Glossary of LGBT terminology–You might not know all of these!

February 21, 2014

I found this helpful and up-to-date glossary in a Tumblr blog (reprinted with permission)

“So the recent “big news” on the social media front this past weekend centered around Facebook. Recognizing that not all individuals identify as heterosexual, there are now options for their users when setting up their Profile. Options, you ask? How can there be options? Male. Female. What more can there be?

Well, a lot actually.

Apparently, Facebook offers about 50 options. Well, I read that somewhere anyway. So, curious, I checked it out. Wow – there ARE a lot of options! (However I didn’t count them…sorry.)

It did get me thinking…are people familiar with the terminology that many individuals use to identify themselves? Maybe not. Would you like to know? Good! That’s what I like to hear – people who are interested in learning new information to help them become educated, open-minded, people of society.

We have heard the term “LGBT” in the media, but I’m not so sure people know what each of the letters stand for. I believe people know it is a term related to the gay community, but that’s about it. Sometimes you may hear it referred to GLBT, too – it’s all the same. When I studied for my LGBT certification (yes, that exists), it was always referred to as LGBT, so I will continue to do so in my writings.

“L” – Lesbian
“G” – Gay
“B” – Bisexual
“T” – Transgender

Sometimes you may see it written as such:
(These are a little less mainstream, but it’s good to be familiar with these, so you appear really

“Q”- Queer
“Q”- Questioning
“A” – Ally (that’s me!)
“A” – Asexual
“I” – Intersex
“P” – Pansexual

Okay. So, what do these terms mean?

Lesbian: A woman who is attracted romantically and/or physically to other women.
Gay: A person of one sex who is attracted romantically and/or physically to a person of the same sex. Generally the term is used when referring to men who are attracted to men, however this term can be used to include both males and females who are attracted to same-sex individuals..

Bisexual: A person of one sex who is attracted romantically/physically to a person of the same sex OR of another sex.

Transgender: This one can get tricky. A lot of people understandably confuse this with transsexual. Easy to do. Transgender refers to an individual who expresses themselves as the opposite sex from which they were born. This can include cross-dressers, transsexuals, and others.
The term transsexual falls under the umbrella term transgender.
Transsexual is defined as an individual who was born with the outward appearance of one sex, yet inside they feel like the opposite sex (gender identity). The body doesn’t match the psyche. Sometimes these individuals will choose to undergo surgery and/or hormone therapy to change their outward appearance to match how they feel inside. Others may not, but may dress as the person of the opposite sex to express their gender identity. Or they may not do anything. It’s a personal choice.
Often the word transgender is used when transsexual would be more appropriate. However, the term transsexual isn’t used as much as it used to be. It is best to ask the individual how they would like to be referred. I know a MTF (male-to-female) individual who uses the term transgender, which I totally get. Keep in mind, these terms refer only to gender identity (do they feel male or female) NOT their sexual orientation. It has nothing to do with who they are attracted to.

Queer: Used by those in the LGBT community to describe themselves as being unique. Can sometimes be interpreted in a derogatory manner, so be considerate when using this term.

Questioning: Refers to a person who is exploring their sexual identity, orientation, or gender identity.

Ally: Someone who supports the LGBT community.

Asexual: Not sexually attracted to any sex.

Intersex: More of a medical thing. A person is born with ambiguous male and female anatomy – external as well as internal. Sometimes it is obvious at birth, other times it isn’t noticed until puberty, and sometimes a person never knows! There are several medical conditions associated with being intersex, including Turner Syndrome and Klinefelter Syndrome. This has nothing to do with sexual orientation.

Pansexual: Attracted romantically/physically to a person regardless of their orientation, gender, identity, or anatomy. It’s all about the person on the inside.

Phew! That’s a lot to take in. Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz on this tomorrow. It’s just sort of nice to have a general idea of what people are talking about. And yes, it is confusing. Especially the transgender/transsexual language.

