The Complete LGBTQIA+
Glossary of Terms

Explore The Complete LGBTQIA+ Glossary of Terms: a comprehensive source offering clear, respectful definitions and insights into gender identities, sexual orientations, cultural terminology, historical places, key figures and more. Ideal for allies and community members seeking to understand and learn about the rich diversity and history of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Disclaimer: This glossary includes a wide range of terms related to the LGBTQIA+ community, including some that may be considered derogatory or offensive by some individuals. Our aim in presenting these terms is solely educational and informative, striving to provide a comprehensive overview of the language used within and about the LGBTQIA+ community. It is important to approach this content with sensitivity and awareness of the diverse experiences and perspectives within the community. Our goal is to empower through knowledge, fostering a deeper understanding and respect for all individuals. We encourage readers to use this glossary as a tool for positive engagement and learning.


Aesthetic Attraction

Aesthetic Attraction refers to the appreciation of someone's appearance or beauty without the desire for a sexual or romantic relationship. This term helps to distinguish the different types of attractions individuals may experience. It acknowledges that one can recognize and appreciate beauty in others regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, without necessarily wanting to pursue a sexual or romantic connection. This concept is particularly significant in understanding the experiences of asexual and aromantic individuals, for whom aesthetic attraction may be a prominent aspect of their interactions with others. It broadens the understanding of attraction beyond the sexual and romantic, highlighting the nuanced ways in which people can relate to one another.

Age Play

Age play refers to a form of role-play in which an individual acts out an age different from their own, often within BDSM or other kinky contexts. This can involve participants taking on roles with significant age differences, such as "parent/child" dynamics, but does not involve actual minors and is strictly among consenting adults. Age play can be sexual or non-sexual, with some participants enjoying the nurturing aspect of the role-play or the escape from adult responsibilities. It's important to note that while age play can involve items or symbols associated with childhood (like toys or clothing), it is a form of consensual adult fantasy play. This practice emphasizes the importance of consent, communication, and respect for boundaries within these dynamics.


Ageism refers to discrimination or prejudice based on a person's age. Ageism can manifest in several ways, affecting individuals' social inclusion, dating prospects, and visibility both within and outside the community. Younger members may face dismissal of their identities or lack of access to community resources and safe spaces, while older individuals might encounter stereotypes about desirability or relevance. Ageism challenges the notion of inclusivity within the LGBTQIA+ community, highlighting the need for recognition and support across all ages, emphasizing that issues, identities, and contributions are valid and valuable at every stage of life.


Agender describes a person who does not identify with any gender. Individuals who are agender may see themselves as lacking gender altogether, being gender neutral, or not fitting into the traditional concept of gender. This identity falls within the broader non-binary and transgender spectrums, challenging the binary notion of gender as exclusively male or female. Agender people might experience their identity in various ways and express it through their appearance, lifestyle, and pronoun preferences. Recognizing agender identities is crucial for understanding the complexity of gender and supporting inclusivity within the LGBTQIA+ community and beyond.

Alan Turing (1912–1954)

Alan Turing was a British mathematician, logician, and cryptanalyst who is considered one of the fathers of computer science and artificial intelligence. Despite his monumental contributions to the Allied victory in World War II through his work in breaking the German Enigma code, Turing faced criminal prosecution for homosexual acts, which were illegal in the UK at the time. In 1952, he was convicted of "gross indecency" under British law, and his punishment included chemical castration. Turing's legacy as a pioneering gay figure in science and technology is a stark reminder of the injustices faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals. His posthumous pardon in 2013 and ongoing recognition highlight the need for acknowledging past wrongs and celebrating the contributions of LGBTQIA+ individuals irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Alex Newell

Ali Forney (1975-1997)

Ali Forney was a prominent African American gender-nonconforming advocate known for their work in supporting homeless LGBTQIA+ youth in New York City. Forney, who identified as transgender and used he/him pronouns, became an outspoken activist for LGBTQIA+ rights, particularly focusing on the needs and safety of homeless queer youth. Tragically, Forney's life was cut short when he was murdered on the streets at the age of 22, a crime that remains unsolved. His legacy continues through the Ali Forney Center, an organization dedicated to protecting LGBTQIA+ youths from homelessness and empowering them towards independence.

