having both a masculine and feminine spirit. It is used by Indigenous people to describe their sexual, gender, and/or spiritual identity. Two spirit can encompass same-sex attraction and a wide variety of gender variance, including folks in the West who are among the LGBTQ+ community and have many identities. The creation of the term came from Elder Myra Laramee who proposed it in Winnipeg in 1990 at the Third Annual Inter-tribal Native American, First Nations, Gay and Lesbian American Conference. 

 

Pride for all people

 

When it comes to sexuality and gender definitions, identities, and overall – lifestyles – no person or body is asking that you know every term. With pride expanding into every day of the year, learning these terms is about respecting and loving everyone. 

We must open our minds and hearts to the reality that different types of love are possible and we must encourage everyone to be their utmost authentic self as we progress towards a better future for all. 

 


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