Dictionary of Terms Frequently Used in Pizza Klatch

This is a list of words that often come up within the LGBTQ+ community. It is by no means a complete list, and there are many people who have different ideas of what some of these words mean. If you have any suggestions about how we can make this list better, let us know at info@pizzaklatch.org.

Five Basic Definitions

Birth Sex / Biological Sex
A specific set of genetic, chemical and anatomical characteristics that we are either born with or that develop as we mature. Types of birth/biological sex include female, male and intersex.

Gender Identity
One’s internal, personal sense of their own gender. Many people believe in a more fluid gender identity than the common binary of “male” and “female.” Possible non-binary identities include gender-expansive, gender-queer, gender-fluid, agender, and more.

Gender Expression
The external manifestation of one’s gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut, voice or body characteristics.

An umbrella term that describes people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. This group includes, but is not limited to, transsexuals, cross-dressers and other gender-variant people. Transgender people may or may not choose to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically.

Sexual Orientation
The nature of an individual’s physical, romantic, emotional and/or spiritual attraction to another person. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Trans and gender-variant people may identify with any sexual orientation, and their sexual orientation may or may not change before, during or after gender transition.

The Full Spectrum


In the context of sexuality, an abbreviation for asexual.



A chosen or felt lack of gender identity.



Acronyms meaning “assigned female/male at birth” (also designated female/male at birth or female/male assigned at birth). No one, whether cis or trans, gets to choose what sex they’re assigned at birth. This term is preferred to “biological male/female”, “male/female bodied”, “natal male/female”, and “born male/female”, which are defamatory and inaccurate.



A person identifying and/or expressing gender outside of the gender binary. Other terms used include gender variant, genderqueer, and gender non-conformist.



Being neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine (or a mishmosh of both), in dress, appearance, behavior or identity, either by choice or by circumstance.



Not having an interest in romantic relationships.



In the context of human sexuality, someone who either does not experience or has not yet experienced any sexual desires at all, or who has experienced/does experience sexual desires, but not a desire to enact them with other individuals.


assigned Sex

The sex/gender one is considered to be at birth based on a cursory examination of external genitalia.



Refers to those who identify as two genders. Can also identify as multigender (identifying as two or more genders). Do not confuse this term with Two-Spirit, which is specifically associated with Native American and First Nations cultures.



Made up of two things or parts; a system with only two possible options or parts.



Compressing or concealing the breasts so as to present a more male or androgynous appearing chest.



Fear or hatred of, aversion to, and discrimination against bisexuals and bisexual behaviour. Biphobia exerts a powerful, negative force on the lives of bisexual people. Some examples of biphobia in action are disparaging jokes, verbal abuse or acts of violence targeted at bisexual people, or the dismissal of bisexuality as an inferior, invalid or irrelevant expression of sexuality. Bisexual people often face biphobia and discrimination in both queer and non-queer communities.


birth Sex / biological Sex

A specific set of genetic, chemical and anatomical characteristics that we are either born with or that develop as we mature. Types of birth/biological sex include female, male and intersex.



A term for sexual orientation which either describes a person who can be sexually and emotionally attracted to both men and women or merely to people of more than one gender.



Describes a person who is intentionally masculine in appearance, behavior, dress, identity or sexual attitude. Often used in relation tofemme. Most often used in the LGBT community, but can refer to people of any orientation. However, some people see use of the word “butch” as an insult.


A system of attitudes, bias and discrimination in favour of cisgender identities that marginalizes and renders invisible trans people and treats their needs and identities as less important than those of cisgender people.


cis gender

Describes people who have a gender identity which is traditionally thought to “match” their assigned sex, and thought to “match” many or most of the roles, behaviors and appearances culturally expected of that sex. For example, someone who was sexed male at birth and whose gender identity is masculine; who also feels male. Often used in relation to transgender.



Systemic prejudice in the favor of cisgender people.


cissexual privilege

The double standard that promotes the idea that transsexual genders are distinct from, and less legitimate than, cissexual genders. They are a set of unearned advantages that individuals who identify with their biological sex accrue solely due to having a cisgender identity.


closeted or in the closet

Hiding one’s sexual orientation or gender identity.


coming Out

The process by which people publicly recognize, acknowledge, accept and typically appreciate their sexual orientation or gender identities.


