The terms and definitions below are always evolving, changing and often mean different things to different people. They are provided below as a starting point for discussion and understanding. This Glossary has been collectively built and created by the staff members of the LGBTQIA Resource Center since the early 2000s. Are we missing a word or term? Let us know!

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Glossary of Terms


An attraction to all genders without a preference: either not seeing genders or choosing for it to not be a determinant factor.


Refers to a trans person’s ability to be “correctly” perceived as the gender they are and not be perceived as trans. Not every trans person’s goal is to pass.

Person First Language

Person first language emphasizes the person before their identity. This identity may include a disability, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender. Some examples of person first language are “women of color” and “person with a disability.”   Always check in with someone to find out their preferred language preferences, as some may prefer Identity First Language to reflect that their identity is an essential part of who they are. How a person chooses to self-identify is up to them, and they should not be corrected if they choose not to use first person language. (Source: EARN “Person First and Identity First Language")


In terms of mental/emotional wellness - a phobia is a marked and persistent fear “out of proportion” to the actual threat or danger the situation poses after taking into account all the factors of the environment and situation. Historically this term has been used to inaccurately refer to systems oppression (i.e. homophobia has been used to refer to heterosexism).


Denotes consensually being in/open to multiple loving relationships at the same time. Some polyamorists (polyamorous people) consider “polyam” to be a relationship orientation. Sometimes used as an umbrella term for all forms of ethical, consensual, and loving non-monogamy.

Polygender, Pangender

Exhibiting characteristics of multiple genders, deliberately refuting the concept of only two genders.

Positive Body Image

Having a positive body image refers to feeling satisfied with one’s body. It includes accepting how the body looks, appreciating what the body can do, having a broad concept of beauty, and having a body image that is stable. Someone who has a positive body image understands that their self worth does not depend on their appearance. (Source: Medical News Today “What is body image?”)


A set of unearned benefits given to people who fit into a specific social group. These unearned benefits are given to and held by a group in power (or in a majority). They necessitate the oppression and suppression of minority groups in order to uphold these privileges. Privileges must be acknowledged, and may pertain to ability, class, education,  gender, sexuality, race, religion, and more. This concept has roots in W.E.B DuBois’ work on “psychological wage” and white people’s feelings of superiority over Black people. Peggy McIntosh wrote about her privilege as a white woman and developed an inventory of unearned privileges that she experienced in daily life because of her whiteness. (Source:  UC Davis “LGBTQ+ Glossary" | Rider University “Privilege and Intersectionality” | Peggy McIntosh “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”) (See: White Privilege) 


Pronouns are used in everyday speech and writing to take the place of people's names. 

Example: Naomi transferred to UCSB this year. They are excited to get involved on campus!

We frequently use them without thinking about it. Often, when speaking of someone in the third person, these pronouns have a gender implication. These associations are not always accurate or helpful because you cannot tell what pronouns someone uses by the way they look.