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Safe Zones


Here is a list of definitions you might find helpful in understanding LGBT issues:

  • Ally - Any person whose attitude and behaviors work toward combating homophobia and heterosexism, both on a personal and institutional level.
  • Biological sex - The male and female anatomical and physiological sex characteristics of a person present at birth.
  • Biphobia - The fear and hatred of or discomfort with people who are bisexual.
  • Bisexual - A person who is emotionally, physically, sexually, spiritually, and intellectually attracted to members of both sexes though not necessarily simultaneously.
  • Coming out - To declare or affirm publicly one’s gay, lesbian or bisexual orientation, sometimes to one person in conversation, sometimes by an act that places one in the public eye. It is not a single event but instead a life-long process.
  • Conversion therapy - Programs designed to “change” a person from a homosexual orientation to a heterosexual orientation; these programs may be found in religious doctrine and may involve classes, readings, and aversion therapy.
  • Cross-dresser - A person who enjoys wearing clothes and accessories typically worn by the other gender. Cross dressers may be heterosexual, gay/lesbian, or bisexual.
  • Dyke/Fag - Terms sometimes used to describe a lesbian/gay man, often seen as derogatory.
  • Gay man/Lesbian - The preferred term for male homosexuals/female homosexuals.
  • Gender role - Socially constructed behavioral expectations associated with being either male or female.
  • Gender identity - A person’s sense of being male or female.
  • Heterosexism - Sexual orientation prejudice combined with personal, institutional, or cultural power to impose that prejudice or discrimination. Heterosexism is used to the advantage of one sexual orientation. It includes the assumption that everyone is heterosexual or should be.
  • Institutional oppression - Institutional arrangements of a society used to benefit one group at the expense of another, illustrated through the use of language, media, education, economics, religion, etc.
  • Internalized oppression - The process by which a member of an oppressed group comes to accept and live out the inaccurate myths and stereotypes applied to the oppressed group.
  • Metrosexual - Current term used to describe men who focus on grooming and current styles.
  • Outing - Exposing someone’s sexual orientation to others, usually without their permission, in essence “outing” them form the closet.
  • Queer - Term that is inclusive of people who are not heterosexual-include lesbians, gay men, bisexual people, and transgendered people. For many LGBT people, the word “queer” has a negative connotation and provokes discomfort; however, many younger gay people are comfortable using the term and have “reclaimed” it.
  • Questioning, Curious, Unsure - Terms used to refer to anyone who is unsure of their attractions, usually willing to experience/experiment with gender & sexuality other than heterosexuality.
  • Sex - 1. A biological term dividing a species into male or female, usually on sex chromosomes; hormone levels, secondary sex characteristics, and internal and external genitalia may also be considered criteria. 2. Another term for sexual behavior or gratification. Sex is a biological fact or a sexual act.
  • Sexual behavior - What a person does in terms of sexual acts.
  • Sexuality - The complex range of components which make us sexual beings; includes emotional, physical, and sexual aspects, as well as self-identification (including sexual orientation and gender), behavioral preferences and practices, fantasies, and feelings of affection and emotional affinity.
  • Sexual Orientation - An enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, affectionate, and relational attraction to another person. Can involve fantasy, behavior, and self-identification; a person’s general make-up or alignment in terms of partner attraction. May be a same-sex orientation, male-female orientation, or a bisexual orientation.
  • Transgender - Anyone who bends or challenges “traditional” gender roles. Transgender people transgress norms by wearing clothing not generally associated with their own gender and in some cases modify their bodies to be more like the “other” gender.
  • Transphobia - The fear and hatred of or discomfort with people who are transgendered.
  • Transsexual - A person whose biological sex does not match his or her gender identity. Such a person may undergo surgery to modify sex organs in order to change their gender.
  • Transvestite - An individual who dresses in the “opposite” gender clothing for a variety of reasons.
Safe Zones
246 DiGiorgio Center
Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA
803/323-4515 (Fax)
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