So, getting back to Facebook. I think it’s pretty cool that they are offering identity alternatives for those who do not identify themselves as either “male” or “female”. It’s all biology! Hormones, genetics, in utero growth….there are lots of reasons people are born they way we are. If you want more information, there are some great resources. I should know, I used these as my resources, too. (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) (Intersex Society of North America) (Gay Straight Alliance Network) (Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
Between XX and XY: Intersexuality and the Myth of Two Sexes by Gerald N. Callahan, Ph.D.
(I loved this book!)”


December 28, 2013

December 26, 2013
New Victories for Marriage Equality

With every new court ruling or legislative enactment or popular vote affirming Americans’ fundamental right to marry, the arguments against same-sex marriage sound increasingly desperate and hollow.

Those arguments were dealt multiple blows in the past few days, first last Friday when a federal district judge in Utah invalidated the state’s constitutional amendment and laws prohibiting marriage between anyone other than a woman and a man. The suit had been brought by three lesbian and gay couples, but Judge Robert Shelby’s ruling immediately allowed same-sex couples to marry statewide, and by Christmas Day about 700 had.

On Monday, another federal district judge, Timothy Black, ruled that Ohio, which also does not permit same-sex marriage, must recognize such marriages performed in other states.

Judge Shelby relied largely on the reasoning of United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court’s decision in June that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. He ruled that Utah’s Constitution and laws, which “demean the dignity” of same-sex couples “for no rational reason,” violated the United States Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection. The United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit declined to stay the ruling, and the state plans to appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

In the meantime, Judge Shelby has laid out a thoughtful and methodical defense of the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. He allowed that marriage laws are generally left to the states, but he explained that individual rights must trump states’ rights where the two conflict. Citing the Supreme Court’s 1967 decision striking down laws against interracial marriage, Judge Shelby wrote that the Constitution “protects an individual’s ability to make deeply personal choices about love and family free from government interference.”

In response to the plaintiffs’ complaint, Utah failed to present any rational connection between its laws and a legitimate governmental purpose. During a hearing earlier this month, Judge Shelby repeatedly pressed the state’s lawyers to explain how, as they contended, permitting same-sex marriages would undermine the incentive for opposite-sex couples to marry and have children. Their response: “We just simply don’t know.” Of course, it “defies reason,” as the judge wrote, that same-sex marriages would affect opposite-sex marriages one way or another.

Arguments like these are nothing more than the fading recitation of long-ingrained prejudices. The defenders of “traditional” marriage are losing — and much faster than anyone might have predicted even last summer.

Anyone, that is, besides Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the court’s most reliable votes against equal rights for gays and lesbians. In his angry dissent from the landmark 2003 decision striking down anti-sodomy laws, Justice Scalia asked: If states may no longer pass laws that express moral disapproval of homosexual conduct, “what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage” to same-sex couples? In a similarly hostile dissent in the Windsor case, he predicted that the court’s logic would soon lead to the invalidation of state laws banning same-sex marriage. So far, Justice Scalia has largely been proved right.

If Utah’s appeal is heard by the Supreme Court, the court should extend its repeated invocation of the equal dignity of gays and lesbians and strike down all bans on same-sex marriage.

Boy Scouts Will Welcome Gay Youth beginning January 1, 2014

December 28, 2013


At last! This will really help gay youth in North Carolina. It is NOT a sin.


November 11, 2013

This story appeared in the Burlington Times News on November 11th.


Published November 10, 2013 Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA – About 50 ministers gave their symbolic support to a colleague facing sanctions from the United Methodist Church by participating in a same-sex wedding.

The wedding Saturday in Philadelphia was held about a week before the Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, about 90 miles to the west, will face a church trial for officiating over his son’s marriage to another man.

The clergy filled the front of the Arch Street United Methodist Church, blessing the marriage in defiance of church law, the Philadelphia Inquirer ( ) reported.

The closest rested their hands on the couple, Bill Gatewood and Rick Taylor. The others placed their palms on other clergy.

“Those whom God has joined together, let no one put asunder,” they said in unison.

A spokesman for the church’s eastern Pennsylvania conference would not comment about whether any of the participants may face discipline. Most of the 50 are Methodist ministers.

