The Am I Normal LGBT Cheat Sheet LGBT Cheat Sheet

If figuring out your sexuality and gender identity wasn’t difficult enough, the barrage of bewildering jargon you’ll encounter relating to the LGBT community might just be enough to send you scurrying back into the closet.

Fear not - Am I Normal is riding to the rescue with a handy cheat-sheet that will have you figuring out your bisexuals from your transsexuals faster than you can unfurl a rainbow flag.

The A-Z of LGBT…

All the key terms you need to know about sexuality and gender...


A straight person who actively supports the LGBT community by challenging prejudice and working to confront the difficulties they face.


Someone who doesn’t have a sexual orientation or who isn’t sexually attracted to anyone.


Someone who doesn’t identify as a man or a woman and who may have a neutral or mixed way of presenting their gender.

Bi/ Bisexual

Someone sexually attracted to both men and women (but not necessarily in equal measures – they may have a preference).


Someone who identifies themselves as masculine, no matter what their gender. Different groups can see this as a positive or offensive term.


Someone whose gender identity matches their birth sex as opposed to being 'transgender' where there is a mismatch between the two. It's important to note that this has nothing to do with sexuality - people identifying as cisgender can be straight, gay or bisexual.

Coming Out

Either accepting your own sexual or gender orientation (‘coming out’ to yourself) or sharing this with others (‘coming out’ to friends or family, etc.)


Someone who wears the clothes of the opposite gender but who doesn’t necessarily want to live their life as such. The term ‘transvestite’ was often used in the past but this is considered a bit out-dated today.


Performing as different genders theatrically, often for entertainment. You can have both ‘drag queens’ who perform feminine roles or ‘drag kings’ who perform masculine characters. Drag artists can be straight, gay, bi or any other sexual orientation – the performance has nothing to do with their sexuality or gender identity.


Someone who identifies themselves as feminine, no matter what their gender. Different groups can see this as a positive or offensive term.


Female to male. This describes a person who is transitioning from living as a female to living as a male.


A term that can refer to specifically to men (or people who identify as male) who are attracted to other men or it can be used as an umbrella term to refer to the LGBT community as a whole.

Gender dysphoria

A condition that causes a mismatch between someone’s biological sex and the gender they feel they should be. Recent research suggests that this mismatched gender identity could be caused whilst a baby is still developing during pregnancy, possibly due to genetic or hormonal factors.

Gender normative

Someone who conforms to the standard gender-based expectations of society. The alternative term for this is 'genderstraight'.

Gender affirmation surgery

This is best term to use to cover the range of medical interventions a transitioning person may undertake. ‘Gender confirmation surgery’ is also widely used as is ‘gender realignment surgery’ (though the latter is less accurate). ‘Sex reassignment surgery’ and ‘sex change’ are both out-dated terms now and can be seen as a bit inappropriate.

Gender Recognition Act (GRA)

A law which gives transsexual people who have transitioned full legal rights as a member of the gender in which they are living, including the right to have their birth certificate revised, and to marry.


Someone whose feels their gender identity is neither ‘male’ or ‘female’ but is a combination of the two or even ‘beyond gender’. An alternative term for this is 'non-binary'.


See 'gender normative'.

Hetero/ Heterosexual

Someone who is ‘straight’ (attracted to people of the opposite sex).


The fear of anyone or anything that doesn’t conform to rigid notions of heterosexuality. This can include prejudice, discrimination verbal abuse, cyberbullying and even physical violence.


Someone who is attracted to people of their own sex.

‘In the closet’

Someone LGBT who cannot or will not openly disclose their sexual orientation.


Someone who is medically difficult to categorise as male or female having been born with sex organs, chromosomes or hormones that differs from the two typical genders.


Someone female (or who identifies as female) who is attracted to other females.


The usual abbreviation for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Sometimes ‘Q’ can be adder for either ‘queer’ or ‘questioning’ (LGBTQ) and ‘I’ may be included for ‘intersex’ (LGBTQI).


Male to female. This describes a person who is transitioning from having lived as a male to living as a woman.


See 'genderqueer'.


Revealing someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity or intersexuality without their permission.


A catch-all word covering the wide spectrum of sexual orientations, habits and preferences of people who don’t subscribe to heterosexuality. The term used to have offensive connotations but has been largely reclaimed by the LGBT community as a term of defiant pride. Some people do still find it offensive however.


The process of exploring your sexual orientation and/ or gender identity.



Trans/ Transgender

An umbrella term describing people who feel the need to present themselves to the world in a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth. Transgender people may go on to describe themselves as transsexual, transvestite, crossdressers, intersex or by a number of other terms (including, simply, man or woman).


This refers to the process of changing from one gender to another. Transitions can be surgical (involving operations to completely or partly alter someone’s gender), medical (using hormones and medications) or social (changing your name or your cosmetic appearance). Many transition involving all three of these.


A person who holds the belief that they should be living full time in the gender role opposite to that assigned to them at birth may be said to be transsexual. Transsexual people often (though not always) take steps to change their bodies to reflect their deeply held understanding of their inner gender.


See ‘crossdressing’.


Our support page has everything you need to het your head straight about sexuality and gender.

Check out the Channel 4 support page. (This link opens in a new window)

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