National Coming Out Day Term Sheet

A quick cheat sheet of terms you may hear in the buildup to National Coming Out Day:

  • Lesbian (L): Describes women who are primarily attracted to women
  • Gay (G): Describes men who are primarily attracted to men, although can also be used as a general term for homosexuals of any gender
  • Bisexual (B): People of either gender who are generally attracted to both men and women
  • Transgender (T): People whose gender identity or gender expression does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth
  • Queer (may be abbreviated as “Q”): Has a variety of definitions in the context of LGBT. Sometimes used as an umbrella term to describe non-heterosexual, non-heteronormative and/or non-gender-binary sexual orientations and gender identities.
  • Questioning (may also be abbreviated as “Q”): Unsure of sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Straight: A person of one gender who is primarily attracted to people of the opposite gender; heterosexual
  • Ally: A straight person who supports equal rights for the LGBT community
  • “Come out of the Closet” or “Come Out”: To disclose one’s LGBT identity to others
  • Sexual orientation: Describes to whom one is sexually attracted (e.g., heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual)
  • Gender identity: Describes how one self-identifies his or her gender; may not match the biological gender one was given at birth