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


A social construct that divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance, ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation, cultural history, ethnic classification, based on the social, economic, and political context of a society at a given period of time.


The systematic subordination of marginalized racial groups (Indigenous/Native American, Black, Chicanx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and non-white Latinx people, non-white Middle Eastern people, etc.) who have relatively little social power in the United States, by members of the agent/dominant/privileged racial group who have relatively more social power (white).


A personal or institutionalized system of beliefs and practices concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, often grounded in belief in and reverence for some supernatural power or powers; often involves devotional and ritual observances and contains a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

Romantic Orientation (aka: Affectional Orientation)

Romantic Orientation is attraction or non-attraction to other people characterized by the expression or non-expression of love. This may be through falling in love or through a desire to partner an individual(s). Romantic orientation can be fluid and people use a variety of labels to describe their romantic orientation. Individuals may use -romantic as a suffix with the same prefixes that people use in defining their sexuality. For example, they may use panromantic, biromantic, aromantic, and more! See also Orientation. (Source: UC Davis "Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity 101")