PTS OFFICIAL DEFINITIONS: A Glossary

These are the official definitions with which PTS defines all of the following terms. Any issues or discrepancies can be reported to executive.director@ptsottawa.org.

SEX (Anatomy)
A.K.A – Genotype
A term used to describe a person’s physical sex. It is defined by one’s genitalia (i.e. penis, vagina, testicles, ovaries, etc.), secondary sex characteristics (i.e. breasts, prostate, etc…), sex hormones (i.e. androgens and estrogens), and chromosomes. A person’s sex is categorized as male, female, or intersex.

GENDER
A.K.A – Phenotype
A term used to describe the combination of a person’s internal gender identity (as a man, a woman, or gender-queer) and outward gender expression (as masculine, feminine, or androgynous). Gender is a social construct, meaning it does not exist naturally but is created. It can conform to society’s expectations of anatomy and gender congruity or transcend them. Gender can be fluid or fixed. It can be assigned or changed.

HOMOSEXUAL
A term used to describe a person who is attracted (emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and/or physically) to another person of the same gender. This is often referred to as a same-sex relationship, attraction, or partnership. However, it should be noted that the use of sex in this term is inaccurate as gender determines orientation, not physical anatomy.

SEXUAL ORIENTATION
A term used to describe the direction of a person’s emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and/or physical attraction toward members of the same, opposite, or all genders. This includes Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Asexual, Pansexual, Pomosexual, and Omnisexual orientations.

GENDER IDENTITY
A.K.A – Sub-conscious Sex, Sexual Identity
Is the first of the two aspects, which make up gender. Our gender identity is our own sense or conviction of being a man, a woman, or gender-queer (both or neither). Most people have a gender identity, which is congruent with their physical sex. However, some do not.

GENDER EXPRESSION
Is the second of the two aspects that make up gender. Gender expression is the outward manifestation of our gender identity. However, some people do not have an expression in alignment with their identity (within a medicalized model, this is called Gender Dysphoria or Gender Identity Disorder). It is how we present and interact with the world around us. Gender expression is defined by the mannerisms we use, the roles we take, and how we dress. It is how we represent our behaviour as masculine, feminine, or androgynous.

GENDER-QUEER
An umbrella term for people with gender identities that do not fit the gender binary of masculine and feminine. While gender-queer identities vary, the most commonly used are being both a man and a woman, being neither a man nor a woman, or as a gender outside man and woman (a third gender). The one commonality that unites all gender-queer people is their rejection of the notion that there are only two genders.

GLBTTQ
An acronym used to identify people in the rainbow community. This acronym stands for; gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, two-spirit, and queer.

GAY
A term used to describe a person who identifies as a man and has (or desires to have) emotional, intellectual, spiritual and/or physical relations with another self-identified man. With less frequency, the term gay is used to describe all people who do not fit a heterosexual orientation or as a designation of the rainbow community. It should be noted that this term when used as an umbrella term, excludes, silences and further marginalizes the rest of the rainbow community.

MSM (men who have sex with men), MLM (men loving men)
Men who engage in sexual activities with other men but may not identify as gay/bisexual/bi-curious/or queer.

LESBIAN
A term used to describe a person who identifies as a woman and has (or desires to have) emotional, intellectual, spiritual and/or physical relations with another self-identified woman.

WSW (women who have sex with women, WLW (women loving women)
Women who engage in sexual activities with other women but may not identify as lesbian/bisexual/bi-curious/or queer.

BISEXUAL
A term used to describe a person who has (or desires to have) emotional, intellectual, spiritual and/or physical relations with someone of the same or other gender.

BI-CURIOUS
A term used to describe a person who has a persistent desire to have emotional, intellectual, spiritual and/or physical relations with someone of the same or another gender.

TRANS
An umbrella term used to describe people who display any type of gender diversity or undergo gender and/or sex transition.

TRANSGENDER
A term used to describe a person whose gender identity and gender expression do not align based on society’s expectations that that all aspects of gender should be congruent. A common term to express this concept is gender fluidity.

CISGENDER
Cisgender is a term used to describe people whose gender is not fluid; their gender identity and gender expression line up based on society’s expectations that all aspects of gender should be congruent.

TRANSSEXUAL
A term used to describe a person who experiences a transition from one sex to another. They will usually seek (or desires to seek) medical intervention (such as Hormone Replacement Therapy, Sex Reassignment Surgery, etc…) and/or alter their physical appearance to align their physical sex to their correct gender.

