Permission to Hate

Glossary of LGBTQ terms

Here are LGBTQ terms from GLADD, a non-governmental organization founded by LGBTQ people in the media to monitor media coverage.

Bisexual, Bi

A person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attractions to those of the same gender or to those of another gender.


The adjective used to describe people whose enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attractions are to people of the same sex (e.g., gay man, gay people). Sometimes lesbian (n. or adj.) is the preferred term for women.

Gender Identity

One's internal, deeply held sense of one's gender. For transgender people, their own internal gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Most people have a gender identity of man or woman (or boy or girl). For some people, their gender identity does not fit neatly into one of those two choices. Unlike gender expression, gender identity is not visible to others.


Outdated clinical term considered derogatory and offensive. The Associated Press, New York Times and Washington Post restrict usage of the term.


A woman whose enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction is to other women. Some lesbians may prefer to identify as gay (adj.) or as gay women.


Acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. Sometimes, when the Q is seen at the end of LGBT, it can also mean questioning. LGBT and/or GLBT are also often used.


An adjective used by some people, particularly younger people, whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual (e.g. queer person, queer woman). Typically, for those who identify as queer, the terms lesbian, gay, and bisexual are perceived to be too limiting and/or fraught with cultural connotations they feel don't apply to them. Once considered a pejorative term, queer has been reclaimed by some people to describe themselves; however, it is not a universally accepted term.

Sexual Orientation

The scientifically accurate term for an individual's enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction to members of the same and/or opposite sex, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and heterosexual (straight) orientations.

Transgender (adj.)

An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. Many transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to bring their bodies into alignment with their gender identity. Some undergo surgery as well. But not all transgender people can or will take those steps, and a transgender identity is not dependent upon physical appearance or medical procedures.

Source: GLAAD’s upcoming 10th edition Media Reference Guide

Resources for LGBTQ Youth:

The Centers for Disease Control provides a comprehensive list of resources for youth, educators and school administrators, parents and family members, including:

A fact sheet from

Videos from the It Gets Better project.

Crisis information and suicide prevention services from The Trevor Project.

Leadership development from GSA Network.

Support and resources for families, friends and allies from PFLAG.