‘yan daudu

A Nigerian Hausa term meaning “men who act like women.”


The state of being cast off. Poststructural explorations find the term’s use inherently disturbing to conventional identity and cultural concepts. One who is abject has been rejected.

ace relationships

An asexual person is known as ace, and they have asexual relationships.


The acronym formed from acquired immune deficiency syndrome, a chronic disease caused by the HIV virus that has disproportionately affected the LGBTQ+ community (particularly gay men, bisexual men, trans women, and men who have sex with men).


A Hawaiian term used in precolonial times for same-sex relationships between men.


Building a supportive relationship with a marginalized or mistreated group of people that one is not a part of, an effort that continues even when that relationship threatens one’s comfort, status, or relationships with one’s group.


The longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America.


A term used in a variety of contexts, usually by nationalist movements that want to secede from a larger polity (usually in the form of an empire but also in a multiethnic sovereign state) or as a specific theory opposed to capitalism in Marxist–Leninist discourse, derived from Vladimir Lenin’s work Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism.

Anti-Violence Project (AVP)

A national organization dedicated to reducing violence and its impacts on LGBTQ+ individuals in the United States.


The study of history with particular attention to ancient artifacts and archaeological and historical sites.


A Cherokee term for two-spirit people.


A strategy or one who enacts such strategy to gain access to, or assimilate into, existing social structures, like monogamous marriage or serving in the U.S. military.

assimilationist (Chapter 5)

A political approach that focuses on fixing the system from within, trying hard to fit into the status quo; integrating.

assimilationist (Chapter 8)

Fixing the system from within, trying to fit into the status quo; integrating.


The positive and negative emotions, beliefs, and behaviors that a person holds or exhibits toward another person, group, object, or event.

attitudes (Chapter 8)

Positive or negative affective evaluations of someone or something.

aversive prejudice

A theory of prejudice, originally proposed in the 1980s in the context of aversive racism, that suggests that negative attitudes toward marginalized groups are sometimes manifested indirectly through feelings of discomfort and the avoidance of members of those groups.


In the Philippines, a person who was assigned male at birth but, usually, adopts feminine mannerisms and dresses as a woman. Bakla are often considered a third gender. Many bakla are exclusively attracted to men but are not necessarily gay. Some self-identify as women.


Before the late twentieth century, a term bestowed by anthropologists who were not Native American, or First Nations in Canada, people to broadly identify an Indigenous individual fulfilling one of many mixed-gender roles in a tribe. Anthropologists often applied this term to any male whom they perceived to be homosexual, bisexual, or effeminate by Western social standards, leading to a wide variety of individuals being categorized under what is now considered a pejorative term.


Someone who either has the experience of two genders, which can be binary or nonbinary, or experiences both genders simultaneously or alternates between them.


Intolerance or bias toward an identity or group of people.

Bill of Rights

The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution containing specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights, clear limitations on the government’s power in judicial and other proceedings, and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically granted to the U.S. Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people.

binary oppositions

Words and concepts that are considered to be direct opposites, such as man and woman, male and female.


A scientific discipline concerned with the biological and behavioral aspects of human beings, their extinct hominin ancestors, and related nonhuman primates, particularly from an evolutionary perspective.


Those who study human remains in archaeological sites. First coined by British archaeologist Grahame Clark in 1972 as a reference to zooarchaeology, the study of animal bones from archaeological sites.


Romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior toward both males and females or toward more than one sex or gender.


A Zapotec term similar to the Oaxacan muxe describing a male-bodied individual who acts and dresses in feminine ways.

blended family

A couple with children from previous relationships.

calling in

Approaching problematic behavior or language with sympathy; asking why the behavior occurred, explaining why it is oppressive, and devising a new course of action collaboratively.

calling out

Approaching problematic behavior or language combatively; striving to shame a group or individual for their behavior to serve as a warning to others.


An aesthetic that privileges poor taste, shock value, and irony and poses an intentional challenge to the traditional attributes of high art. It is often characterized by showiness, extreme artifice, and tackiness.

castration anxiety

A feature of Sigmund Freud’s theory of the Oedipal crisis whereby a boy realizes that not everyone has a penis, which prompts anxiety that he could lose his. The boy’s recognition of adult male status and possessiveness leads to fear that the father would castrate him if he acted on his desire for the mother and to anticipation of gaining that status later in life.

