Important list of terms
additional resources for definitions and terms:
Ally: Any person or institution who understands how doing anti-homophobic work benefits them and their people, and then goes ahead and does that work. Being an ally is more active than being a friend.
Bisexuality: Sexual attraction to and/or behavior with both sexes.
Biological Sex refers to the physiological and anatomical characteristics of maleness and femaleness with which a person is born.
Gender Identity refers to one’s psychological sense of oneself as a male or female.
Gender Role refers to the socially constructed and culturally specific behavior and expectations for women (femininity) and men (masculinity).
Coming out: The act of defining oneself as gay or lesbian. There are significant moments and incidents of “coming out” — to family, religious community, neighbors, colleagues. Coming out also represents the daily, ongoing need to not be made invisible in a heterosexist society.
Dyke: Many lesbians self-identify as dyke. This is not a word all lesbians feel comfortable with. It is still a loaded term that is used in a derogatory way by homophobic people.
Fluid: A term suggesting that sexuality and gender are social constructs and that it is natural to feel a certain “fluidity” in sexual attraction and identity. Fluid refers to accepting the continuum of sexual orientation from gay to straight with every nuance in between.
Gay: Traditionally, the term gay has referred to men. It has come to include lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, transexuals, etc. The word came from the Gay Liberation movement.
Heterosexism: Believing heterosexual lifestyle is superior to other lifestyles; promoting heterosexual lifestyle.
Heterosexuality: Sexual attraction to and/or behavior with the other sex.
Homophobia: The fear, intolerance, mistreatment, and oppression of homosexuality, bisexuality, lesbian women, gay men. It is often used to express the mistreatment and oppression of gay people by individuals and/or institutions.
Homosexuality: Sexual attraction and/or behavior with the same sex. sexuality, lesbian women, gay men. It often used to express the mistreatment and oppression of gay people by individuals and/or institutions.
Lesbian: Gay woman. Most lesbians prefer the term lesbian because it gives gay women an identity independent from men. There is a growing diversity of lesbian lifestyle and culture. Many lesbians self-identify as dykes.
Outed: (As in, “They ‘outed’ her at the meeting.”) When someone tells other people that another person is gay.
Partner: A term used to describe a sweetie, loved one, wife/husband, comrade-in-life, within the gay community. It is also a term straight people consciously use for their lovers/spouses as an act against hetereosexism.
Patriarchy is the root cause of sexist oppression. It is a system of oppression which values the work of men over that of women, which privileges male culture and men oriented roles and tasks over that of women and women oriented tasks. It is a system of oppression that elevates men into positions of power and decision-making while devaluing or diminishing the contribution of or role of women. **Taken from MXGM Definitions**
It is a system of oppression, which assumes and accepts heterosexual relationships as the norm and values those relationships at the expense of others.
Patriarchy, arguably the first system of oppression learned by everyone, intersects with other systems of oppression such as white supremacy, classism and heterosexism to oppress Black women and Black LGBT/Queer people.
Patriarchy is a political-social system that insists that males are inherently dominating, superior to everything and everyone deemed weak, especially females, and endowed with the right to dominate and rule over the weak and to maintain that dominance through various forms of psychological terrorism and violence…..Bell Hooks
Privilege: A resource or state of being that is only readily available t some people because of their social group membership.
Queer: A term, loved by some gay people, hated by others, that reflects inclusion of gay, straight, transexual, transgender, bisexual, and questioning people. Outside of the gay/lesbian community, queer is a derogatory term used by homophobic people.
Questioning: Being open to defining one’s sexual orientation.
Racism is the belief that there are inherent differences in people’s traits and capacities that are entirely due to their race, however defined, and that, as a consequence, racial discrimination (i.e. different treatment of those people, both socially and legally) is justified.
Racism is more than a matter of individual prejudice and scattered episodes of discrimination. There is no black racism because there is no centuries-old system of racialized subordination and discrimination designed by blacks to exclude whites from full participation in rights, privileges, and benefits of this society. Black racism would require not only a widely accepted racist ideology directed at whites but also the power to systematically exclude whites from opportunities and rewards in major economic, cultural, and political institutions. While there are Blacks with anti-white prejudices, and there are instances of Blacks discriminating against whites, these ….are not part of an entrenched structure of institutionalized racism that can be found in every part of this country **Taken from MXGM Definitions**
Right: A resource or state of being that everyone has equal access to, regardless of their social group membership.
Sexism: The cultural, institutional and individual set of beliefs and practices that privilege men, subordinate women, and denigrate values and practices associated with women. Sexism is more than a matter of individual prejudice and scattered episodes of discrimination. There is no female sexism because there is no centuries-old system of sexualized subordination and discrimination designed by women to exclude men from full participation in rights, privileges, and benefits of this society. Female sexism would require not only a widely accepted sexist ideology directed at men but also the power to systematically exclude men from opportunities and rewards in major economic, cultural, and political institutions. While there are women with anti-male prejudices, and there are instances of women discriminating against men, these ….are not part of an entrenched structure of institutionalized sexism that can be found in every part of this country. **Taken from MXGM Definitions**
Sexist oppression is any force or entity that limits the self-determination of women and girls. It is the exercise of male privilege (power and control), by individuals as well as the state and results in violence and abuse of women and girls. Sexist oppression is propagated by the state through policies and practices that adversely affect women. The result of these policies is the creation and expansion of an economic and social underclass of women who struggle to support their families while they are treated as expendable labor. **Taken from MXGM Definitions**
Sexual Orientation: Sexual orientation is the term people use to define what gender they are sexually attracted to. A person who has a sexual attraction to members of the opposite gender is called heterosexual (or straight), while someone who has a sexual attraction to members of the same gender is a homosexual person. Sexual orientation is a continuum, not a set of absolutely different categories. It is not known what determines a person’s sexual orientation.
Social Power: Access to resources that enhance one’s chances of getting what one needs in order to lead a comfortable, productive and safe life.
Transgender: This has become a catchword for transvestites, transexuals, female and male impersonators, drag queens, those without a specific gender label.
Transsexual: Changing to another gender: surgically, chemically, and/or aesthetically.
Gender non-conforming refers to people whose gender expressions do not match stereotypes of how girls/women or boys/men are “supposed to” look and act. In reality, most people in general don’t meet all gender expectations and stereotypes either; almost nobody is perfectly masculine or perfectly feminine. The reason gender nonconforming people are included in the list of transgender people is that there are some people who identify as transgender but are not transitioning gender, and do not consider themselves cross-dressers, androgynous, or gender queer. Gender non-conforming people have an increased need for safety while in the shelters.
Two-spirit: The definition of a two-spirit person varies across the Native American cultures in which they appear. In general, two-spirit people are born one sex, and end up fulfilling the roles assigned to both sexes, or other roles reserved for two-spirit people. Some people consider two-spirit a term that can refer to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, while others think it is best used only for transgender people.
Transphobia is the negative valuing, stereotyping and discriminatory treatment of individuals who do not conform in appearance and/or identity, to conventional conceptions of gender. Trans-identified (transgendered) individuals, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and their supporters are typically the targets of transphobia.
additional resources for definitions and terms: