'That means what?!' LGBTQ+ terms explained

Here is the low-down on what some of those LGBTQ+ terms mean that you've been scratching your head over.

Pride spelled out in rainbow balloons, queer slang explained

You are new to the LGBTQ+ community, or maybe you’re a new ally to the community, or maybe you’re an old member or a longtime ally and you’ve always wondered what that word meant. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a handful of LGBTQ+ terms you might encounter explained.

For further reading on this topic, check out Shout Out who do great work in this area.


In the early 20th century, this term referred to a little boy, but throughout the decades it has evolved to describe a masculine woman.


This term applies to people who identify with the gender that corresponds with the sex they were assigned at birth.


This refers to someone who was assigned female at birth.


This refers to someone who was assigned male at birth.


Both a noun and an adjective, it always means about being feminine, but throughout the decades has had multiple definitions. From meaning young woman to a man with more feminine mannerisms.

shadow of person behind pride flag adoption


Approximately 1 in 2,000 people are born intersex. These individuals may have mixed genitalia, meaning some combination of ovaries and testes. This comes about either because ovarian and testicular tissue grows together in the same organ or because a “male side” and a “female side” develop in the body.


In today’s society, it’s a term that is tightly focused on young men who are usually less hairy and slender. However a hundred years ago in England (where the word originated), you would hear the word twank, that would refer to sugar daddies.


Bear describes a hairy, heavy-set gay or bisexual man. A bear typically projects an image of rugged masculinity. Some bears present a very masculine, over-the-top image of a ruggedly masculine man.


Non-binary or genderqueer is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine‍—‌identities that are outside the gender binary. Non-binary identities can fall under the transgender umbrella since many non-binary people identify with a gender that is different from the sex they were assigned at birth.


A versatile and controversial term, for many years it was associated with synonyms like bad, crooked, and suspicious. It was only in 1969 with the Stonewall Riots that the LGBTQ+ community called themselves queer as an act of defiance.


Here was just a handful of LGBTQ+ terms explained. I hope we’ve cleared things up, and have prepped you with new language for your vocabulary.

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