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Safe Zone at MUSC

Definitions

Disclaimer: This is not an all exhaustive list of definitions but rather a work in progress that will be updated as additional research is introduced.

• LGBTQQAAI: An acronym used to refer to all sexual minorities: Lesbian, Gay/Gender Neutral/Gender Queer, Bisexual/Bigendered, Transgender/Transvestite/Transsexual, Questioning/Queer, Allies/Androgynous/Asexual and Intersex.

• ALLY: Someone who is a friend, advocate, and/or activist for LGBTQQAAI community. A heterosexual ally is also someone who confronts heterosexism in themselves and others. The term ally is also generally used for any member of a dominant group who is a friend, advocate or activist for people in an oppressed group.

• ASEXUAL: A sexual orientation generally characterized by not feeling sexual attraction or a desire for partnered sexuality. Asexually is distinct from celibacy, which is the deliberate abstention from sexual activity. Some asexual people do have sex. There are many diverse ways of being asexual.

• BIPHOBIA: Aversion toward bisexuality and bisexual people as a social group or as individuals.

• GAY: Usually refers to men who have romantic and/or sexual feelings, attractions, and/or relationships with other men. Some women may also identity themselves as gay.

• HETEROSEXUAL: A person who has romantic and sexual feelings, attractions, and/or relationships with someone considered to be the opposite gender.

• HETEROSEXISM: The societal/cultural, institutional, and individual beliefs and practices that privilege heterosexuals and subordinate and denigrate LGBTQ people. The critical element that differentiates heterosexism (or any other ism) from prejudice and discrimination is the use of institutional power and authority to support prejudices and enforce discriminatory behaviors in systematic ways with far reaching outcomes and effects.

• HOMOPHOBIA: The fear, hatred, or intolerance of people who identify or are perceived to be lesbians or gay men, including the fear of being seen as lesbian or gay yourself. Homophobic behavior can range from telling jokes about lesbians and gay men, to verbal abuse, to acts of physical violence.

• INTERSEX: People who naturally (that is, without any medical interventions) develop primary and/or secondary sex characteristics that do not fit neatly into society’s definitions of male or female.

• LESBIAN: Refers to women who are physically, emotionally, sexually, and relationally attracted to other women.

• QUEER: Originally used as a pejorative term to refer to gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals. The term implied that these individuals were unnatural, unusual, or freakish. In more recent years the term “queer” has been reclaimed as a source of empowerment and pride. The term is also widely used by individuals who do not wish to use what they call “restrictive labels” such as “Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual.” Therefore the more recent use of the term “queer” is to describe someone who does not subscribe to social norms.

• TRANSGENDER: An umbrella term for individuals who blur the lines of traditional gender expression. Transgender individuals recognize the social construct of their genders and thus do not fit neatly within societally-prescribed gender roles as determined by biological sex.

• TRANSPHOBIA: The term used to describe the prejudice and discrimination directed at people who stray from the rigid gender expectations of our society.

 
 
 

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