(from demi “half” + “gender”) is an umbrella term for nonbinary gender identities that have a partial connection to a certain gender. This includes the partly female identity demigirl, and the partly male identity demiboy



Refers to people who dress in a showy or flamboyant way that exaggerates gendered stereotypes, often for entertainment purposes. ‘Drag’ is a term that is often associated with gay/ lesbian communities and is often replaced with ‘Drag King’ and ‘Drag Queen.’ Some people who perform professionally outside gay/lesbian communities prefer the term ‘male/female impersonator.’



Not Intersex.



A lesbian. This term can be used as an insult, or reclaimed by lesbians as a positive term.


female-to-male spectrum (FTM)

Generally used to refer to anyone assigned female at birth, but who identifies or expresses their gender as male all or part of the time. Some people prefer the term ‘transitioning to male’, as this does not imply that they were once female-identified.



A term that some queer people use to describe gender expression and/or social and relationship roles that are perceived by many as being feminine.



In the context of sexuality, a word for sexual orientation which either describes a man who is sexually and emotionally attracted to other men, or a person of any sex or gender who is sexually and emotionally attracted to people of the same or a similar sex or gender. Often used alongside lesbian.


gender affirming surgery/gender confirming surgery; genital reassignment/reconstruction surgery; vaginoplasty; phalloplasty; metoidioplasty

Refers to surgical alteration, and is only one part of some trans people’s transition. Only the minority of transgender people choose to and can afford to have genital surgery. The following terms are inaccurate, offensive, or outdated: sex change operation, gender reassignment/realignment surgery (gender is not changed due to surgery), gender confirmation/confirming surgery (genitalia do not confirm gender), and sex reassignment/realignment surgery (as it insinuates a single surgery is required to transition along with sex being an ambiguous term).


the gender binary

A system of viewing gender as consisting solely of two, opposite categories, termed “male and female”, in which no other possibilities for gender or anatomy are believed to exist. This system is oppressive to anyone who defies their sex assigned at birth, but particularly those who are gender-variant or do not fit neatly into one of the two standard categories.



The social construction of concepts such as masculinity and femininity in a specific culture in time. It involves gender assignment (the gender designation of someone at birth), gender roles (the expectations imposed on someone based on their gender), gender attribution (how others perceive someone’s gender), and gender identity (how someone defines their own gender). Fundamentally different from the sex one is assigned at birth.


gender attribution / gender perception

The process of making assumptions about another person’s gender, based on factors such as choice of dress, voice modulation, body shape, etc. 4 A related term is ‘reading,’ which refers to the process where factors such as someone’s body shape, voice, gender expression, etc. are used to make assumptions about that someone’s gender identity, sex assigned at birth, or sexual orientation. Making assumptions is a major cause of exclusion and disrespect towards others.


gender dysphoria

Discomfort with an assigned sex and/or gender and/or the gender norms and roles associated with either.


gender expression

The way people externally communicate gender identity to others through their behavior and their outward, chosen appearance.


gender identity

One’s internal and psychological sense of oneself as male, female, both, in between, or neither. People who question their gender identity may feel unsure of their gender or believe they are not of the same gender as their physical body. Gender non-conforming, gender variant, or genderqueer are some terms sometimes used to describe people who don’t feel they fit into the categories of male or female. ‘Bi-gender’ and ‘pan-gender’ are some terms that refer to people who identify with more than one gender. Often bi-gender and pangender people will spend some time presenting in one gender and some time in the other. Some people choose to present androgynously in a conscious attempt to challenge and expand traditional gender roles even though they might not question their gender identity.


gender identity disorder / GID

A controversial DSM-III and DSM-IV diagnosis given to transgender and other gender-nonconforming people. Because it labels people as “disordered,” Gender Identity Disorder is often considered offensive. The diagnosis is frequently given to children who don’t conform to expected gender norms in terms of dress, play or behavior. Such children are often subjected to intense psychotherapy, behavior modification and/or institutionalization. This term was replaced by the term “gender dysphoria” in the DSM-5.


gender nonconforming

This term refers to people who do not conform to society’s expectations for their gender roles or gender expression. Some people prefer the term ‘gendervariant’ among other terms.



What is considered “normal” for a given gender or sex, even if it’s not. These ideas may be widespread, or may be specific to a given group, area or historical period of time.



