Someone who confronts heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, heterosexual and genderstraight privilege in themselves and others; a concern for the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex people; and a belief that heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are social justice issues.


Person appearing and/or identifying as neither man nor woman, presenting a gender either mixed or neutral.


Person who is not sexually attracted to anyone or does not have a sexual orientation.


Acronyms try to inclusively capture the different groups within ‘queer community’ (those that are under the umbrella of gender and sexual diversity). Preferred acronyms differ from group to group and are ever-evolving as analysis and language changes. This resource
uses LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, intersex and Queer), other common ones are LGBTIQA (Asexual and Allies) or LGBTIAQQ (includes those Questioning their sexual identity), PSA uses GLITTFAB (Gay, Lesbian, Intersex, Takatāpui, Trans*, Fa’afafine and Asexual, Bi).


A person whose gender identity is a combination of male/man and female/woman.


The fear of, discrimination against, or hatred of bisexuals, which is often times related to the current binary standard. Biphobia can be seen within the LGBTIQ community, as well as in general society.


A person emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to males/men and females/women. This attraction does not have to be equally split between genders and there may be a preference for one gender over others.


Describes someone who feels comfortable with the gender identity and gender expression expectations assigned to them based on their physical sex.

Coming Out

Coming out (of the closet) or being out refers to disclosing one’s samesex sexual attraction or one’s nonconforming gender identity. Coming out is usually a complex and dynamic process, often said to begin with coming out to oneself, ie acknowledging one’s identity, usually following a period of questioning. People must often continue to make the choice whether to out themselves in most new situations. Staying ‘in the closet’, and allowing or even fostering other people’s assumptions of heterosexuality or gender identity, is often an attempt to avoid homo/bi/trans*phobia. A person can come out as trans before or while  transitioning, and afterward to those unfamiliar with their previous sex.

Cross Dressing

Someone who wears clothes of another gender/sex, this is a more preferable term to Transvestite that can be considered out of date or offensive.


Prejudice + power. It occurs when members of a more powerful social group behave unjustly or cruelly to members of a less powerful social group. Discrimination can take many forms,
including both individual acts of hatred or injustice and institutional denials of privileges normally accorded to other groups. Ongoing discrimination creates a climate of oppression for the affected group.

Disorders of Sex Development (DSD)

This is a term that has recently appeared in some medical contexts in place of ‘intersex’. There is opposition to use of the term DSD from some intersex people who disagree with its
medicalisation, and in particular, the reference to ‘disorders’.


The performance of one or multiple genders theatrically.

Drag King

A person who performs masculinity theatrically.

Drag Queen

A person who performs femininity theatrically.


Fa’afafine is a Samoan term that literally means ‘like a woman’. Fa’afafine is often used to refer to people born male who express feminine gender identities in a range of ways, but is sometimes used more broadly refer to all Pacific people who do not identify with or live  according to common understandings of their birth gender. Sometimes the term ‘third sex’ is used. Other similar Pasifika terms include Fakaleiti (Tongan), akava’ine (Cook Islands Māori), Fiafifine (Niuean), Vaka sa lewa lewa (Fijian).


Abbreviation for female-to-male transgender or transsexual person.


1. Term used in some cultural settings to represent males who are attracted to males in a romantic, erotic and/or emotional sense. Not all men who engage in “homosexual behavior”identify as gay, and as such this label should be used with caution.

2. Term used to refer to the LGBTIQ community as a whole, or as an individual identity
label for anyone who does not identify as heterosexual.

Gender Binary

The idea that there are only two genders – male/female or man/woman and that a person must be strictly gendered as either/or.

Gender Confirming/Aligning Surgery

Medical surgeries used to modify one’s body to be more congruent with one’s gender identity. See “Sex Reassignment Surgery.”

Gender Identity

A person’s sense of being masculine, feminine, or other gendered.

Gender Normative

A person who by nature or by choice conforms to gender based expectations of society. (Also referred to as ‘Genderstraight’.)

Gender Oppression

The societal, institutional, and individual beliefs and practices that privilege cisgender (gender-typical people) and subordinate and disparage transgender or gender variant people. Also known as “genderism.”

Gender Variant

A person who either by nature or by choice does not conform to genderbased expectations of society (e.g. transgender, transsexual, intersex, genderqueer, cross-dresser, etc.).


A gender variant person whose gender identity is neither male nor female, is between or beyond genders, or is some combination of genders. Often includes a political agenda to challenge gender stereotypes and the gender binary system.


An out-of-date and offensive term for an intersexed person. (See ‘Intersexed Person’.)


The assumption, in individuals or in institutions, that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is superior to homosexuality and bisexuality.


Heterosexism is a system of attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favor of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships. It can include the presumption that everyone is heterosexual or
that opposite-sex attractions and relationships are the only norm and therefore superior.

Heterosexual Privilege

Those benefits derived automatically by being heterosexual that are denied to LGBTI. Also, the benefits homosexuals and bisexuals receive as a result of
claiming heterosexual identity or denying homosexual or bisexual identity.


The irrational fear or hatred of homosexuals, homosexuality, or any behavior or belief that does not conform to rigid sex role stereotypes. It is this fear that enforces sexism as well as heterosexism.


A person primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex.