Charlene A. Carruthers

A Black queer feminist activist and organizer. Her work aims to create young leaders in marginalized communities to fight for community interests and liberation.


Property that is movable; in terms of slavery, people are treated as the personal property of the person who claims to own them and are bought and sold as commodities.


A person whose gender identity aligns with the sex assigned to them at birth.


Viewing all people as cisgender, or those whose gender aligns with the sex assigned at birth.

Comics Code

Regulations imposed by the Comics Code Authority that prohibited morally objectionable material, such as graphic violence and sexual content, and restricted story lines.

coming out

Also known as coming out of the closet; a process in the lives of LGBTQ+ people of disclosing one’s sexual orientation or gender identity to others.

Compton’s Cafeteria riot

The Compton’s Cafeteria riot occurred in August 1966 in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. The incident was one of the first riots concerning LGBTQ+ people in U.S. history, preceding the more famous 1969 Stonewall rebellion in New York City. It marked the beginning of transgender activism in San Francisco.

compulsory heterosexuality

An idea, proposed by the feminist writer and scholar Adrienne Rich in 1980, that patriarchy and heteronormativity cause society to assume and mandate heterosexuality in everyone.


The view that identity is a sociocultural construct that influences identity formation.

contact hypothesis

A theory, introduced by the psychologist Gordon Allport in the 1950s, suggesting that, under the right conditions, prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination can be reduced or eliminated by encouraging interaction between members of the majority and the minority groups.


The substance of a story, typically entailing narrative, characters, and dialogue.


A confrontation or opposition to a status quo or hegemonic power and its legitimacy in politics, but also appears in other spheres of life, such as history, media, and music.


A legal doctrine whereby, upon marriage, a woman’s legal rights and obligations are subsumed by those of her husband.

critical theory

The reflective assessment and critique of society and culture by applying knowledge from the social sciences and the humanities to reveal and challenge power structures. Critical theory has origins in sociology and also in literary criticism.


A Japanese term literally meaning “herbivore men,” describing men who have no interest in getting married or finding a girlfriend. Herbivore men also describes young men who have lost their manliness.

Defense of Marriage Act of 1996

A U.S. federal law passed by the 104th Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, defining marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman. The law allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted under the laws of other states. However, the provisions were ruled unconstitutional or left effectively unenforceable by Supreme Court decisions in the cases of United States v. Windsor (2013) and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015).


Behavior that deviates from the norm and that society considers immoral, inferior, pathological, and—in relation to evolutionary theory—a retreat from progress.

degeneracy (Chapter 7)

Also known as degeneration theory; nineteenth-century theory that homosexuality and bisexuality were akin to criminality, alcoholism, and drug addiction.

Dignity for All Students Act

A law in New York State passed in 2010 that seeks to eliminate discrimination and bullying (based on race, physical size, national origin, ethnicity, religion, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex) in schools through education, modification of district codes of conduct, and the mandated collection and reporting of incident data.

disadvantaged social status

A lower place within the social hierarchy of a society, often defined by a lower level of power, lower social value, and exclusion from full and equal access to material and symbolic forms of citizenship.


An institutionalized way of thinking and speaking, which creates a social boundary defining what can be said about a specific topic.


The unjust or prejudicial treatment of an individual or group based on their actual or perceived membership in a particular group or class of people (e.g., race, gender identity, or sexual orientation).

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

The U.S. military’s policy on gays, bisexuals, and lesbians serving in the military, introduced in 1994 by Bill Clinton’s administration. The policy required gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons to remain closeted while in the military. In exchange, it prohibited the discrimination of closeted service persons.


Refers to the performance of femininity or masculinity, and is most frequently used to describe the performance of gender expressions that differ from those associated with the performer’s natal sex assignment.

drag queen

Most often someone who identifies as a man who behaves in an exaggerated performance of femininity. Drag queens are often associated with gay culture.

drag queens (Chapter 2)

People who use stereotypically gendered clothing and makeup to imitate and often exaggerate gender signifiers and gender roles in an entertainment performance. Drag queens are associated with gay men and gay culture.

Edward Carpenter

British activist who advocated on behalf of homosexuals like himself and for women’s rights, vegetarianism, and socialism. His 1914 Intermediate Types among Primitive Folk describes nonheteronormative genders and sexualities among peoples in tribal and ancient societies as naturally benefiting individuals and society.


