University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
http://www.umn.edu/
612-625-5000

Information for International LGBTQ+ Students

What Does It Mean to Be Gay?

The following definitions are from LGBTSocialWork.com. Visit their website if you would like to know more about identities, gender, sexuality, more terminology.

  • The Spectrum: This is a term used to further explain gender identity and sexual orientation. This term is used instead of categories and labels. For example, “Our sexuality and gender identity aren’t set in stone. In fact, people’s identities can be fluid. THE SPECTRUM can help you visualize how you feel at any given time.”
  • Lesbian: The term used to describe a woman who is physically, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to other women
  • Gay: The term used to describe a man who is physically, romantically, and/or emotionally attracted to other men
  • Bisexual: The term used to describe a person who is physically, romantically, and/or emotionally attracted to men and women
  • Transgender: A term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from their assigned sex at birth. This term encompasses people who are transsexual, gender queer, gender variant and gender nonconforming. Transgender individuals may or may not have medically changed their bodies through hormone therapy or surgery
  • Cisgender: A term used to describe people who agree and feel aligned with the sex they were assigned at birth
  • Queer: A term used to represent all individuals that fall outside of gender and sexuality 'norms'
  • Questioning: A term used to describe when an individual is exploring their own sexual orientation
  • Intersex: A person who is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. These individuals can have varied characteristics and the anatomy does not always show up at birth
  • Asexual: A lack of sexual attraction for other people and in some cases lack of interest in sex. This does not mean that all asexual individuals have no sex drive.
  • Ally: A heterosexual person who supports queer people

Other Resources

Do you understand the terms and might have some ideas, but you want to know what is next? Advocates for Youth developed the following publications, and they are available in several languages on their website.

GPS