Hamilton Health Sciences
LGBTQ+ Task Force

LGBTQ+: A common acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, intersex and queer individuals/communities.


Asexual: a word describing a person who is not sexually and/or romantically active.

Bisexual: a word describing a person whose sexual orientation is directed toward men and women, though not necessarily at the same time. Depending upon the person, their attraction may be stronger for one sex over the other or they may experience equal attraction to men and to women.

Gay: A word to describe a man whose emotional, romantic, and/or physical attraction is to people of the same sex.

Lesbian: A woman whose emotional, romantic, and/or physical attraction is to other women. People who are lesbians need not have had any sexual experience; it is the attraction that helps determine orientation.

Pansexual: A person whose emotional, romantic, and/or physical attraction is to people of all gender identities and biological sexes. People who are pansexual need not have had any sexual experience; attraction determines orientation. Sometimes referred to as omnisexual.

Queer: traditionally, a derogatory and offensive term for LGBT people. Many
LGBT people have reclaimed this word and use it proudly to describe their identity. Some transgender people identify as queers; others do not.

Aromantic: experiencing little or no romantic attraction to others and/or has a lack of interest in romantic relationships/behavior. Aromanticism exists on a continuum from people who experience no romantic attraction or have any desire for romantic activities, to those who experience low levels, or romantic attraction only under specific conditions. Sometimes abbreviated to “aro” (pronounced like “arrow”).


Gender Expression: The manner in which a person chooses to communicate their gender identity to others through external means such as clothing and/or mannerisms. This communication may be conscious or subconscious and may or may not reflect their gender identity or sexual orientation. While most people’s understandings of gender expressions relate to masculinity and femininity, there are countless combinations that may incorporate both masculine and feminine expressions—or neither—through androgynous expressions. The important thing to remember and respect is that every gender expression is valid.

Trans/Transgender: A term that may be used to describe people whose gender expression does not conform to cultural norms and/or whose gender identity is different from their sex assigned at birth. Transgender is considered by some to be an “umbrella term” that encompasses a number of identities which transcend the conventional expectations of gender identity and expression, including (but not limited to) FTM, MTF, genderqueer, and gender expansive. People who identify as transgender may or may not decide to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically to match their gender identity.

Two-spirit: A self-identity adopted by some Indigenous people who take on a multitude of gender roles, identities, and expressions. Those who identify as Two Spirit often see themselves as embodying both masculine and feminine spirits and characteristics.

Gender Fluid: Someone who embodies characteristics of multiple genders, or shifts in gender identity.

Agender: A person who does not conform to any gender.

Gender Neutral: Not gendered. Can refer to language (including pronouns), spaces (like bathrooms), or identities (being genderqueer, for example).

Gender Nonconforming: A person who views their gender identity as one of many possible genders beyond strictly female or male. This is an umbrella term that can encompass other terms such as “gender creative,” “gender expansive,” “gender variant,” “genderqueer,” “gender fluid”, “gender neutral,” “bigender,” “androgynous,” or “gender diverse.” Such people feel that they exist psychologically between genders, as on a spectrum, or beyond the notion of the male and female binary paradigm.

Genderqueer: this very recent term was coined by young people who experience a very fluid sense of both their gender identity and their sexual orientation, and who do not want to be constrained by absolute or static concepts. Instead, they prefer to be open to relocate themselves on the gender and sexual orientation continuums.

Transition: the process (which for some people may also be referred to as the “gender reassignment process”) whereby trans people change their appearance and bodies to match their internal (gender) identity.

Female-to-Male/Male-to-Female (FTM/MTF): A term that describes someone who was assigned a female or male sex and gender at birth and currently has a female/ male gender identity. The individual may or may not have had surgery or taken hormones to physically alter their appearance.

Assigned gender: The gender that is given to an infant at birth based on the infant’s external genitals. This may or may not match the person’s gender identity in childhood/adulthood.


Biphobia: irrational fear, dislike or discrimination  towards bisexuals. Bisexuals may be stigmatized by heterosexuals, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Homophobia:  irrational fear, dislike or discrimination  towards anyone from the LGBTQ+ community, generally from heterosexual people.

Transphobia: irrational fear, dislike, and discrimination towards trans* people.



Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

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