The political philosophy of believing in the equality of all and in the elimination of inequality.

ego-defensive reaction

A response to another person or group that is motivated by the unconscious need to avoid disturbing or threatening thoughts, such as feelings of guilt.

Enforcement Act of 1871

An act of the U.S. Congress that empowered the president to suspend the writ of habeas corpus to combat the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations. Also known as the Ku Klux Klan Act.


The view of sexuality that assumes individuals possess a fixed and innate sexual identity that is both universal and transhistorical.

essentialist (Chapter 4)

The view that every entity has a set of attributes that are necessary to its identity and function.


A term used in social sciences and anthropology to describe the act of judging another culture by the values and standards of one’s own culture in the belief that one’s culture is superior, especially with respect to language, behavior, customs, and religion.


An account of social life and culture in a particular time and place, written by an anthropologist. The account is based on detailed observations of people interacting in a particular social setting over time.

extended family

The kin or relatives outside the nuclear or single-parent family; may include aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, or others related by blood or marriage.

fa’afafine or fa’atane

People who identify themselves as having a third-gender or nonbinary role in Samoa, American Samoa, and the Samoan diaspora. It is a recognized gender identity or gender role in traditional Samoan society and an integral part of Samoan culture. Fa’afafine are assigned male at birth and explicitly embody both masculine and feminine gender traits in a way unique to Polynesia.


A term from 1800s New York applied to effeminate working-class men.


In the context of human society, a group of people related by either consanguinity (by recognized birth), affinity (by marriage or other relationship), coresidence (as implied by the word’s etymology, from the Latin familia), or some combination of these.

family of choice

A deliberately chosen group of people that satisfies the typical role of family as a support system. These people may or may not be related to the person who chose them.

federally protected activities

The portion of Section 245 of Title 18 that makes it unlawful to willfully injure, intimidate, or interfere with any person, or to attempt to do so, by force or threat of force, because of that other person’s race, color, religion, or national origin and because of their activity as a student at a public school or college, participant in a state or local government program, job applicant, juror, traveler, or patron of a public place.

female husbands

Describes the union of two women in marriage in many African cultures, including the Nandi of Kenya.


A range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes.


A member of a population of homosexual males with markedly feminine gender expression in traditional Neapolitan culture. The plural is femminielli.


The way a story is told, including choices such as editing, cinematography, wardrobe, and framing.

Fourteenth Amendment

Adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments, this amendment to the U.S. Constitution addresses citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws and is one of the most litigated parts of the Constitution.

gay-straight alliances

School-based organizations of LGBTQ+ youth and allies who meet to support LGBTQ+ students. This can involve advocacy and activism, as well as a social component.


The range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex (i.e., the state of being male, female, or an intersex variation), sex-based social structures (i.e., gender roles), or gender identity. Some societies have genders that are in addition to male and female and are neither, such as the hijras of South Asia; these are often referred to as third genders. Some anthropologists and sociologists have described fourth and fifth genders.

gender binary

The idea that there are only two genders, male and female, and that everyone should and will identify accordingly.

gender complementarity

Men and women (and other genders, if they are recognized) play similarly important roles but in different areas of social life. Gender complementarity more accurately describes gender relations than gender hierarchy in some times and places.

gender dysphoria

The distress individuals feel if their gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth.

gender dysphoria (Chapter 7)

The distress a person feels because of a mismatch between their gender identity and their sex assigned at birth.

gender expression

A person’s behavior, mannerisms, interests, and appearance that are associated with gender in a particular cultural context, specifically with the categories of femininity or masculinity.

gender expression (Chapter 10)

The external presentation of gender, through body language, pronoun choice, and style of dress.

gender fluidity

Cultural ideas about gender frequently imply that one’s gender identity is fixed and unchanging. Gender fluidity describes situations in which a person’s gender identity may change throughout the life cycle or in different contexts.

gender hierarchy

How genders are ranked. Men are typically ranked higher than women, having more power, prestige, and so on.

gender identity

The personal sense of one’s gender, which can correlate with assigned sex at birth or can differ from it.

gender nonconformity

A behavior or gender expression by an individual that does not match masculine or feminine gender norms.

gender parallelism

Men and women (and other genders, if culturally recognized) have similar levels of power and prestige but in different areas of social life. Often used interchangeably with gender complementarity and as an alternative to gender hierarchy in some times and places (e.g., in the Inca empire).

gender variance

Behavior or gender expression by an individual that does not match masculine or feminine gender norms. Also called gender nonconformity.

gender-affirming hormone therapy

Hormone therapy in which sex hormones and other hormonal medications are administered to transgender or gender-nonconforming individuals to more closely align their secondary sexual characteristics with their gender identity.

gender-affirming surgery

Also known as sex reassignment surgery; surgical procedures by which a transgender person’s physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are altered to resemble those socially associated with their identified gender.


