Some terms explained

bisexual: an individual whose emotional and sexual attraction is to both men and women, including trans gender people

biphobia: fear and/or intolerance of people who are bisexual

cross dresser: an individual who wears clothing most often associated with members of the opposite sex. Cross dressing is not necessarily connected to sexual orientation, nor is it synonymous with transgender or drag entertainment. This term is now used instead of transvestite

drag: an entertainer who dresses and acts in styles typically associated with the opposite sex

gay: an individual whose emotional and sexual attraction is towards people of the same sex. The term is most commonly applied to men, although some women use this term

gender identity: an individual's emotional and psychological sense of being female or male

genderism: refers to the assumption that one's gender identity or gender expression will conform to traditionally held stereotypes associated with one's biological sex

heterosexual: describe individuals who are sexually attracted to the opposite sex/gender

heterosexism: the presumption that heterosexuality is universal and/or superior to homosexuality. Prejudice, bias or discrimination is based on such presumptions

homophobia: a fear and/or hatred of lesbians and gay men and of their sexual desires and practices that often leads to discriminatory behaviour or abuse. Prejudice, discrimination, harassment or violence based on a fear, distrust, dislike or
hatred of someone who is lesbian, gay or bisexual. Homophobia can be verbal, physical or emotional harassment, insulting or degrading comments, name calling, gestures, taunts, insults or jokes, offensive graffiti, humiliating, excluding, tormenting, ridiculing or threatening, refusing to work or cooperate with others because of their sexual orientation or identity
homosexual: an individual whose emotional and sexual attraction is towards people of the same sex

intersex: an individual born with sex chromosomes, external genitalia or an internal reproductive system that is not exclusively either male or female. Parents and doctors will usually determine the sex of a child resulting in surgery or hormone treatment. Some believe this should not happen. This term is now used instead of hermaphrodite

lesbian: a woman whose primary emotional and sexual attraction is towards other women. Some women prefer to be called gay

monosexism: describes the belief that all people are attracted to only one sex. It is manifest in the pressure bisexuals experience to identify as either heterosexual or homosexual

queer: the term queer has a history of being used as a derogatory name for members of the GLBTI community and those whose sexual orientation is perceived as such. Many people use this word in a positive way to refer to the community; they have reclaimed the term as their own. Not everyone believes this and sensitivity should be used when using or hearing it as there are still many negative connotations with its use

questioning: people who are in the process of questioning their sexual orientation are often in need of support and understanding during this stage of their identity. They are seeking information and guidance in their self-discovery

same-sex attracted youth (SSAY): young people (14-20 yrs) who have emotional and erotic attraction to their same sex

straight: a slang word used to refer to the heterosexual members of the community

sex and gender: it is easy to confuse these two concepts and terms; however, they are different. Sex refers to the biological sex of a person. Gender refers to their societal appearance, mannerisms, and roles

sexual orientation: is a personal characteristic that covers the range of human sexuality from gay and lesbian, to bisexual, transgender and heterosexual orientation

transsexual: an individual who lives, or identifies with the sex opposite the one which they were born. Transsexuals may or may not have surgery and can be any sexual orientation

transgender: an umbrella term used to refer to people who transcend the traditional concept of gender. Many feel as though they are neither a man nor a woman specifically, and many feel as though their biological sex (male, female, etc) and their socialised gender (man, woman, etc) don't match up. Some opt to change/reassign their sex through hormones and/or surgery and some change their outward appearance, or gender expression, through clothing, hairstyles, mannerisms etc

transphobia: fear and/or intolerance of people who are trans gender that can often lead to discriminatory behaviour or abuse.

Adapted from: NSW Teachers Federation Gender, Sexuality and Identity Kit, Vancouver School Board Policy Manual and Victoria University, Come Out ot Play.