Before we start exploring the issues at hand, it is important that we understand the important terms that will be found in this blog.
LGBTQ: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/transsexual, Queer/Questioning. LGBTQ is an acronym used as an umbrella term for a variety of different sexual orientations and gender identities. Also sometimes referred to as alphabet soup because every time you turn around there’s another letter thrown in there.
Gay: Men who are attracted to other men. Also used as an umbrella term for other LGBTQ individuals.
Lesbian: Women who are attracted to other women.
Bisexual (Bi): Individuals who are attracted to two sexes or genders to a varying degree.
Transgender: Transgender is a tricky one since it is used in a variety of ways these days. Most commonly Transgender is used as an umbrella term for people whose gender identity, expression or behaviour is different from those associated with their birth sex. This may include transsexual individuals, cross dressers, gender queers, and a variety of other gender non-conforming individuals. Transgender may also refer specifically to people whose gender identity and expression do not match their birth sex but have no desire to seek physical alterations.
Transsexual: While the terms transgender and transsexual are very similar, Transsexual most commonly refers to individuals who identify with a gender that is different from the sex they were assigned at birth but transsexual individuals (unlike transgender individuals) commonly feel a desire to physically alter their bodies to match their gender identity (such as through hormone treatments and surgery)
MTF: Male-to-female. MTF refers to individuals who were assigned a male sex at birth but expresses a female gender identity either through clothing, surgery, hormones, or behaviour.
FTM: Female-to-male. FTM refers to individuals who were assigned a female sex at birth but express a male gender identity either through clothing, surgery, hormones, or behaviour.
Cisgender: This term refers to those who are not transgender or transsexual. Cisgendered individuals have a gender identity and expression that match the sex that they were assigned at birth.
Queer: An umbrella term referring to people who lesbian, gay, bisexual and, often also transgender people. May also be used as a sexual orientation since queer is often understood to include a larger variety of genders than more traditional terms (acknowledges the presence of more than just male/female gender identities). This word is tricky since it has negative connotations to some individuals while other individuals use it as reclaimed vocabulary.
*terms are adapted from Revel and Riot, International Spectrum (through the University of Michigan) and the UCLA Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Campus Resource Center