Taylor, 55, and Gatewood, 70, told the newspaper that all they ever wanted was a traditional wedding — with a blessing in front of the altar, an exchange of vows and a reception in the basement.

The event was largely symbolic, as same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in Pennsylvania.

The couple, who met in a Philadelphia gay bar, have been together for 25 years. They said the church has helped them through some difficult times.

The Arch Street congregation, which is committed to the inclusion of people of all sexual orientations, had ministers who consoled them, added the names of their sick friends to the church’s prayer lists and performed funerals when their friends died.

“That’s why we want to get married in our church. We have many, many people who say, Why don’t you just go to New York or Delaware?” Taylor told the newspaper. “And it’s because we live in Pennsylvania and our church home is here and it means the world to us.”

Schaefer, 51, could be suspended, reprimanded or lose his credentials because he performed a wedding ceremony for his son in 2007 in Massachusetts. He had informed his superiors about it beforehand and did not face any consequences until April, when a congregant filed a complaint.

The United Methodist Church formally accepts gay and lesbian members but teaches that homosexuality is not compatible with Christian teaching.

Schaefer’s trial will begin Nov. 18 at a Methodist retreat in Spring City, about 35 miles northwest of Philadelphia. He could avoid trial by agreeing not to perform another same-sex marriage, but he has decided not to do that. Three of his four children are gay.


April 27, 2013

Replacements Billboard

We hope all our readers have seen this Billboard on I-40 near Replacements Limited.

Replacements donated this to us, and we are most grateful! 

We hope to reach more people, and if you are coming to this website for the first time because of this message please go to our Facebook page and tell us.

We also hope to meet you at one of our monthly meetings.  


April 17, 2013

Equality NC drew attention this week to North Carolina’s Rules on Hospital Visitation for Samesex Couples. See below:

State Rules

In 2008, Equality NC secured a statewide provision helping ensure that same-sex partners and other loved ones would be treated the same as immediate family. With passage of this statewide provision, North Carolina hospital patients have the right to receive the visitors who matter most to them regardless of the legal status of their relationship.

The provision – added to the Patients’ Bill of Rights – states: “A patient has the right to designate visitors who shall receive the same visitation privileges as the patient’s immediate family members, regardless of whether the visitors are legally related to the patient.” The right applies to hospitals statewide.

In 2007, Equality NC Foundation petitioned the state to add this provision to the Patient’s Bill of Rights, and tirelessly advocated for the change through the rule-making process. The Medical Care Commission unanimously approved the rule at its February 2008 meeting and the Rules Review Commission gave final approval, allowing the rule to take effect on May 1, 2008.

CLICK HERE TO READ AND PRINT North Carolina’s PATIENT BILL OF RIGHTS (includes: “(25) A patient has the right to designate visitors who shall receive the same visitation privileges as the patient’s immediate family members, regardless of whether the visitors are legally related to the patient.”)

IMPORTANT: Same-sex couples should be aware that this policy *only covers visitation.* In order to ensure that same-sex partners have the ability to make medical decisions in the event a partner is incapacitated, it is still vita to complete health care powers of attorney.

Without a valid health care power of attorney, decision-making authority will go to the patient’s nearest legal relative, as same-sex relationships receive no recognition under North Carolina law.

Federal Rules

In 2010, the Obama Administration, through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), issued guidelines requiring all hospitals receiving Medicaid and Medicare funding — nearly every hospital in the country — to adopt visitation policies similar to those we have in place in North Carolina, allowing for visitation in the hospital for same sex couples on an equal footing with straight couples.

The memo quoted the hospital visitation provision of the North Carolina Hospital Patients’ Bill of Rights which Equality NC proposed and got adopted by the state in 2008.

The Presidential Memorandum stated:

Many States have taken steps to try to put an end to these problems. North Carolina recently amended its Patients’ Bill of Rights to give each patient “the right to designate visitors who shall receive the same visitation privileges as the patient’s immediate family members, regardless of whether the visitors are legally related to the patient” — a right that applies in every hospital in the State. Delaware, Nebraska, and Minnesota have adopted similar laws.

