Do you use LGBT inclusive language? I started keeping a list of LGBT words for Ongig’s clients and decided to put them all in one place in the glossary below. In this list you will find:
- words that start with trans (e.g., trans prefix words and words with trans)
- gender words
- & other terms related to LGBT inclusive language
I welcome your additions! And for a longer list of diversity terms, check out our blog The Diversity & Inclusion Glossary [a List of 200+ Terms].
List of LGBTQ Words
LGBT Words Starting with the Letter A
Ace — Lacking sexual attraction to others. Other families under the ace umbrella are graysexual, aromantic, and demisexual.
AFAB/AMAB — Assigned Female/Male At Birth, refers to intersex people born with ambiguous genitals. Its also used by trans and non-binary people.
Agender — Agender means a person who does not identify themselves as having a particular gender.
Ally — Ally is a term for people who advocate for individuals from underrepresented or marginalized groups in a society.
Allyship — Allyship is the process in which people with privilege and power work to develop empathy towards to advance the interests of an oppressed or marginalized outgroup. Allyship is part of the anti-oppression or anti-racist conversation, which puts into use social justice theories and ideals. The goal of allyship is to create a culture in which the marginalized group feels supported.
Androgyne — Androgyne is a term for a person identifying or expressing gender outside of the gender binary.
Asexual — An “asexual person’ is used to describe people who do not experience sexual attraction.
LGBT Words Starting with B
Biphobia — Biphobia means to have an irrational fear, hatred, or intolerance for people who identify as bisexual.
Birth Assigned Sex — Birth Assigned Sex refers to a person’s biological, hormonal, and genetic composition at the time of their birth.
Bisexual — Bisexual, commonly known as Bi, is a term for individuals who are attracted to people of two genders.
LGBT Words Starting with C
Cisgender (CIS) — Cisgender means a person whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth. The abbreviation for Cisgeneder is CIS.
Cissexual — Cissexual is a term that refers to a person who identifies with the same biological sex that they were assigned at birth.
Coming Out — Coming Out is a phrase used to define the process of making others aware of one’s sexual orientation, and is also known as Coming Out of the Closet.
Cross-Dresser — Cross-Dresser refers to people who wear clothing that is traditionally associated with a different gender than the one they identify with.
LGBT Words Starting with D
Deadnaming — Using someone’s birth name instead of their chosen name, usually trans or non-binary.
Demisexual — A sexual orientation where people experience sexual attraction only to people they are emotionally close to.
Discrimination — What is Discrimination? Discrimination is a term used to describe the unequal treatment of individuals or groups based on race, gender, social class, sexual
orientation, physical ability, religion, national origin, age, physical or mental abilities, and other categories that may result in differences.
Drag Queen/King — A drag queen performs femininity, in a comedy or in a pageant for entertainment. A drag king performs masculinity.
LGBTQ Words Starting with E
Emotional Tax — Emotional Tax refers to the effects of being on guard to protect against bias at work because of gender, race, and/or ethnicity. Emotional Tax has effects on a person’s health, well-being, and the ability to be successful at work.
Enby — Enby is an abbreviation used for a nonbinary person in the LGBTQ community. It’s a phonetic pronunciation of NB, short for nonbinary, or people who do not identify their gender as male or female.
Equality — The term “Equality” (in the context of diversity) is typically defined as treating everyone the same and giving everyone access to the same opportunities. It is sometimes used as an alternative to “inclusion”. The company Salesforce, for example, uses Chief Equality Officer as the job title for the top diversity and inclusion executive.
Equity — The term “equity” (in the context of diversity) refers to proportional representation (by race, class, gender, etc.) in employment opportunities.
Exclusion — Exclusion means leaving someone out based on their differences. These differences can be related to race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, class, or other social groups.
LGBTQ Words Starting with F
Femme — Femme is a gender identity where a person has an awareness of cultural standards of femininity and actively carries out a feminine appearance or role.
Folx — Folx is an umbrella term for people with non-normative sexual orientation or identity.
LGBTQ Words Starting with G
Gay — Gay is an umbrella term used to refer to people who experience a same-sex or same-gender attraction. Gay is also an identity term used to describe a male-identified person who is attracted to other male-identified people in a romantic, sexual, and/or emotional sense.
Gender — Gender is a term used to describe socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that society considers “appropriate” for men and women. It is separate from ‘sex’, which is the biological classification of male or female based on physiological and biological features.
Gender Binary — Gender Binary is a term used to describe the classification system consisting of two genders, male and female.
Gender Dysphoria — Gender Dysphoria is a phrase used to describe a feeling of discomfort that occurs in people whose gender identity differs from their birth assigned sex.
Gender Expression — Gender Expressions means that a person shows external displays of gender (masculine or feminine) based on one or more of the following:
- social behavior
Gender Fluid — What do you call someone who is Gender Fluid? A person who is gender fluid changes their gender over time or may switch between dressing as male or female day-to-day.
