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Heterosexual (Straight): a man exclusively attracted to women or a woman exclusively attracted to men. This is usually considered the societally normative orientation. This identity is not part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Gay: a man exclusively attracted to other men. Alternately, this term is often used as an umbrella term for all of the LGBTQ+ community and other members of the LGBTQ+ community use this term to describe their own identity (gay women, for example).
Lesbian: a woman exclusively attracted to women.
Bisexual (Bi): a person who is attracted to people of two or more genders.
Pansexual (Pan): a person who is attracted to people of all genders.
Asexual: a person who does not experience sexual attraction to other people, or who experiences only limited sexual attraction. This term represents a spectrum of identities with varying degrees of sexual attraction.
Aromantic: a person who does not experience romantic attraction to other people, or who experiences only limited romantic attraction. This term represents a spectrum of identities with varying degrees of romantic attraction.
Gender Identity and Expression
Biological sex: different from gender identity, biological sex is determined by chromosomes, hormones and external and internal genitalia. However, like gender identity, a person's biological sex can fall into any one of a large number of categories. The Canadian Institute of Health Research provides a slightly more comprehensive definition of sex and gender.
Gender identity: a person's internal sense of being a man, woman, neither, both, or so on. An inner sense of being and how one relates to the gender binary.
Gender expression: the ways in which a person manifests masculinity, femininity, both, or neither through dress, behavior, appearance, speech patterns, preferences, and so on.
Transgender: an umbrella term for a person whose gender does not match the gender they were assigned at birth.
Cisgender: a person whose gender matches the gender they were assigned at birth. This identity is not part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Nonbinary: an umbrella term for a person whose gender is neither entirely male nor entirely female.
For more definitions of gender identities, please see the resources listed above.
Lifelines and Crisis Numbers
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8253). Veterans press 1.
Text TALK to 741741. Text with a trained counselor from the crisis text line for free 24/7.
The Trevor Project, Trevor lifeline available 24/7. 1-866-488-7386.
Trans Lifeline. Support for transgender people by transgender people. 1-877-565-8860.
SAGE LGBT Elder Care Hotline. Peer support and local resources for older adults. 1-888-843-LGBT (5428).
The LGBT National Hotline. Peer support and local resources for all ages. 1-888-843-4564.