Intersex people are born with any of a number of physical variations that means they do not fit expectations of either male or female physical sex (eg they have genitals that are atypical, XXY chromosomes, etc). Intersex anatomy is not always visible at birth, and may become apparent at puberty, later or not at all. Surgery is performed on some intersex infants and children to physically align them with the sex they are assigned. This practice is criticised, particularly by intersex people. A child’s sex assignment may not match the gender identity the person develops as they grow up. This can mean that some intersex people can face gender identity issues similar to a transgender person.


Term used to describe female-identified people attracted romantically, erotically, and/or emotionally to other femaleidentified people. The term lesbian is derived from the name of the Greek island of Lesbos and as such is sometimes considered a Eurocentric category that does not necessarily represent the identities of Maori, Pacific Island, African and other non-European ethnic groups. This being said, individual female-identified people from diverse ethnic groups, embrace the term ‘lesbian’ as an identity label.


Abbreviation for male-to-female transgender or transsexual person. An equivalent Māori term is tangata ira tane. “MtF” is sometimes used for a trans woman / ‘male to female’. Equivalent Māori terms are whakawahine, hinehi, hinehua. Many people prefer the terms
male or female, in line with their gender identity.


Involuntary disclosure of one’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status, can be used as a bullying or abusive tactic against LGBTI.


A person whose gender identity is comprised of all or many gender expressions.


A person who is sexually attracted to all or many gender expressions.


The traditional meaning of takatāpui is “intimate companion of the same sex”. Many Māori people have adopted this term to describe themselves, instead of, or in addition to, terms such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer or trans. It refers to cultural and sexual/gender identity. Also spelt takataapui.

Variations of Sex Development (VSD)

Variations of Sex Development (VSD) is an alternative to DSD proposed by human sexuality expert Professor Milton Diamond.


1. An umbrella term which embraces a matrix of sexual preferences, orientations, and gender identities of the not-exclusively- heterosexual-and-gender nonconforming community. Queer includes lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, trans*people, intersex persons, the radical sex communities, and many other sexually transgressive (underworld) explorers.

2. This term is sometimes used as a sexual orientation label instead of ‘bisexual’ as a way of
acknowledging that there are more than two genders to be attracted to, or as a way of stating a non-heterosexual orientation without having to state who they are attracted to.

Reclaimed words

Takes words that have been used as insults or offensive terms and reclaims and redefines their meaning in positive or affectionate light by their target. It is important to remember that for some people these words will still be considered offensive or appropriate only for members of the group to use, so tread carefully. Examples within LGBTIQ communities include : queer, dyke and fag.


Commonly used as a symbol for unity and diversity within queer community and pride associated with being gender and sexuality diverse. Displaying the Rainbow flag or sticker is a powerful way to show that an organisation, business or individual is queer friendly.


A medical term designating a certain combination of gonads,chromosomes, external gender organs, secondary sex characteristics and hormonal balances. Because usually subdivided into ‘male’ and ‘female’, this category does not recognize the existence of intersexed bodies.

Sex Identity

How a person identifies physically: female, male, in between, beyond, or neither.

Sexual Orientation

The desire for intimate emotional and/or sexual relationships with people of the same gender/sex, another gender/sex, or multiple genders/sexes.

Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS)

A term used by some medical professionals to refer to a group of surgical options that alter a person’s “sex. Also known as ‘Gender Confirming Surgery.’


An abbreviation that is becoming increasingly popular umbrella term used to refer to a gender variant person or to the gender variant community as a whole Trans (without the asterisk) is best applied to trans men and trans women, while the asterisk makes special note in an effort to include all noncisgender gender identities, including transgender, transsexual, transvestite, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, genderless, agender, non-gendered, third gender, Fa’afine, bigender, and trans man and trans woman. . The use of
trans* allows a person to state they have a gender variant identity without having to disclose hormonal or surgical status/intentions.


A person who lives as a member of a gender other than that expected based on anatomical sex. Sexual orientation varies and is not dependent on gender identity. Transgendered people may or may not use some form of medical intervention to better align their physical
sex with their gender identity, and may or may not have any interest in such a procedure. Gender reassignment services are sometimes called gender realignment by trans people. They include but are not limited to hormone treatment and surgeries, such as mastectomy and genital reconstruction. Transgender is sometimes also used as an umbrella term characterising all gender variant identities in the same way trans* does.


This term is primarily used to refer to the process a gender variant person undergoes when changing their bodily appearance either to be more congruent with the gender/sex they
feel themselves to be and/or to be in harmony with their preferred gender expression.


An identity label sometimes adopted by female-to-male transsexuals to signify that they are men while still affirming their history as females. Also referred to as ‘transguy(s).’


The irrational fear of those who are gender variant and/or the inability to deal with gender ambiguity.


A person who identifies psychologically as a gender/sex other than the one
to which they were assigned at birth. Transsexuals may experience a profound sense of having the wrong sexual anatomy and many wish to transform their bodies hormonally and surgically to match their inner sense of gender/sex.


This term is largely out of date in NZ (preferred term is usually cross dresser) , but it refers to someone who enjoys dressing in clothing generally identified with the opposite gender/sex.


An identity label sometimes adopted by male-to-female transsexuals to signify that they are women while still affirming their history as males.

Ze / Hir

Alternate pronouns that are gender neutral and preferred by some gender variant persons. Pronounced /zee/and /here,/ they replace ‘he’/’she’ and
‘his’/’hers’ respectively.