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

Sex Assigned at Birth

A medically constructed categorization that assigns and classifies people as male, female, or intersex. Sex assigned at birth is often assigned based on the appearance of the genitalia only either in ultrasound or at birth. This language is more appropriate and more respectful to those whose assigned sex does not align with their gender instead of just “sex” on its own.

Sex Indifferent

People on the ace/aro spectrum experience different attitudes towards sex. Sex-Indifferent means that an individual may be open to experiencing sexual activity occasionally or only in certain situations. They may not particularly experience physical or emotional pleasure from these acts, but they do not feel distressed from it. (Source: OULGBTQ+ “Ace & Aro Spectrum Definitions”)


People on the ace/aro spectrum experience different attitudes towards sex. Sex-Favorable means that an individual may be open to experiencing sexual activity. They may find physical or emotional pleasure from these acts. (Source: OULGBTQ+ “Ace & Aro Spectrum Definitions”)


People on the ace/aro spectrum experience different attitudes towards sex. Sex-Repulsed means that an individual is not open to experiencing sexual activity. They may feel distress at the thought or mention of sexual activity. (Source: OULGBTQ+ “Ace & Aro Spectrum Definitions”)


The cultural, institutional, and individual set of beliefs and practices that privilege men, subordinate women, and devalue ways of being that are associated with women.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual Orientation is attraction or non-attraction to other people characterized by interest or desire for sexual contact. Sexual orientation can be fluid and people use a variety of labels to describe their sexual orientation. Individuals may use -sexual as a suffix with prefixes that define their sexual orientation. For example, they may use pansexual, bisexual, asexual, and more! See also Orientation. (Source: UC Davis “LGBTQ+ Glossary")


The components of a person that include their biological sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual practices, etc.


The pervasive system of discrimination and exclusion that oppresses people who have bodies that society has labeled as “overweight,” as well as people of short stature. Fat oppression, more specifically, highlights the ways that Fat people experience and navigate a world and institutions that are not built with their hxstories, needs, and body size in mind. This often takes the form of labeling these bodies as unhealthy, undesirable, and lazy and fails to complicate narratives around health and healthy living.

Social Identities

Social identity groups are based on the physical, social, and mental characteristics of individuals. They are sometimes obvious and clear, sometimes not obvious and unclear, often self-claimed, and frequently ascribed by others.

Social Justice

A goal and a process in which the distribution of resources is equitable in a society and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure. Begins with an acknowledgment that oppression and inequity exist and must be actively dismantled on all levels. (Adams, Bell, & Griffin.)

Socio-Economic Class

Social group membership based on a combination of factors including income, education level, occupation, and social status in the community, such as contacts within the community, group associations, and the community's perception of the family or individual.


Having to do with deep feelings and convictions, including a person’s sense of peace, purpose, connection to others, and understanding of the meaning and value of life; may or may not be associated with a particular set of beliefs or practices.


A generalization applied to every person in a cultural group; a fixed conception of a group without allowing for individuality. When we believe our stereotypes, we tend to ignore characteristics that don’t conform to our stereotype, rationalize what we see to fit our stereotype, see those who do not conform as “exceptions,” and find ways to create the expected characteristics.