American Academy of Pediatrics Endorses Marriage Equality

April 9, 2013

The most influential pediatricians group in the country has endorsed gay marriage with its new policy.

“….. it is a stable relationship between parents, and not the parents’ sexual orientation, that contribute to a child’s health and well-being. The academy believes that a two-parent marriage is best equipped to provide a nurturing and financially and emotionally stable environment for a child’s development.”



March 6, 2013

Youth in Crisis: What Everyone Should Know About Growing Up Gay

What is it like to be called an abomination by your religious leaders? To live in fear of losing your family’s love? To be afraid to go to school because of the torment that awaits you? To live a lie day after day about the person you really are.

Forty gay Americans to share their very personal answers to these difficult questions. Many discuss their long-buried feelings here for the first time. Several young adults opened up about suicide attempts, depression, fear, and isolation that are still a part of growing up gay.

It’s a silent epidemic and a mental health crisis affecting millions of gay teens.

No One Orders Lukewarm Coffee!

October 24, 2012
The following was recommended by a Pflag member who says it is one of the best essays she has read.  It is from Crumbs from the Communion Table, a blog by Justin Lee, Executive Director of the Gay Christian Network.  See

Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. —Revelation 3:16 (AKA Jesus at Starbucks.)

There’s a lot of passion out there in the gay/Christian debate. There are angry protesters with bullhorns and Bible verses on signs. There are political activists on both sides who are driven and determined to get their way. There are friends, family members, and co-workers who won’t stop badgering you to try to change your mind.

And if you’re like a lot of Christians, you’re sick of it. Many Christians I know have tried to avoid the debate as much as possible, keeping quiet about their personal thoughts and leaving it to others to hash this stuff out.

That’s perfectly understandable. But it can backfire in a major way.

For instance, let’s say your private view is that homosexual behavior is a sin against God, and that it could have potentially eternal consequences, but you don’t really talk much about that because you don’t want to cause conflict with the gay people you know and love.

Perfectly understandable. But you run the risk of coming across like Elaine’s boyfriend David Puddy on Seinfeld:

Here’s a partial transcript for those who can’t watch/hear the video:

ELAINE: Do you believe in God?


ELAINE: Oh! So you’re pretty religious.

DAVID: That’s right.

ELAINE: So is it a problem that I’m not really religious?

DAVID: Not for me.

ELAINE: Why not?

DAVID: I’m not the one going to hell.


ELAINE: David! I’m going to hell! The worst place in the world! With devils, and those—those caves, and—and the ragged clothing! And the heat, my God, the heat! What do you think about all that?

DAVID: It’s gonna be rough.

ELAINE: You should be trying to save me!

DAVID: Don’t boss me! This is why you’re going to hell.

ELAINE: I am not going to hell. And if you think I’m going to hell, you should care that I’m going to hell. Even though I am not.

That last line sums up a lot of how I feel as a gay Christian. “I am not going to hell. And if you think I’m going to hell, you should care that I’m going to hell. Even though I am not.”

You guys, it’s super annoying to have someone constantly telling you that you’re going to hell, when you don’t believe you are going to hell. But even more disturbing is the idea that someone close to me might actually believe I’m going to hell and yet not care enough for that belief to keep them up at night.

If you think I’m going to hell, you should care that I’m going to hell.

Now please don’t interpret that as a green light to start harassing all the gay people or non-Christians you know with warnings that they’re going to hell. Because if you care that I’m going to hell, then you should also care enough to know that badgering me isn’t going to change things. Instead, you should take the time to get to know me, to understand me. That’s what Paul did in Athens.

But suppose you don’t think I’m going to hell. Maybe you see yourself as much more supportive of gay folks, but you’re hesitant to be too public or passionate about that because, frankly, the issue isn’t quite settled for you and, I mean, it’s not really your issue anyway.

