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Words to Use with Sexual Orientation

  • Transgendered is an umbrella term, relating to how some individuals express their gender identity. For some it might mean changing their gender identity. For some it might mean changing their gender, perhaps surgically; for others, to dress in the clothing of the “opposite” gender; for some, to be free to express themselves as neither male or female; and, for others it means having been born with ambiguous genitalia.
  • Heterosexual is to have feelings of affection and attraction, both physically and emotionally, to people of the opposite gender. This is also called “being straight.”
  • Homosexual is to have feelings of affection and attraction, both physically and emotionally, to people of the same gender. Lots of people refer to this as “being queer.”
  • Lesbian is to be a woman who has feelings of affection and attraction, both physically and emotionally, to women.
  • Bisexual is to be a woman or a man and to have feelings of affection and attraction, both physically and emotionally, to both men and women.
  • Gay is to be a man who has feelings of affection and attraction, both physically and emotionally, for other men.
  • Queer is another term used for a homosexual
  • Questioning is used when one is not sure of their sexual orientation and is searching and probing to better understand one’s self