A person whose gender identity is not static, not solely male or female, and sometimes not completely fitting either category.

hate crimes

Crimes, such as assault, bullying, harassment, vandalism, and abuse, that are motivated by prejudice toward a certain group and that in some jurisdictions incur harsher penalties.

hate-crime legislation

State and federal laws intended to protect against hate crimes (also known as bias crimes) motivated by enmity or animus against a protected class of persons. Although state laws vary, current statutes permit federal prosecution of hate crimes committed on the basis of a person’s protected characteristics of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.

Havelock Ellis

The British physician who coauthored Sexual Inversion in 1897. The medical textbook claimed inversion was an involuntary physiological abnormality of the body on the basis of the authors’ interpretation of cross-cultural examples. Ellis argued that inversion should not be criminalized because it could not be helped.


Biologically, an organism that has complete or partial reproductive organs and produces gametes normally associated with both male and female sexes.


A societal belief that makes heterosexuality the default and assumes that everyone is heterosexual until proved otherwise; normalizing heterosexuality and othering any other identity or experience apart from heterosexuality.


The belief that heterosexuality, predicated on the gender binary, is the norm or default sexual orientation.

heteronormativity (Chapter 10)

Policies, beliefs, and behaviors that assume everyone adheres to the gender binary, or that everyone is heterosexual.

heteronormativity (Chapter 6)

A societal belief that makes heterosexuality the default and assumes that everyone is heterosexual until proven otherwise; a belief normalizing heterosexuality and othering any other identity or experience apart from heterosexuality.

heteronormativity (Chapter 9)

Viewing all people as heterosexual, or those who feel attraction to the “opposite” sex.


An attitude and belief based on the idea that everyone is heterosexual or that heterosexuality is the only acceptable sexual orientation.

heterosexism (Chapter 8)

Bias that suggests that heterosexuality, or heterosexual relationships, are superior to any other relationships (e.g., queer, gay, lesbian).


Policies, beliefs, or behaviors enacted by straight people that discriminate against queer people.


Romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior between persons of the opposite sex or gender.


A eunuch, intersex, or transgender person. Hijras are officially recognized as a third gender in countries on the Indian subcontinent and considered neither completely male nor female.


Academics and activists use the term to discuss attempts by LGBTQ+ persons to assimilate into institutions like marriage and the military that reproduce hierarchy and are associated with oppression.

homonormativity (Chapter 10)

A political and sometimes narrative approach that works to establish LGBTQ+ lives as no different from straight lives beyond the genders one is attracted to. It is an assimilation-based approach that invokes the rhetoric of sameness in appeals for civil rights and social acceptance.

homophile movement

Emerging in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1950s, the movement was a concerted effort to demand equal rights for homosexuals.

homophile movement (Chapter 4)

Coined by the German astrologist, author, and psychoanalyst Karl-Günther Heimsoth in his 1924 doctoral dissertation “Hetero- und Homophilie,” homophile was in common use in the 1950s and 1960s by homosexual organizations and publications; the groups of this period are now known collectively as the homophile movement.


Negative or hostile attitudes toward people who identify as, or are perceived to be, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Biphobia and transphobia are also used to describe negative or hostile attitudes toward people who identify, or are perceived to be, bisexual or transgender.

homophobia (Chapter 10)

Fear or hatred for queerness and queer people.


A person with a romantic attraction to, sexual attraction to, or sexual behavior with others of the same sex or gender.

Human Rights Campaign

The largest U.S.-based LGBTQ+ advocacy group. It works for legal protections for LGBTQ+ persons, such as promoting legislation to prevent discrimination and hate crimes.


In psychology, the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks, or expressions that make up a person (self-identity) or group (particular social category or social group).

identity recognition

The event of LGBTQ+ individuals first identifying their sexual or gender identity.


A measure of the probability of occurrence of a given medical condition in a population within a specified period of time.


