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BEDI Resources

Definitions & Key Terms

LGBTQIA+: This “alphabet soup” allows younger people to self-identify their sexual orientation, gender performance, and body. It stands for the original lesbiangaybisexualtransgender, and queer (LGBTQ). At this point, older people might stop, but young, college-age people continue with intersex and allies (LGBTQIA), and with a second Q for questioning and A for asexual (LGBTQQIAA). Historical Dictionary of the Lesbian and Gay Liberation Movements

Lesbian: The term lesbian refers to women who are sexually and emotionally attracted to other women. These women are usually born biologically female and identify as homosexual, meaning that they are either solely or primarily attracted to other women. Although a woman may participate in lesbian behavior, she is not considered a lesbian unless she self-identifies as a lesbian. Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice

Gay: This term refers to both males and females and was used by early same-sex sexual preference dissidents, first as a coded reference (gay means “pleasurable”), and later to distinguish between the Homophile Movement and the more medicalized homosexual. Gay did not catch on until after Stonewall and, thus, could be used in coded references like those used by Lisa Ben in her publication Vice Versa, “America's gayest magazine,” and using “gay gals.” Many women, however, feel the term erases females, and they prefer to call themselves “lesbians.” An equal number of women prefer “gay” since lesbian is a loaded term that has been used to silence women in the late 20th century patriarchy. Gay politically connects both male and female homosexuals and has been used as the generic term to refer to things associated with the homosexual subculture (i.e., gay books, gay media, and gay music). Historical Dictionary of the Lesbian and Gay Liberation Movements

Bisexual: Bisexuality has been defined in many ways. Although a common assumption is that bisexuality denotes sexual or romantic interest in only two sexes (i.e., male and female), this is often not the case for individuals who identify as bisexual. Instead, a more inclusive definition of bisexuality is often more appropriate—namely, that bisexuality is the possibility for sexual and/or romantic attraction or desire for more than one sex or gender (Ebin, 2012). Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice

Transgender: Transgender implies someone whose gender identity does not align with the sex they were assigned at birth (e.g., a transgender man was assigned “female” at birth, but identifies as a man, whereas a transgender woman was assigned “male” at birth, but identifies as a woman) and encompasses a broad spectrum of gender identities that are considered non-normative. Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice

Queer: Queer can be an identity, theory, or practice. In the most general sense, queer can be thought of as heteronormativity's antithesis, a defiantly non-normative notion of human social relations that rejects sex and gender binaries, obfuscates essentialist identities, and celebrates the unwieldy and remarkable ways in which sex means much more than reproduction. Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice

Intersex: Intersex is an umbrella term that began to be widely utilized by Western medical and sexological practitioners in the mid-twentieth century. It is used to group together a variety of conditions resulting in anatomical, chromosomal, and hormonal deviations from what are considered male-typical and female-typical morphologies. Some of these deviations are apparent at birth, while others develop during puberty. Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History

Asexual:  Commonly understood as not being sexually attracted to anyone, the very modes of defining asexuality are nuanced and contested. Asexuality, like any other sexual orientation, is widely varied in terms of experiences, intersecting identities, and expressions. It is thus no surprise that it has yielded various definitions tied to the stakes of the actors involved. Asexual activists and community members, as history makers of the asexuality movement, have provided online and offline languages, vocabularies, and symbologies around asexuality, arguing for inclusion in LGBTQ2+ spaces, bringing asexuality into visibility in unprecedented ways. Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) HistoryCartoon “Asexuality Comes in a Lot of Flavors” illustrated spectrum of identities that fall under the umbrella term asexuality


Cartoon “Asexuality Comes in a Lot of Flavors”. As illustrated by this cartoon, there is a spectrum of identities that fall under the umbrella term asexuality, challenging the idea that there is only one way to be asexual and that a single definition of asexuality can function to explain people's unique engagements with asexuality across social contexts. 

Pansexual: Pansexual refers to a person who is sexually, emotionally, romantically, or spiritually attracted to others, regardless of biological sex, gender expression (of masculine or feminine characteristics), or sexual orientation. Pansexuality may be distinguished from bisexuality in that it specifically rejects the “either/or” notion that people have to choose between male and female, or what is known as the gender binary, a spectrum of gender on which males are on one end and females on the opposite end. Pansexuality moves beyond the concept of “only two” genders and recognizes that there is flexibility and fluidity with respect to gender identity and expression; a person can fall anywhere on the gender spectrum at any time.  The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality

Nonbinary: Nonbinary genders is a shorthand phrase to reference genders outside of the binary paradigm of man/male and woman/female. Nonbinary is a fairly contemporary umbrella term (with a white Western emphasis) that contains many diverse identities and embodiments. For example, some nonbinary identities are fluid or shift over time, while others are static; some nonbinary experiences are muted, some vivid. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies

Cisgender: Cisgender, or cis, is a term used to describe people who are non-transgender. That is, cis people are people whose gender identity and gendered sense of self is congruent with the sex/gender assigned to them at birth. This definition, however, has been critiqued by some who feel it imposes and/or maintains a rigid understanding of sex and gender. Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History

Homophobia: Homophobia is defined as the irrational fear and hatred of gay men and lesbians. It combines the words homosexual and phobia, hence the definition related to panic or fear of people who are sexually attracted to a person of the same sex. Many people contend that the word heterosexism is a more accurate concept because fear or panic is not the problem as much as the power and privileging of heterosexual people over gay men, lesbians, and bisexual people. Heterosexism assumes that all people are and should be heterosexual and asserts that heterosexuality is normal, natural, and right. Encyclopedia of Gender and Society

Transphobia: Transphobia is defined as an intense antipathy toward people who do not conform to normative gender roles or, more commonly, a fear and disgust of trans people. It is a system of beliefs, values, and psychological motivations for anti-trans discriminatory behavior and attitudes. Confusingly, it is not really a phobia (not an irrational fear); rather, it is a portmanteau word derived from homophobia. Transphobia is often understood to be a part of homophobia, and they often co-occur, but the former applies to anti-trans prejudice (more commonly, transprejudice), and the latter refers to anti- LGBQ discrimination. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies

LGBTQIA+ Resources

LGBTQ+ Resources

For an Interactive NSU campus map with the location of gender-neutral bathrooms:

For More Info about NSU Gender Inclusive Housing and Roommate Matching Options: Contact

NSU Student Counseling and Medical Care Options

LGBTQ+ Scholarships and Awards

NSU Student Organizations

Local Organizations

National Organizations

LGBTQIA+ Activism & Allyship