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Open Door Network


Sexual Orientation

Innate direction of attraction for intimate emotional and sexual relationships with people of the same gender (homosexual, gay, lesbian), other gender (heterosexual), or two genders (bisexual). Sexual orientation may be the same as or distinct from sexual orientation identity and/or sexual behaviour.


A woman who is attracted, physically and emotionally, to women.


A term that was once associated with either homosexual males or females, but which is becoming more and more specifically associated with male homosexuals.
Bisexual: Someone who is attracted physically and emotionally to people regardless of gender.


A common term for heterosexual.


an individual who is supportive of the GLBTQ community. They believe in the dignity and respect of all people, and are willing to stand up in that role.


(Allosexuel) Originally a derogatory label used to refer to lesbian and gay people or to intimidate or offend heterosexuals. Some lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered people have recently reclaimed this term as an inclusive and positive way to identify all people targeted by heterosexism and homophobia. Some have similarly reclaimed dyke and faggot for positive self-reference.


An Aboriginal term used to describe people who embody both the male and female spirit. Two-Spirit people were highly valued in traditional Aboriginal culture because they brought harmony and balance and could sit in both the male and female camps. Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Aboriginal people are reclaiming this term.


A relatively new acronym for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, intersex, and queer. Can also included TS for two-spirited and an asterisk to cover those who are not but resist being placed under another label.

Sexual Behaviour

For some, sexual orientation may not be as relevant as actual sexual behaviour. For example, a man who is married to a woman but who has sex with men may refer to himself as a heterosexual; a self-identified lesbian may also have sexual relations with men.


The belief in the inherent superiority of heterosexuality over other patterns of loving and thereby its right to dominance. This privileges heterosexuals, oppresses homosexuals, and denigrates alternate sexuality and genders.


The fear of feelings of love for members of one’s own sex and therefore the hatred of those feelings in others (Lorde, Audre: Sister Outsider, Essays and Speeches, 1984). Homophobia is the ultimate weapon in reinforcing rigid sex-role conformity; sex-role conformity oppresses all females and limits male options. The negative feelings, attitudes and actions that some people have towards sexual minorities are often exhibited by prejudice, discrimination, harassment, and acts of violence.

Coming Out

A process of coming to terms with and defining one’s homosexual or bisexual orientation. This process generally occurs on three levels: personal (with oneself), private (family and friends), and public (at work or in the community at large).


The public exposure of someone’s homosexuality or bisexuality without their knowledge or permission.

Gender-related definitions


Umbrella term for transgender and transsexual people.


Those who recognize that their gender identity conflicts in a fundamental way with the biological sex into which they were born. No gender ambiguity. A person who has taken measures (e.g., surgery or hormone therapy), or intends to move from the gender assigned them at birth. FTM (F2M) Female-to-male transsexual person. MTF (M2F) Male-to-female transsexual person


People who naturally (without medical interventions) develop primary and secondary sex characteristics that do not fit neatly into society’s definitions of male or female. Many parents of intersex babies/children are put under extreme pressure to consent to surgery and hormonal treatment to change the genitals to fit societal binary expectations.


A term used to refer to people who transcend the traditional concept of gender. Many feel as though they are neither a man nor a woman specifically and many feel as though their biological sex (male, female) and their socialized gender (man, woman) don’t match up.. This identification challenges traditional notions of sexuality and gender. Transgendered people may be heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual.


A person who refuses to be defined by conventional definitions of male and female.

Natal Sex

The biological sex at birth. Society assumes a bipolar outlook on sex, including male and female only, while evidence suggests there may be many others.

Gender Identity

One’s identity as male or female, which may or may not correspond to the sex at birth.


Dressing in clothes commonly worn by the other gender for entertainment or to make a political statement against the rigid gender roles demanded by our society.


Someone who enjoys dressing in clothing commonly worn by the other gender, for the purpose of emotional or sexual gratification.

Definitions taken from http://www.helpingout.ca/students/aboutsexuality.html. Permission for reproduction of these definitions was given by Rainbow Resource Centre, Manitoba, AB.