Straight Allies

A Straight Ally is any non-LGBT person that supports LGBT rights. Effective straight allies speak up when they hear homophobic or transphobic remarks, identify and oppose anti-LGBT legislation and systems, and work to educate themselves and others about LGBT issues.

A good place to start to become an ally is to read some of the terms and definitions linked below. Parents and family are encouraged to contact their local PFLAG chapter.

PFLAG (Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians And Gays) advances equality and societal acceptance of LGBT people with members made up of parents, families, friends, and straight allies united with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.

Terms and Definitions

Biological Terms

Sex - refers to a person's biological status and is typically categorized as male, female, or intersex. This is different from gender, which is a social construct that ascribes qualities of masculinity and femininity to people.

Intersex - an individual born with ambiguous genitalia and/or X/Y chromosomes that are not exclusively male or female as defined by the medical establishment in our society.

Medical Transition - a part of the transition in which a transgender person undergoes medical treatments so that their sex characteristics better match their gender identity.

FtM - a child or adult who was born anatomically female but has a male gender identity. This individual may or may not have undergone a transition of some sort.

MtF - a child or adult who was born anatomically male but has a female gender identity. This individual may or may not have undergone a transition of some sort.

Gender Terms

Gender Identity - the sense of being male, female, gender non-conforming, or transgender.

Gender Expression - refers to all of the external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined as either masculine, feminine, or gender non-conforming.

Cisgender - an individual who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth.

Trans*gender/Nonbinary Umbrella Terms

Transgender - an individual who does not identify with the gender that they were assigned at birth. It is also important to note that social and medical transition varies from person to person and someone may choose to do one, both, or neither, and to varying degrees.

Nonbinary - a term for gender identities that do not conform to specific masculine and feminine identities. This term usually serves as an umbrella term for those who identify as one or more of the following:

Agender - an individual who does not identify with any gender.

Bigender - an individual who identifies as two genders simultaneously.

Third gender - a social category in societies that recognize more than two genders i.e. 
Two-Spirits in Native American culture, hijras in the Indian subcontinent, and fa'afafine in Samoa.

Genderfluid - an individual whose gender identity changes throughout their lifetime.

Trigender - an individual who identifies with three separate genders.

Genderqueer - non-identification with the gender binary, as opposed to specifically identifying outside of the gender binary.

* - the asterisk is sometimes used to indicate the use of the word transgender as an umbrella term to include people of all nonbinary or gender non-conforming identities.

Sexuality Terms

Sexual Orientation - The way an individual feels sexual attraction towards the same or other genders.

Heterosexual - an individual who is sexually attracted to those of the opposite gender i.e. male-identifying individuals who are attracted to female-identifying individuals and vice-versa.

Gay - a male who is sexually attracted to other males. this term sometimes serves as an umbrella term for sexual minorities

Lesbian - a female who is sexually attracted to other females.

Bisexual - an individual who is sexually attracted to individuals of both their own gender and other genders.

Pansexual - an individual who is sexually attracted to another person regardless of gender identity.

Polysexual - an individual who is sexually attracted to people of multiple genders.

Asexual - an individual who does not experience sexual attraction.

Grey-Asexual - an individual who rarely experiences sexual attraction but does not fully fall into the categories of asexual or demisexual.

Demisexual - an individual who does not experience sexual attraction until a strong romantic attraction occurs. Not to be confused with those who only have sexual relations in a committed relationship.

Romantic Orientation Terms

Romantic Orientation - refers to an individual's pattern of romantic attraction to another person. This is considered to be distinct from sexual orientation, which refers to an individual's sexual attraction.

Heteroromantic - an individual who is romantically attracted to those of the opposite gender.

Homoromantic - an individual who is romantically attracted to those of the same gender.

Biromantic - an individual who is romantically attracted to those of the same gender and other genders.

Panromantic - an individual who is romantically attracted to people regardless of gender identity.

Aromantic - an individual who does not experience romantic attraction.

Grey-Aromantic - an individual who rarely experiences romantic attraction.

Other Important Terms

Questioning - the process of exploring and discovering one's sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or romantic orientation.

Ally - an individual who supports and advocates for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

LGBTQ+ - an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and other identities that make up the LGBTQ+ community.

GSM - an acronym for Gender and Sexual Minorities.

MOGAI - an acronym for Marginalized Orientations, Gender Identities, and Intersex.

Revised 11/1/2018

Below is a downloadable pdf of terms and definitions

Terms and Definitions PDF