53 Gender Identity Terms Every Ally Should Know

Photographed by Stephanie Gonot.
We talk a lot about labels in the LGBTQ+ community. Are labels actually important? Or do they confine people to narrow boxes? Should we even be putting restrictions on gender or sexual orientation by daring to define them?
When it comes to gender identity, those questions have become even more pertinent in recent years, as dating apps like Tinder and social media sites like Facebook have added dozens of new gender options with which users can label themselves.
Ideally, we'd live in a world where everyone could exist as whatever gender they are without constantly having to explain or defend themselves. In a world like that, we might not have to put a name to a gender. But that's not where we're at right now. Instead, we live in a world where gender defaults to man or woman, and society at large rarely talks about genders that exist outside of that binary (and there are many).
Because we live in this world, labels are important. Being able to explain that not all people experience their gender as a man or a woman, but could instead be a mix of the two (bigender) or something entirely different (genderqueer), helps dismantle the rigidity of a gender binary. And having names and definitions for these gender identities can help gender non-conforming people shape an understanding of who they are.
That's why we worked with GLAAD to compile a list of gender identity terms and their definitions — so that maybe someone can find themself in one of these words, or their friends and allies can gain a better understanding of who they are.
Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, and that language around gender identity is constantly changing, so we'll be updating this story regularly with new definitions.
You can check out the full gender identity and sexual orientation glossary we created with GLAAD here.

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