Also perfectly understandable. A lot of my friends are in this position. But in that case, beware of the risk of coming across like this vicar from the British sketch show Not the Nine O’Clock News:

The transcript can’t really do this one justice, so if you’re at all able to watch the video, I recommend it. But in the event you need it, here it is:

VICAR: (awkwardly) Are you a gay Christian? No, no, it’s all right, I mean, I don’t mind, I don’t mind at all. I mean, if uh, if uh, homosexuality is um, is your thing, if that’s the—if that’s the bag you’re into, then that’s great! Fantastic. Um… I mean, don’t be ashamed, whatever you do. I mean, stand up. Come out of the toilet, as the phrase… as the phrase has it. And stand up and say, I am, uh, tempted, to be a, um… a… [whispering] homosexual. And—and, fine, and you may even decide, after much prayer, to enter into a, committed—and, um, tempted—relationship with a member of the same, um, same… genital group. And if you do, and you feel you can do nothing about it, and you’ve been to a psychiatrist, and you’ve had aversion therapy, and you’ve tried tying metal weights to your private parts… and you still feel these tendencies, then… I’m afraid it means that God just wants you to have a rotten life. God’s like that. He hates poofs.

(My American readers will want to mentally replace the word “toilet” with “bathroom,” lest they get a rather humorously skewed idea of the intended image.)

Rowan Atkinson’s performance here is spot on as the affirming-ish Christian leader who is trying to be supportive though clearly uncomfortable with the subject. But in the end, his message is sort of…lukewarm, wouldn’t you say?

The message here isn’t that you need to have everything figured out, or that you need to have a passionately extreme position on the issue. In fact, I much prefer nuanced positions, and I think it’s wonderful when people can admit that they don’t have all the answers.

No, the message here is that when it comes to issues that affect people’s lives, we should care enough not to be content with shrugging our shoulders and saying, “Oh well.”

Because, if I’m hurting, I’d rather that you openly disagreed with me than to not really care.

A Personal Post from an Ally: Thursday morning

May 10, 2012

Yesterday I heard good friends tell how this defeat impacted their personal emotions and their lives.    I don’t think I had fully understood before this that the usually unspoken prejudices of many of our Alamance County neighbors would SHOUT through the election—-shout hatred and even danger.

One friend said she hesitated to approach a package which UPS had left on her doorstep.  Another said she feared for her son who lives with his partner in a rural neighborhood.  The Election SHOUTED.

An ad in the Times-News before the election reminded us that the terrible message of the Amendment  to vulnerable gay young people is that “their state and their neighbors consider them second-class citizens, undeserving of the same basic rights and protections.”

Before the election,  I knew prejudice was there.  But  I thought the campaign might even change some of that homophobia.  I took hope from the huge groundswell of strangers who offered support to defeat the Amendment, the people who said “thank you for being here” at the polling places, who offered thumbs-up.  I think LGBTQ people also felt hope.

But yeterday I heard and understood how devastating it must be to realize that 64% of the people who come together in Alamance County malls or pass on Alamance County roads think gays are depersonalized threatening human beings who don’t deserve the rights which our democracy promises.  It made even the most confident professional gays feel scared as well as detested.

I guess the only response is to remember that 10,580 people in Alamance voted AGAINST.  It’s true that is not quite 36%.  But I do believe it is more people than we could have thought of as supporters last fall.  A letter from EqualityNC  included the following paragraph:

“When the official campaign against the amendment started back
 in November, Equality NC had 26,000 supporters. Today, 100,000
people stand united with us against discrimination. In spite of
what happened on Tuesday, it’s clear the LGBT community in
North Carolina no longer stands alone. “

We family members and supporters and “allies” do  have a bigger base to build from.  Marriage off the table, we might focus on school bullying and helping gay kids grow up with self-respect.  But gays are not included in most employment discrimination laws in North Carolina.   Most employers still don’t offer benefits to same-sex partners.  Perhaps we can move ahead in those areas.

I know the depression and fear will fade as our gay friends go on with their normal lives.  But we supporters really do need to remember  that this was a devastating emotional blow for LGBTQ folk….and some of its effects will remain in their hearts.            –     Eleanor Ketcham

Please comment at pflagAlamance on Facebook


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 130 other followers