A term under the trans umbrella which refers to people who identify outside of the male-female binary. Genderqueer people may experience erasure if they are perceived as cisgender. Genderqueer people who are perceived as genderqueer are often subjected to gender policing. Related but not interchangeable terms include ‘gender outlaw’, ‘gender variant’, ‘gender non-conformist’, ‘third gender’, ‘bigender’, and ‘pangender’.


gender role

Clothing, characteristics, traits and behaviors culturally associated with masculinity and/or femininity.


gender variant

A term that describes individuals who stray from socially accepted gender roles.


gray asexuality

Sometimes known as “gray ace”, this is the concept and community of individuals falling under the “ace umbrella,” or in the spectrum between identifying as asexual and engaging in sexual activity.


heteronormative / heteronormativity

These terms refer to the assumption that heterosexuality is the norm, which plays out in interpersonal interactions and society and furthers the marginalization of queer people.



Someone who is only or mostly emotionally and sexually attracted to people of a different sex or gender than they are themselves.



The societal/cultural, institutional and individual beliefs and practices that privilege heterosexuals and subordinate and denigrate lesbians, gay men and bisexual/pansexual people. The critical element that differentiates heterosexism (or any other “ism”) from prejudice and discrimination is the use of institutional power and authority to support prejudices and enforce discriminatory behaviors in systematic ways with far-reaching outcomes and effects.


heterosexual Ally

Heterosexual people who confront heterosexism in themselves and others out of self-interest, a concern for the well-being of lesbians, gay men and bisexual/pansexual people, and a belief that heterosexism is a social injustice.

heterosexual Privilege

The benefits and advantages that heterosexuals receive in a heterosexist culture. Also, the benefits that lesbians, gay men, and bisexual/pansexual people receive as a result of claiming a heterosexual identity and denying a lesbian, gay, or bisexual/pansexual identity.


Literally, the fear of homosexuals and homosexuality; however, this term is generally applied to anyone who dislikes LGBTIQ people, who uses derogatory sexuality- or gender-based terms, or who feels that LGBTIQ people want “special rights” and not “equal rights.” Homophobic behavior can range from telling jokes about lesbians and gay men to verbal abuse and even acts of physical violence.


Someone who is only or mostly emotionally and sexually attracted to people of their same sex or of the same or a similar gender.



The defining character or personality of an individual; who we feel like we are as a person. Identity is often used to talk about sexualidentity — who we are as sexual people, which can include things like our sexual orientation, our preferences and things we like and want in sex and sexuality, our sexual politics — or gender identity, who we feel we are and identify as (even if only to ourselves) in terms of our gender.



A socially constructed category that reflects real biological variation. Intersex is a general term used to describe a variety of conditions where a person is born with reproductive and/or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to, or isn’t understood to, fit the typical definitions of female or male, and/or is born a chromosomal combination other than XX or XY. Some intersex conditions are Turner Syndrome, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, Klinefelter’s Syndrome, MRKH and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia.



Describes the sexual orientation of a woman who is sexually and emotionally attracted only or mostly to other women.



L = lesbian, G = gay, B = bisexual, T = transgender, Q = queer or questioning. Additional letters sometimes added include U = unsure, I =intersex, P = pansexual, A= asexual, S = straight allies.


male-to-female spectrum (MTF):

Generally used to refer to anyone assigned male at birth but who identifies or expresses their gender as a female all or part of the time. Some people prefer the term ‘transitioning to female’, as this does not imply that they were once male-identified.



Describes something society associates with or attributes to men and boys or a state, experience or assignment of being male.



In the context of sex, people choosing to be with each other sexually exclusively; to only have one sexual partner at a time.


Nonbinary (Also Non-Binary)

Preferred umbrella term for all genders other than female/male or woman/man, used as an adjective (e.g. Jesse is a nonbinary person). Not all nonbinary people identify as trans and not all trans people identify as nonbinary. Sometimes (and increasingly), nonbinary can be used to describe the aesthetic/presentation/expression of a cisgender or transgender person.


out or out of the closet

To be openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer or intersex.



When someone discloses information about another’s sexual orientation or gender identity without that person’s knowledge and/or consent.



Wearing a penile prosthesis



Someone who may be/is attracted to other people of any gender or sex, not just men or women. Pansexual is often used as a more inclusive term than bisexual, which supports or implies that gender is binary (which it isn’t).


passing/to pass:

A term sometimes used to refer to the state of an LGBT person not being visibly recognizable as LGBT. This term is most commonly used in relation to trans* people. People who ‘pass’ may experience less queer-phobia and discrimination. Some LGBT people consider ‘passing’ to be very important for them, while others feel that choosing not to pass is an act of rejecting heterosexism, cissexism and ciscentricism. ‘Passing’ is a contested term since it may connote ‘a passing grade’ or ‘passing something illegitimate off’, or it may imply external pressure to strive towards being ‘read’ a certain way (See: Gender attribution).