Ali Forney Center, The

The Ali Forney Center is a New York-based organization dedicated to supporting homeless LGBTQIA+ youth. It provides safe shelter and a comprehensive range of services to this marginalized group, helping them thrive and rebuild their lives free from the threat of homelessness and violence. Named after Ali Forney, a gender-nonconforming teen who was murdered in 1997, the center is committed to protecting LGBTQIA+ youth from the harms of homelessness and empowering them with tools necessary for independence and community integration.


Allistic is a term used to describe individuals who are not on the autism spectrum. This word helps to distinguish between the diverse experiences of neurodiverse individuals, including those who are autistic, and those who are not, emphasizing the spectrum of neurological experiences that exist. The term underscores the importance of recognizing and valuing neurodiversity within the LGBTQIA+ community, promoting inclusivity and understanding of different cognitive experiences. It serves to highlight that both neurodiverse and neurotypical individuals can be part of the LGBTQIA+ community, each bringing unique perspectives and experiences. The use of "allistic" is particularly relevant in discussions about accessibility, inclusivity, and the intersection of LGBTQIA+ identities with neurodiversity, advocating for spaces and communities that acknowledge and accommodate a wide range of neurological experiences.


Alloromantic refers to individuals who experience romantic attraction to others, typically involving a desire for romantic relationships. This term is used to distinguish from aromantic individuals who do not experience romantic attraction. Understanding alloromantic identities helps in acknowledging and respecting the diverse experiences of romantic attraction within the LGBTQIA+ community.



Allosexual refers to individuals who experience sexual attraction to others, distinguishing them from those on the asexual spectrum who do not experience sexual attraction or experience it differently. The term is used to acknowledge the broad spectrum of sexual orientations that includes, but is not limited to, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and pansexual identities. By defining allosexuality, the LGBTQIA+ community creates space for asexual and aromantic identities, emphasizing the diversity of human sexual and romantic experiences. It highlights the importance of understanding and respecting each person’s unique experience of attraction.


An Ally is someone who does not identify as LGBTQIA+ themselves but supports and stands in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community. Allies play a crucial role in advocating for equal rights, challenging discriminatory attitudes and practices, and contributing to a society that embraces diversity and inclusion. Being an ally involves listening to LGBTQIA+ individuals, educating oneself on LGBTQIA+ issues, speaking out against homophobia, transphobia, and all forms of discrimination, and supporting LGBTQIA+ rights movements and initiatives. Allies help to bridge gaps in understanding and can leverage their positions in society to effect change, making them vital participants in the journey towards equality and acceptance for all.


Allyship refers to the practice of actively supporting and advocating for the rights and dignity of LGBTQIA+ individuals by those who do not necessarily share the same sexual orientation or gender identity. This includes acknowledging one's privilege, listening to and amplifying LGBTQIA+ voices, engaging in actions that contribute to the fight against discrimination and for equality, and educating oneself and others about LGBTQIA+ issues. Allyship involves a continuous process of learning, understanding, and action. It is about using one's position to challenge heteronormative and cisnormative societal structures, promoting inclusivity, and standing against discrimination in all forms. Allies play a crucial role in the LGBTQIA+ movement by helping to create a more accepting society for everyone, regardless of how they identify.

Alpha Lesbian

An Alpha Lesbian is a term used to describe a dominant lesbian who is often seen as confident, assertive, and typically taking on a leadership role in social or relationship settings. This term not only highlights personality traits but also can intersect with expressions of gender and sexuality, challenging traditional gender roles. It's important to note that while the term borrows from hierarchical conceptions found in animal behavior studies, its application to humans is metaphorical, emphasizing certain social dynamics rather than innate or fixed roles. The concept of an Alpha Lesbian reflects the diversity within the lesbian community in how individuals embody and express their identities.

Alternative Lesbian

An Alternative Lesbian refers to a lesbian who identifies with alternative subcultures, such as punk, goth, or indie, among others. This term encompasses a wide range of identities and expressions that diverge from mainstream or traditional lesbian culture, emphasizing individuality, non-conformity, and often, a distinct aesthetic or lifestyle. Alternative Lesbians may express their identity through specific fashion choices, musical tastes, and social environments, highlighting the diversity within the lesbian community and the broader LGBTQIA+ spectrum. The term celebrates the intersection of sexual orientation with subcultural affiliations, challenging homogeneous representations of what it means to be a lesbian.

