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LGBT TERMS

a. Homosexuality is emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction to


persons of the same sex.
i.

The term homosexual has medical roots from the turn of the
last century (early 1900s) and most people now prefer the
terms gay and lesbian instead. Homosexuality has existed
throughout humanity's existence. Anthropologists report that
lesbians and gay men have been and are a part of every
culture. Lesbian and gay people are part of every
socioeconomic class, educational level, and race/ethnicity.

b. Bisexuality is emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction to people


whose biological sex is different than and the same as one's own.
ii.

Bisexuality has existed throughout humanity's existence and in


every culture. Bisexual people are part of every socioeconomic
class, educational level, and race/ethnicity.

c. Homophobia is the irrational fear, disgust, or hatred of gays,


lesbians, and/or bisexual people, or of homosexual feelings in
oneself. It refers to the discomfort one feels with any behavior,
belief, or attitudein self or othersthat does not conform to
traditional sex role stereotypes. Homophobia exhibits itself in the
fear of knowing, befriending, or associating with gays, lesbians, or
bisexual people; fear of being perceived as gay or lesbian; and/or
fear of stepping out of accepted gender role behavior.
d. Heterosexism is the assumption that everyone is heterosexual and
targets gays, lesbians, and bisexual people. Heterosexism confers
rights and privileges to heterosexual people that are denied to gay,
lesbian, and bisexual people. This is revealed through personal
behaviors like telling 'faggot' jokes, putting up graffiti, and/or
offering verbal and physical harassment, & discriminatory policies,
such as denial of health, retirement, and housing benefits.
e. Sexual Preference vs. Sexual Orientation. Sexual orientation is
not a choice. Preference implies choice. Being gay, lesbian, or
bisexual is sexual orientation. Sexual preference might imply a
bisexual person who prefers people of a particular biological sex.
f. Transgender vs. Transsexual vs. Crossdresser. These terms are
not all the same. To understand these terms, we must first

understand the differences between biological sex, gender identity,


and sexual identity. Biological sex involves being identified at birth
by one's physical primary sex characteristics. Gender identity is
ones psychological conviction about being male or female. Sexual
identity is ones psychological identification as straight, lesbian,
gay, bisexual, etc. Transgender, transsexual, and crossdressing
people may have any sexual orientation.
iii.

Transgender is an umbrella term for people who experience


&/or express a gender not corresponding to the sex designated
sex at birth, or physically changing their sex. A transgender
person may or may not ever choose to become transsexual.

iv.

Transsexual refers to a person who experiences a mismatch of


the body and the brain and sometimes undergoes medical
treatment, including hormone therapy and sexual reassignment
surgery, to change physical sex to match gender identity.

v.

Crossdressers (formerly known as transvestites) are people


who like to dress in the clothing of the gender identity opposite
to that considered socially appropriate to their biological sex.
Most crossdressers are content with their own biological sex and
gender identity. Most crossdressers do not want to be the other
biological sex or to be another gender.

g. Intersex people (once called hermaphrodites) are people born with


ambiguous genitalia or genitalia having characteristics of both
sexes.
h. Queer, once a derogatory term for gay men, bisexuals, lesbians,
and transgender people, has recently been reclaimed by the LGBT
community as a term of pride. However, many have not chosen to
reclaim the word and still see it as a derogatory, similar to the terms
'dyke' and 'fag.'
i. Gender Spectrum. Traditionally, gender has meant either 'male' or
'female.' Gender is the collection of behaviors, dress, attitudes, etc.,
culturally assigned to people according to their biological sex.
However, there is really a range of genders, including male and
female, but also including genderqueer or gender ambiguous,
butch, femme, transgender, and many others.
j. Pansexuality vs. Genderqueer. Given there are more than two
genders, some people do not self-identify as bisexual, finding

themselves attracted to people across a spectrum of genders. These


people have adopted different terms, including pansexual, a term
that can also apply to people whose gender is fluid or who consider
themselves genderqueer.