Gender Identity — Gender Identity means a person’s perception of their gender. Gender Identity may or may not correspond with their birth assigned sex.
Gender Neutral — Gender Neutral, or Gender Neutrality, means that policies, language, and other social institutions should avoid distinguishing roles based on sex or gender in order to avoid discrimination.
Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) — Gender Non-Conforming sometimes called Gender-Variant is a term used to describe a person who does not conform to society’s expectations of gender expression.
Gender Policing — Gender Policing means the enforcement of normative gender expressions on a person who is perceived as not participating in behavior that aligns with their assigned gender at birth.
Gender Queer — Gender Queer, or Genderqueer, is a catch-all term for people who have non-binary gender identities. What do you call a non-binary person? Calling them by their preferred pronouns is preferred.
Gender Role — A Gender Role is a socially assigned expectation or cultural norm related to behavior, mannerisms, dress, etc. based on gender.
Gender Spectrum — Gender Spectrum refers to the idea that there are many different genders, besides male and female.
Greygender — A person with strong ambivalence about their gender identity and expression.
LGBTQ Words Starting with H
Heteroflexible — A person who identifies as straight but may have occasional homosexual activity. This is not bisexuality because a straight person doesn’t experience same-sex attraction.
Heteronormativity — Heteromnormativity is the assumption that heterosexuality is natural, ideal, or superior to other sexual preferences. Examples of Heteronormativity include:
- the lack of same-sex couples in media or advertising
- laws against same-sex marriage
Heterosexism — Heterosexism is a term used to describe the belief that heterosexuality is superior or “normal” compared to other forms of sexuality or sexual orientation.
Homophobia — Homophobia means to have an irrational fear or intolerance of people who are homosexual or having feelings of homosexuality.
LGBTQ Words Starting with I
Inclusive Language — Inclusive Language refers to the use of gender non-specific language to avoid assumptions around sexual orientation and gender identity.
Intersectionality — Intersectionality means to intertwine social identities like gender, race, ethnicity, social class, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity which causes unique opportunities, barriers, experiences, or social inequality.
Intersex — Intersex means to be born with a combination of male and female biological traits.
LGBTQ Starting with L
Lesbian — Lesbian is a term that refers to a female-identified person who is attracted emotionally, physically, or sexually to other female-identified people.
Lesbophobia — Lesbophobia is an irrational fear or hatred of, and discrimination against lesbians or lesbian behavior.
LGBT — Abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (often used to encompass sexual preference and gender identities that do not correspond to heterosexual norms).
LGBT is an acronym with multiple variations such as:
- LGBTQ — Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (or questioning).
- LGBTQIA — Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or questioning), intersex, and asexual (or allies).
- LGBTA — Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and asexual/aromantic/
- LGBTIQQ — Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, and Questioning.
- LGBTQ2+ — Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or sometimes questioning), and two-spirited. The “+” signifies a number of other identities and is used to keep the abbreviation brief when written out. Some write out the full abbreviation which is LGBTTTQQIAA.
LGBTQ Words Starting with M
Misgender — To refer to someone using a word (especially a pronoun or form of address) that does not correctly reflect the gender with which they identify.
MTF — MTF is an acronym for the Male-to-Female Spectrum. MTF is used to describe people who are assigned the male gender at birth but identifies or express their gender as a female all or part of the time.
LGBTQ Words Starting with N
Non-Binary — What do you call a gender-neutral person? The preferred term is Non-Binary. What does it mean to be non-binary? Non-Binary is a term used to describe people who identify with a gender that is not exclusively male or female or is in between both genders.
LGBTQ Words Starting with O
Oppositional Sexism — Oppositional Sexism is the belief that femininity and masculinity are rigid and exclusive categories.
LGBTQ Words Starting with P
Pansexual — Pansexual is a term used to describe a person who has an attraction to a person regardless of where they fall on the gender or sexuality spectrum.
Passing — When a transgender person is perceived as the gender they identify as and not as a trans person.
Polyamory — The consensual practice of intimate relationships with multiple partners. All parties may be involved with each other or only with a specific person.
Polygender — a person with several gender identities.
Pronouns — Pronouns (in the context of diversity) are consciously chosen phrases that people use to represent their gender identity. There are certain pronouns to avoid like “he” or “she”, especially during the hiring process or in the workplace.
LGBTQ Words Starting with Q
QPOC — What is QPOC? QPOC is an acronym for Queer People of Color used in the UK and Canada. Another similar acronym is QTIPOC which stands for Queer, Transgender, and Intersex People of Color.
Queer — What does it mean to be queer? The term Queer is an umbrella term that allows non-heterosexual people to identify their sexual orientation without stating who they are attracted to. The term Queer includes gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people.
