A note from the LGBTQ+ Commissioners: We have done our best to represent the most common uses of the terms listed; however, this is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all terminology used by the Hawai‘i LGBTQ+ community. Because both language and the community are constantly developing, changing, and adapting to new situations, new terms are continually introduced, and existing terms change in meaning. If you do not understand the context in which a person is using one of these terms, it is always appropriate to ask. This is especially recommended when using terms that we have noted that can have a derogatory connotation. The Commission strives to update this reference regularly.
Contact your campus Commissioner for Safe Zone Trainings to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community and how you can become a Safe Zone Advocate in the UH system.
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Someone who uses their privilege to aid a marginalized group
A component of an individual's identity that reflects their sexual self-concept.
DEFINITIONS: GENDER AND SEX
Assigned/designated female at birth, reinforcing the fact that the assigned gender was not a choice made by the individual
A term used to describe a person who does not identify with any particular gender.
Assigned/designated male at birth, reinforcing the fact that the assigned gender was not a choice made by the individual
A term used to describe a person whose gender identity and/or expression combines masculine and feminine characteristics
The anatomy that you are born with, i.e. male, female, intersex, which includes internal and external sex organs as well as chromosomes (preferring “Sex assigned at birth.”)
A term to describe a person who identifies with the gender that they were assigned at birth
A term that describes a belief system in which transgender people are in some way abnormal or inferior to cisgender people
Female to Male/Male to Female, used to describe a trans person’s life experience
The social meanings, obligations, and expectations ascribed (by one’s self or society) to sexed bodies
The belief or attitude that one gender is of more importance, merit, or power than other genders. Unequal treatment in employment opportunities (such as promotion, pay, benefits and privileges) and expectations due to attitudes based on the gender of an employee or group of employees.
A method of classification that restricts gender to only two categories, man and woman
The surgical procedure(s) by which a transgender person's physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are altered to resemble that of their identified gender.
Social dysphoria describes a discomfort in social situations where one’s identity is violated, i.e. through misgendering. Physical dysphoria describes a discomfort with physical differences between one’s identity and one's body, i.e. identifying as male but having breasts.
A term used to describe how a person embodies and/or presents their gender.
A term for a sense of self in which the gender one identifies with changes. At any given time, one can self-identify as being anywhere along the gender spectrum. Also known as two-spirit among some indigenous cultures.
A term used to describe the gender that an individual identifies with, which may or may not align with their sex assigned at birth.
Behavior or gender expression that does not match the gender norms of the gender that they are perceived to be by society
Set of socially defined roles and behaviors assigned to women or men. Can vary from culture to culture. Often described in terms of masculinity or femininity.
The process by which people categorize other people’s gender, based on perceived morphology, without regard to how the other person self-identifies.
A person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions and identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders
A form of hormone replacement therapy in which sex hormones are administered for the purpose of synchronizing a person's secondary sexual characteristics with their gender identity
A general term used for a person who is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't fit the typical definitions of female or male. Often “assigned” a male or female gender at birth that may not correspond with identities.
LGBTQ+ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, and others. It refers to a population of people united by having gender identities or sexual orientations that differ from the heterosexual and cisgender majority.
The Native Hawaiian term for third gender persons, a “place in the middle” between male and female, associated with specific traditional roles in Hawaiian society
A non-binary classification of people as male, female, or intersex. Infants are assigned a sex based on a combination of bodily characteristics, chromosomes, and hormones
An umbrella term for people whose gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth
The process by which a transgender and/or gender non-conforming person begins to embody a gender identity different from the gender assigned at birth, changing their bodily appearance either to be more congruent with the gender/sex they feel themselves to be and/or to be in harmony with their preferred gender expression.
Intense dislike of or prejudice against transgender people
Offensive term for people who do not identify with their birth-assigned sexes and sometimes alter their bodies surgically and/or hormonally.
A term used to describe a person who does not experience sexual attraction or does not have interest in sex but may still have romantic interests.
A term used to describe the fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of bisexuals
A person emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to more than one sex, gender or gender identity.
A person who does not experience emotional, romantic attraction unless they have already formed a strong emotional bond with the other person.
A person who does not experience physical, sexual attraction unless they have already formed a strong emotional bond with the other person.
Traditionally considered to be men who have emotional, physical, romantic, and/or sexual attraction and relationships exclusively with men, can also be used as an umbrella term for all members of the LGBTQ+ community.
A concept that describes actions, institutions, ideologies, and systems that assume heterosexuality is the only normal sexual orientation and consider any other sexual orientation a deviation from what is acceptable. An overt or tacit bias embodying this concept is heterosexism.
In a Gender Binary perspective (male/female), a term used to describe people who are emotionally, physically, romantically, and/or sexually attracted to people of another gender exclusively. The term "straight" is also used.
The fear and hatred of, or the discomfort around, those who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community
A term used to describe people who are emotionally, physically, romantically, and/or sexually attracted to people of their own gender exclusively.
Women who have emotional, physical, romantic, and/or sexual attraction and relationships exclusively with women
A term used to describe those who experience attraction towards all genders
A person’s emotional, physical, romantic and/or sexual attraction to another person
Derogatory phrase referring to one’s sexual orientation and which implies a conscious choice in a person’s fundamental attraction. More currently, this term can be used to refer to the types of sexual intercourse, stimulation, and gratification one likes to receive and participate in.