People choosing to have more than one sexual or romantic partner at a time. Polyamory usually implies that this is wanted by all parties, negotiated and agreed upon. Polyamory is not “cheating,” unless someone breaks the agreements they have made in polyamorous relationships.



An acronym for Queer People Of Colour. Another term used is QTIPOC (Queer, Transgender, and Intersex People of Colour). Queer people of colour often experience intersecting oppressions on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation and other factors.



In the context of sexuality, a broad term for sexual orientation that can describe any number of orientations which are not heterosexual. People who identify as queer may be bisexual or pansexual, gay or lesbian, questioning, asexual or more.



A term sometimes used by those in the process of exploring personal issues of sexual orientation and gender identity as well as choosing not to identify with any other label.



An acronym used to express the following sexual and gender identities/groups: Q, Queer and/or Questioning, U, Unidentified, I, Intersex, L, Lesbian, T, Trans, B, Bisexual, A, Asexual (and/or) Allies, G, Gay and/or Genderqueer (GQ).


reclaimed language

Language that has traditionally been used to hurt and degrade a community but which community members have reclaimed and used as their own. Reclaimed language can be extremely important as a way of taking the negative power out of a word, claiming space, and empowering oneself. However, reclaimed language is also tricky and, depending on the context and the speaker, can be hurtful and dangerous. Some examples are ‘dyke’, ‘fag’, ‘homo’, ‘queen’, and ‘queer’. Although these terms can be used in a positive way by those reclaiming them, it is still offensive to hear them used by others whose intent is to hurt.



The societal/cultural, institutional and individual beliefs and practices that privilege men and subordinate and denigrate women.


sexual orientation

The nature of an individual’s physical, romantic, emotional and/or spiritual attraction to another person. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Trans and gender-variant people may identify with any sexual orientation, and their sexual orientation may or may not change before, during or after gender transition.



To not be openly transgender in all or almost all social situations.



Slang term for heterosexual.



An umbrella term that describes people who permanently or periodically dis-identify with the sex they were assigned at birth.



This term may describe people who identify as trans, and who identify their gender expression as feminine.



Describes organizations or institutions that are open, affirming and accepting of trans people and their social, political and cultural needs



The irrational fear and hatred of all those individuals who do not conform to dominant gender categories.



A medical term for trans people usually used to describe someone who has  sexual reassignment surgery/surgeries (SRS). Sometimes used interchangeably

with transgender, whether or not a person has had or plants to have SRS.



Refers to the process during which trans* people may change their gender expression and/or bodies to reflect their gender identity or sexual identity. Transition may involve a change in physical appearance (hairstyle, clothing), behaviour (mannerisms, voice, gender roles), and/or identification (name, pronoun, legal details). It may be accompanied by changes to the body such as the use of hormones to change secondary sex characteristics (e.g. breasts, facial hair).



Umbrella term that describes people who have a gender identity other than that traditionally thought to “match” their assigned sex, and other than that thought to “match” many or most of the roles, behaviors and appearances culturally expected of that sex. For example, someone who was assigned male sex at birth but who feels like/identifies as a woman.


trans man

This term describes someone who identifies as trans* and whose gender identity is male.



This term describes people who identify as trans* and who identify their gender expression as masculine.



Originally coined by the author Julia Serano, this term designates the intersectionality of transphobia and misogyny and how they are often experienced as a form of oppression by trans women.



Prejudice against transgender and trans women and men. Transphobia may also include prejudice against any kind of gender nonconformity or gender nonconforming people.


two spirit

An umbrella term indexing various indigenous gender identities in North America.


ze / hir

Gender-inclusive pronouns used to avoid relying on a gender binary-based linguistic system, or making assumptions about other people’s gender. An example of these terms being used in a sentence is ‘Ze talked to hir partner about pronouns’. Some people instead choose to use plural pronouns such as ‘They’ and ‘Their’, or similar options. An example of this would be ‘They talked to their partner about pronouns’. Some use plural pronouns because they are more widely understood and able to be fluently used by most people. Others, such as omnigender folk, feel that plural pronouns are most representative of their having more than one gender.