Questioning — A person who might be unsure of their sexuality or gender and is exploring preferred labels. If a person goes between labels, comes out and then changes their mind, or experiments safely, this is natural and should be supported.
LGBTQ Words Starting with R
Reclaimed Language — Reclaimed Language is language that has traditionally been used to degrade certain groups, but members of the community have reclaimed and used as their own. For example, “queer” or “queen”.
LGBTQ Words Starting with S
Safe Space — Safe Space means a place people can be comfortable expressing themselves without fear as it relates to their cultural background, biological sex, religion, race, gender identity or expression, age, physical or mental ability.
Sex — Sex, as it relates to diversity, means the biological classification of male or female based on the physical and biological features of a person. A person’s sex may vary from their gender identity.
Sexual Orientation — Sexual Orientation refers to the sex(es) or gender(es) a person is connected to emotionally, physically, sexually, or romantically. Examples of sexual orientation include:
“Sexual orientation” is considered more politically correct than “sexual preference” since “preference” implies a conscious choice.
Straight — Straight refers to a person who is attracted to a person of a different gender to their own.
LGBTQ Words Starting with T
TERFs — “trans-exclusionary radical feminists”, TERFs constitute “a minority of a minority of feminists,” says Grace Lavery, a UC Berkeley literature professor and writer.
Third Gender — Third Gender refers to a category of people who do not identify as male or female, but rather as neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.
Trans*/Trans+ — An umbrella term for a person whose gender identity is not the same as their assigned sex. Avoid the outdated phrases: transvestite and transsexual.
Transfeminine — Transfeminine describes a person who identifies as “trans” but identifies their gender expression as feminine.
Transgender — What do you call a man that becomes a woman? Or a woman that becomes a man? Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender expression or identity is different from their assigned sex at birth.
Transmasculine — Transmasculine means a person who identifies as “trans” but identifies their gender expression as masculine.
Transition/Transitioning — Transition, in terms of diversity, is a process that people go through to change their physical appearance or gender expression through surgery or using hormones to align with their gender identity.
Transphobia — Transphobia means fear, hatred, or discrimination towards people who identify as Transgender.
Transvestite — A person who dresses as the binary opposite gender expression. What is the politically correct term for a transvestite? The more politically correct term is “Cross-dresser”.
Two-Spirit — Two-Spirit is a phrase that refers to a person who is Native American that embodies both masculine and feminine genders.
LGBTQ Words Starting with W
Wimmin — Wimmin is a nonstandard spelling of the word “women” used by feminists in an effort to avoid the word ending “-men”.
(WLW) Women-Loving-Women: An umbrella term for lesbians, bisexual and pansexual women.
Womxn — Womxn is a term used to replace the word women in an attempt to get away from patriarchal language. Womxn is also meant to be inclusive of trans women, and some non-binary people.
Womyn — Womyn is a nonstandard spelling of the word “women” used by feminists in an effort to avoid the word ending “-men”.
LGBTQ Words Starting with Z
Zi/Hir — Zi/Hir are gender-inclusive pronouns used to avoid relying on gender binary-based language or making assumptions about people’s gender.
LGBT Inclusive Language in Job Descriptions
Ongig’s Text Analyzer helps you remove LGBT bias from your job descriptions by highlighting “exclusionary words” and offering more inclusive replacements. Here are a few examples.
This screenshot shows “she or he” in a job description with a pop-up explaining why it is exclusionary. Replacing “he or she” with “they” or “you” is more inclusive to the LGBTQ community.
The next screenshot shows “sexual preference” in a company EEO statement. Replacing that phrase with “sexual orientation” uses more LGBT inclusive language.
And this one shows “guys/gals” as an exclusionary term, and offers more LGBT inclusive language replacements, “folks” and “people”.
Why I wrote this
Our mission here at Ongig is to transform your job descriptions to attract top-tier and diverse talent. Our Text Analyzer software analyzes every word of your job descriptions to ensure they are inclusive to everyone. Knowledge of inclusive LGBT words is an important piece of attracting diverse talent.
- Here’s an A-Z of all the LGBTQ+ words and phrases you need to know (by Elizabeth Train-Brown)
- Mark Peters of the Boston Globe for Womyn, wimmin, and other folx
- Alex Regan’s blog on Should women be spelt womxn?
- Queer Glossary (by Bowling Green State University)
- Hive Learning’s A-Z D&I Glossary
- What Does It Mean to Be Non-Binary or Have Non-Binary Gender? (by Elizabeth Boskey Ph.D.)
- 12 Diversity & Inclusion Terms You Need to Know (by Catalyst)
- The University of Washington’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Glossary of Terms
- Diversity and Inclusivity Glossary of Terms (by Scripps College)
- An Incomplete Guide to Inclusive Language for Startups and Tech (by Courtney Seiter)