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!

Contact Us

Glossary of Terms


BDSM is an acronym for Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism. BDSM refers to a wide spectrum of activities and forms of interpersonal relationships. While not always overtly sexual in nature, the activities and relationships within a BDSM context are almost always eroticized by the participants in some fashion. Many of these practices fall outside of commonly held social norms regarding sexuality and human relationships. Folks in the BDSM community are not necessarily part of the LGBTQIA+ community, however, members may self-identify with the community. The LGBTQIA+ and BDSM movement must work (often simultaneously) to be accepted by mainstream society (Source: UC Davis "Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity 101")


A binder is a compression undergarment used to flatten the appearance of the chest. This process is called binding. See: Binding. (Source: NIH “Terms and Definitions”)


Binding is the process of tightly wrapping one's chest in order to flatten its appearance. A binder, sports bras, compression shirts, and more may be used to bind. However, binders are the most recommended mode of binding. Care and safety must be taken into binding; materials should be appropriate and can only be worn for a few hours at a time. Unsafe binding can lead to negative health outcomes. (Source: NIH “Terms and Definitions”)


Biphobia is prejudice, fear, or hatred directed towards bisexual people, as defined by It can include making jokes or comments based on myths and stereotypes that seek to undermine the legitimacy of bisexual identity. Biphobia occurs both within and outside of the LGBTQIA+ community. (Source: HRC "Bisexual FAQ")

Bisexual (abbrev.: Bi, Bi+)

A person whose primary sexual and affectional orientation is toward people of their same gender and of other genders, or towards people regardless of their gender. Another definition is being attracted to two (or more) genders. (Source: UCSF "General Definitions")

Body Image

Refers to how a person feels, acts and thinks about their body. Attitudes about our own body and bodies, in general, are shaped by our communities, families, cultures, media, and our own perceptions. Body image may be positive or negative. (Source: Medical News Today “What is body image?”) (See: Positive Body Image and Negative Body Image)

Body Policing

Any behavior which (indirectly or directly, intentionally or unintentionally) attempts to correct or control a person's actions regarding their own physical body, frequently with regards to gender expression or size. (Source: ASC Queer Theory)