Kutztown University Allies

Common Symbols & Definitions

Asexual:  A person who does not have sexual attraction to anyone. This is distinct from abstinence or celibacy, which are behavioral, rather than a sexual orientation.

Bisexual:  A person emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to males/men and females/women. This attraction does not need to be equally split between genders and there may be a preference for one gender over others.

Image:  Bisexual Triangles Bisexual (Overlapping) Triangles:  Blue and pink overlapping triangles represent bisexuality, similarly to how pink and black triangles represent gay men and lesbians.
Cisgender:  A cisgender person is one whose gender identity matches their physical sex.

Closeted:  A lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person who cannot or will not disclose their sex, sexuality, gender identity, or status as an intersex person with other people.

Coming Out:  The process of accepting your own sexuality, gender identity, or status as an intersex person; and/or the process of sharing your own personal identity with other people.

Image:  Double Female Double Female Symbol:  "Mirror of Venus" - represents planet Venus, metal, copper, and femininity.  The two interlocking female symbols represent woman loving woman.
Image:  Double Male Double Male Symbol:  "Greek God of War" - represents planet Mars.  The two interlocking male symbols represent man loving man.
FTM / F2M:  Abbreviation for female-to-male transgender or transsexual person.

Gay:  A term used in some cultural settings to represent males who are attracted to males in a romantic, erotic, and/or emotional sense. Not all people who engage in "homosexual behavior" identify as gay, and as such this label should be used with caution. It is also used to refer to the GLBTQ community as a whole, or as an individual identity label for anyone who does not identify as heterosexual.
Gender:  Social categories (consisting of roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes, among other things) that a society classes people into, usually based on sex. ("Between the Ears" rather than "Between the Legs").
Genderqueer:  Someone who identifies outside the gender binary, and/or believes that the gender binary is a social construct and does not truly exist.
Image:  Green Circle Green Circle:  The green circle signifies a safe zone or environment for the GLBTQ community.  It often contains other symbols, such as the pink inverted triangle.
Heterosexism:  Prejudice against individuals and groups who display nonheterosexual behaviors or identities, combined with the majority power to impose such prejudice.  Usually tied to the advantage of the group in power.

Homophobia:  The irrational fear or hatred of homosexuals, homosexuality, or any behavior or belief that does not conform to rigid sex role stereotypes.

Intersex:  A person born with some or all of the physical characteristics of both sexes. An intersex person may or may not have surgery or use hormones. Sexual orientation varies. An intersex person is sometimes referred to as a hermaphrodite.

Kinsey Scale:  A scale developed by Alfred Kinsey to measure someone's sexual orintation. The Kinsey Scale ranges from 0-6 ("0" being exclusively heterosexual and "6" being exclusively homosexual), plus the score of "X" for asexuals.

Lesbian:  Term used to describe female-identified people attracted romantically, erotically, and/or emotionally to other female-identified people.

MTF / M2F:  Abbreviation for male-to-female transgender or transsexual person.

Outing:  Involuntary disclosure of one's sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status.

Passing:  Describes a person's ability to be accepted as their preferred gender/sex or race/ethnic identity, or to be seen as ("pass as") heterosexual.

Image:  Pink Triangle Pink Triangle:  An inverted pink triangle was first used by Nazis during World War II to identify gay men, a black triangle identifying lesbians.  These symbols serve as reminders of the statement, "Never Again!".
[More Information]
Pride Flag Rainbow Pride Flag:  A flag, designed after the colors of the rainbow, which has been used to represent LGBT communities and movements since the 1970s.  It is often used as a symbol of gay pride.
[More Information]
Sex:  Physical/genetic categories into which most organisms are grouped, based partially on their reproductive roles and genetic makeup. ("Between the Legs" rather than "Between the Ears").
Straight:  A term used to describe a person attracted romantically, physically, or emotionally to people of the opposite sex or gender. The term originated from the phrase "to go straight", as in "straight and narrow" (to stop engaging in homosexual behavior).
Transgender:  A transgender person is one whose gender identity does not match their physical sex. [More Information]

Image:  Transgender Flag Transgender Pride Flag:  Used in a similar fashion to the traditional pride flag, this is used to show pride and support for transgendered people.
Image:  Transgender Symbol Transgender Universal Symbol:  A modified biological symbol, combining a male and female symbol, as well as cross topped by an arrowhead, which combines the male and female arms.
Transsexual:  A transgendered person who elects to change their physical sex through genital reconstruction surgery (and/or chest reconstruction surgery). During the transitioning process, one usually takes hormones.

Two-Spirit:  A concept originating mainly from indigenous tribes of North America, indicating the presence of male and female spirits in a single body. Used as a term of respect and pride. Sometimes called berdache. [More Information]

Queer:  An umbrella term to include everyone in the GLBTQ community.  Formerly used as an insult, people now use it to identify themselves, without having to associate with any one label.

Questioning:  A term used to describe people who are questioning their sexual orientation.

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More Information

A page going into detail about the origins and uses for various GLBTQ-related symbols.

Advocates For Youth Definitions
A comprehensive list of GLBTQ-related terms, definitions, and word uses.

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