CISSEXUAL
Cissexual is a term used to describe people whose gender and sex have always lined up, and have not had any transsexual experiences.

TWO-SPIRIT
A term used to describe Aboriginal people who fulfill one of many mixed genders. Traditionally the roles included wearing clothing, and performing the work of any gender. The term usually implies a masculine spirit and a feminine spirit living in the same body.

QUEER
The literal definition of the term ‘queer’ is synonymous with being different and originally held negative connotations. The term was reclaimed by the GLBTTQ community and is now used to describe all people who do not fit a heterosexual orientation and, in some cases, those who are transsexual or transgender.

QUESTIONING
A term used to describe a person who is unsure of their orientation and/or gender identity.

INTERSEX (Disorders of sex development)
A term used to describe people who were born with a combination of male and female anatomy. This can include a combination of genitalia, secondary sex characteristics, hormones and chromosomes. A person who is intersex will most often identify as a man or a woman. However, their gender identity is not always in alignment with their predominant sex.

ASEXUAL
A term used to describe a person who has no apparent sexual attraction, but may desire to have emotional, intellectual, spiritual relations with another person. It should be noted that there are varying biological and psychological reasons for a person to identify as asexual, which may include: dissatisfaction with one’s genitalia, psychological barriers to intimacy and intercourse, and/or having no sexual attraction towards others.

PANSEXUAL
A term used to describe a person who has (or desires to have) emotional, intellectual, spiritual and/or physical relations with another person, regardless of sex, gender identity or gender expression.

POMOSEXUAL
A term used to describe a person who rejects the use of labels, which identify orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

OMNISEXUAL
A term used to describe a person who is attracted to all things, including people, animals, inanimate objects etc.

MONOGAMOUS
A term used to describe a person who has (or desires to have) emotional, intellectual, spiritual and/or physical relations with one partner at a time.

POLYAMOROUS
A term used to describe a person who has (or desires to have) emotional, intellectual, spiritual and/or physical relations with multiple partners at a time.

HOMOPHOBIA
Homophobia is the irrational fear, aversion to, or discrimination against a person or group of people, based on their perceived or disclosed orientation(s) as homosexual, or as internalized homophobia in oneself. Homophobia exhibits itself socially; as fear of knowing, befriending, or associating with people who are homosexual or perceived to be homosexual. It exhibits itself institutionally; by refusing to provide homosexuals access to services that are provided to heterosexuals, providing services differently to people who are homosexual (or perceived as homosexual) than to people who are heterosexual, or actively rejecting their rights and equal treatment to those of the heterosexual public.

HETEROSEXISM
Heterosexism is the assumption that every one is heterosexual. It is a form of oppression that targets gays, lesbians, and bisexual people. Heterosexism confers rights and privileges to heterosexual people that are denied to gay, lesbian, and bisexual people.

TRANSPHOBIA
The fear of those who are perceived to break or blur stereotypical gender roles, often expressed as stereotyping, discrimination, harassment and violence. Transphobia is frequently directed at those perceived as expressing their gender in a transgressive way, those who defy stereotypical gender norms, or those who are perceived to exhibit non-heterosexual characteristics regardless of their actual gender identity or sexual orientation.

CISSEXISM
Cissexism is the societal-wide tendency to view transsexual experiences and sex embodiments as being less legitimate than those of cissexuals – that is, nontranssexuals.

BIPHOBIA
Biphobia is the fear of, discrimination against or hatred of bisexuals (although in practice it extends to pansexual and asexual people too). It need not include homophobia or heterophobia, because there are stereotypes that are specific to bisexuals.

HETERONORMATIVE
A term used to describe the marginalization of lifestyles that do not conform to societies expectation of congruity between physical sex and gender. Instances of this include the idea that people fall into two distinct categories of sex (male and female) or gender (man and woman), that sexual and marital relations are “normal” only between people of different sexes and only with one committed/married partner at a time, and that each sex has certain “normal” roles in life. The hetero-normative view is that physical sex, gender identity, and gender expression should always align to either all-male or all-female cultural norms.
With Heteronormativity comes privilege and assimilation. It stigmatizes anybody in society that deviates from this model and is often the cause of societies’ perception of abnormal, immoral, illegitimate, and ultimately unworthy in another human being.

 

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