Queer Resource Center

Some Helpful Definitions

Sex
The property or quality by which organisms are classified on the basis of their reproductive organs and function.
Gender
The set of characteristics, roles, and behavior patterns which are constructed socially and culturally, not biologically.
Homosexual
A person who is emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex.
Lesbian
An accepted name for female homosexuals.
Gay
This term refers to both homosexual men and women, however, many homosexual women identify as lesbian.
Bisexual
A person who is emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to both men and women.
Transgender
This word is used as an umbrella term to include transsexuals, transvestites, cross-dressers or anyone who behaves outside of "traditional" gender norms.
Queer
The word "queer" used to be (and sometimes still is) used as a derogatory term for LGBTQ people. However, it has been reclaimed by many people in the LGBTQ community. It is often used as an umbrella term for LGBTQ people, but is also used as an individual identity by some who do not feel they fit into other categories of sexual orientation. Queer is a word that blurs both gender and sexual orientation.
Ally
A person who is a member of the "dominant" or "majority" group who works to end oppression in his or her personal and professional life through support of and advocacy for the oppressed population; a friend to the community.
Coming Out
An ongoing acknowledgement of one's sexual orientation, either to oneself or to others; often a public declaration of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer.

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