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Featured Terms and Definitions

The terms below include only those used by participants to describe themselves and other members of the community in the hopes, fears and ideas featured in this report. This list is by no means exhaustive. The definitions below were adapted from the Williams Institute, the LGBT Resource Center at the University of California, Los Angeles and the LGBTQIA Resource Center at the University of California, Davis.

Asexual: Adjective used to describe a person who is not sexually attracted to other people, or feels no desire to have sex with others.

Bisexual: Adjective used to describe a person who is attracted to people of the same gender and those of other genders.

Cisgender, cis: Adjective used to describe a person whose gender identity and expression aligns with those conventionally associated with members of the sex assigned to that person at birth.

Gay: Adjective used in some settings to describe men who are attracted to people of the same gender. Also used as an umbrella term to describe any person who is primarily attracted to people of the same gender or any member of the community.

Gender non-conforming (GNC): Adjective used to describe people who do not dress, behave or generally express themselves according to conventional expectations.

Genderqueer: Adjective used to describe people whose gender identities either do not align with what is conventionally associated with members of the sex assigned to that person at birth and/or are beyond gender.

Lesbian: A woman who is primarily attracted to people of the same gender.

LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQIA: An acronym for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual” people. Commonly used as umbrella terms to describe any member of the community.

Non-binary: Adjective used to describe people who do not identify as just male or female. The term can describe people who identify as both male and female (bigender); a gender between male and female (intergender); or having no gender (agender).

POC: Acronym for the phrase, “people of color” used to describe racial and ethnic minorities.

TPOC: Acronym for the phrase, “trans people of color” used to describe racial and ethnic minorities who identify as transgender (those whose gender identities and/or expressions differ from those conventionally associated with members of the sex assigned to them at birth).

Trans*, transgender: Adjective used to describe a person whose gender identity and/or expression differ from those conventionally associated with members of the sex assigned to that person at birth. Often used as an umbrella term to describe all people who identify in this way. Note that the use of the asterisk provides an opportunity to fill in the appropriate label, such as “trans woman” or “trans man.”

Queer: An umbrella term that can be used to describe any member of the community. Historically, the term was used as a slur against members of the community, but many have reclaimed it to describe a diverse range of sexual orientations and/or gender identities.

Questioning: The process of exploring one’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression. Some in the community use this term to describe themselves.  

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