Sexual Orientation (n.): the emotional, romantic and physical attraction felt by an individual toward members of the same sex, the other sex or either sex.
Gender Identity (n.): one’s innermost sense of self as a man or a woman, as lying somewhere between these two genders, or as lying somewhere outside gender lines altogether. Unlike sex, which refers to one’s biological and reproductive physiology, gender refers to social and behavioural characteristics, such as appearance, mannerisms and roles, as well as one’s internal and psychological sense of self.
- Lesbian (n./adj.): a female-gendered person who is physically, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to another female-gendered person.
- Gay (adj.): a male-gendered person who is physically, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to another male-gendered person.
- Bisexual (adj.): a person who is physically, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to people of the same gender and of other genders.
- Transgender (adj.): refers to individuals who do not identify either fully or in part with their birth-assigned sex. The term ‘transgender’ includes people who identify as transsexual, trans, two-spirit, cross-dressers, etc. Some trans people use this as an umbrella term, similar to ‘trans’, while others use it as a replacement for ‘transsexual’ because they view that term as problematic.
- Transsexual (adj.): refers to a person whose biological sex assigned at birth does not match their gender identity. A transsexual woman needs to live and experience life as a woman and a transsexual man needs to live and experience life as a man. Many trans people identify as transgender, rather than transsexual, because they are uncomfortable with the psychiatric origins of the term ‘transsexual’.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
- Intersex (adj.): a person whose biological/anatomical sex is outside conventional classification of male or female; may be due to genetic, hormonal or anatomical variations. The term intersex is not interchangeable with transgender.
- Two-Spirit/2-Spirit (adj.): before colonization and contact with European cultures, many First Nations and Aboriginal communities across North America recognized more than two gender categories. The term 2-Spirit was coined in the 1990s by First Nations and Aboriginal community members to describe people who have received a gift from the Creator – the privilege to house both male and female spirits in their bodies. This term refers to a wide range of mixed gender roles including sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Queer (adj.): a term once used in a derogatory manner to insult people who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. It has been reclaimed by some community members; however, it is still understood as a negative term by many.
- Questioning (adj.): the process of working to understand one’s sexual orientation(s) and/or gender identity/identities.
Ally (n.): an individual who allies for and supports members of the queer community, and are often heterosexual. Allies may be prompted to action because they have personal and professional relationships with queer individuals or because they are alarmed at the pervasive negative attitudes towards queer individuals.
Spawn (n.): a colloquial term used by some to refer to the children of queer parents; while spawn may be heterosexual, they still face discrimination due to their parentage
You can read more terms and concepts at www.mygsa.ca/meeting-event-ideas/meeting-topic-ideas/terms-concepts