Alterous Attraction

Alterous attraction describes a form of emotional connection that doesn't fit neatly within the traditional distinctions of platonic or romantic attraction. This term is used within the LGBTQIA+ community to articulate feelings of deep emotional closeness that are significant yet differ from the expectations of typical friendships or romantic relationships. It recognizes the unique, nuanced nature of certain bonds that defy conventional labels, providing a way for individuals to describe their experiences of intimacy and affection that are important but not easily categorized.


Altersex refers to individuals whose physical sex characteristics do not conform to traditional medical definitions of male or female bodies, often as a result of congenital conditions, surgical modifications, or hormonal treatments. This term is embraced within the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly among non-binary, intersex, and transgender individuals, to describe a broad spectrum of bodily experiences and identities that challenge binary sex categorization. Altersex encompasses a range of experiences, from those born with intersex variations to those who have undergone surgeries or hormonal treatments that alter their sex characteristics in a way that does not fit within the binary definitions of male or female. The term underscores the diversity of human bodies and the complexity of sex beyond binary constructs, advocating for recognition and acceptance of all bodily variations.


Amatonormativity is a term used to describe the societal assumption that romantic relationships are universally desired and represent the normative ideal. This concept critiques the prominence of romance in societal values and media, highlighting how such assumptions can marginalize or invalidate the experiences of those who do not seek or prioritize romantic relationships, such as aromantic individuals or those who prefer alternative relationship structures.

Ambiguous Genitalia

Ambiguous genitalia refers to a condition in which a newborn's external genitals do not appear to be typically male or female. This condition is a part of a group of disorders known as disorders of sex development (DSD), which involve variations in the chromosomal, gonadal, or anatomical sex. Ambiguous genitalia can include variations in the appearance of the clitoris, labia, scrotum, and penis that make it difficult to easily identify a child as male or female at birth. This situation can be distressing for parents and requires careful diagnostic evaluation and sensitive handling to decide on the most appropriate interventions, if any, and ongoing support.


Ambisextrous is a playful term used to describe individuals who do not prefer one specific gender over others in their sexual or romantic attractions. It suggests a level of fluidity or flexibility in attraction, similar to the concept of bisexuality or pansexuality, but with an emphasis on the equal opportunity nature of the attraction. The term draws from "ambidextrous," meaning able to use both hands equally, metaphorically applying it to an individual's capacity to find multiple genders appealing. It highlights the diversity and spectrum of sexual orientation, acknowledging that attraction can transcend gender binaries and fixed categories.

American Dream and Promise Act, The

Amyl Nitrate

Amyl nitrate, often confused with amyl nitrite, is a compound that belongs to a class of drugs commonly referred to as poppers. Within the LGBTQIA+ community, specifically among men who have sex with men (MSM), amyl nitrite is used recreationally to enhance sexual pleasure and relax involuntary smooth muscles, such as those in the throat and anus. It is inhaled directly from a small bottle, usually resulting in a rapid but short-lived effect that includes a sensation of warmth and a rush, facilitating easier and potentially more pleasurable anal sex. Its use is not without risks; it can cause sudden drops in blood pressure, dizziness, headaches, and in some cases, more severe health issues. While its recreational use is part of some sexual practices within the LGBTQIA+ community, it's important to differentiate between amyl nitrate, which is used for industrial purposes, and amyl nitrite, the correct term for the compound used recreationally.

Anal Sex

Anal sex refers to the sexual practice involving penetration of the anus. This practice is recognized as a form of sexual activity that can be engaged in by individuals of any sexual orientation or gender identity. It is a common aspect of intimacy for many, particularly among gay and bisexual men, but not exclusively. Discussion and education about anal sex within the community emphasize the importance of consent, communication, safety, and the use of protection to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and ensure a positive and respectful experience for all parties involved.

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Glossary Last Updated: June 19, 2024
Version 1: Publish glossary for the public.
Published April 22, 2024
Version 2: Will be adding filters to view terms by categories.
Version 3: Will be adding images and learn more links for select terms.

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