Using the first letters of words to create an abbreviation, for instance, LGBTQ+.

internalized heterosexism

Heterosexism that an individual believes and therefore replicates and incorporates internally.

internalized homophobia

The acceptance or incorporation of anti-LGBTQ+ prejudice or stereotypes by LGBTQ+ people.


Overlapping or intersecting social identities, such as race, class, and gender, that are produced by social structures of inequality.


Social identities, such as race, class, and gender, that overlap or intersect and the related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination.

intersectionality (Chapter 4)

Refers to an analytic framework used to understand how social identities, including race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability, intersect to influence the discrimination or privilege an individual faces within society. The term was coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw.

intersectionality (Chapter 7)

Overlapping or intersecting social identities, such as race, class, and gender, and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination.


Persons who do not have chromosomes, gonads, or genitals that meet medical expectations and definitions of sex within a binary system.

intersex (Chapter 11)

A person born with one of several forms of anatomical sex characteristics.

intersex (Chapter 2)

Individuals born with any of several combinations in sex characteristics, including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals.

intersex (Chapter 7)

People born with any of several variations in sex characteristics, including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals.


An early theory of homosexuality developed by Havelock Ellis and John Addington Symonds that suggested same-sex desire was influenced by inborn psychic identification with femininity for men and masculinity for women.


Used by sexologists, primarily in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, to refer to homosexuals. Sexual inversion was believed to be an inborn reversal of gender traits: male inverts were inclined to traditionally female pursuits and dress and vice versa for female inverts.

Iwan Bloch

A German psychiatrist-sexologist who advocated repeal of Paragraph 175 and challenged the popular idea that homosexuality was a degeneracy related to the presence of opposite-sex characteristics. His anthropological and historical evidence argued that because same-sex behavior existed around the world, it should be understood as naturally occurring difference.

Jack Halberstam

Also known as Judith Halberstam, a gender and queer theorist and author, perhaps best known for work on tomboys and female masculinity.

John Addington Symonds

The British literary critic and historian who coauthored Sexual Inversion in 1897. Symonds was at the forefront of homosexual rights activism in England, where, until 1866, homosexuality was punishable by death. In Symonds’s life and through 1967, British law still criminalized homosexual behavior.

José Esteban Muñoz

An academic in the fields of performance studies, visual culture, queer theory, cultural studies, and critical theory. His book Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics (1999) uses performance studies to investigate the performance, activism, and survival of queer people of color.

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs

The German lawyer in sexology who theorized that male desire for men existed because such men had a female psyche (mind, soul, spirit) and who argued that consensual adult love was a human right.

Karl-Maria Kertbeny

The Austro-Hungarian human rights journalist and sexologist who coined the words heterosexual and homosexual in 1868 as two forms of strong sex drive apart from reproductive goals. Initially both terms included an idea of excessive behavior.


In Thailand, describes a male-to-female transgender person or person of a third gender or an effeminate homosexual male.

kinnar or kinner

The preferred term of members of the hijra community in India, referring to the mythological beings that excel at song and dance.


Another term for kathoey.

looted artifact

An artifact that has been removed from its original archaeological context, usually illegally, by nonarchaeologists who do not record contextual information. Looted artifacts are often sold on the art market away from their place of origin. Archaeologists despise looting because an artifact without context is much less informative about the culture that produced it than an artifact with contextual information.

Magnus Hirschfeld

A German physician who advocated for homosexual rights from 1896 through 1935 in his publications, by forming the Scientific Humanitarian Committee in 1897 and by creating a private sexology research institute in 1919 in Germany.


The word for “in the middle” in Kanaka Maoli (Hawaiian) and Maohi (Tahitian) cultures describing third-gender persons with traditional spiritual and social roles within the culture.


To be rendered less important, less powerful, and less visible than what is considered the norm or mainstream.

marriage equality

The recognition of same-sex marriage as a human and civil right, as well as recognition by law and support of societal institutions.


An archaeological region defined by precontact cultural traits such as a distinctive calendar system, maize agriculture, and state-level political organization. It extended from northern Mexico through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica. Within this region pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas.


Common verbal, behavioral, or environmental insults, indignities, and slights that cause harm by communicating, intentionally or unintentionally, hostility and prejudice toward members of a marginalized group.


A term introduced by Eve Sedgwick to describe the view of homosexuality as relevant only to homosexuals. This view sees homosexuals as a specific group of people, a minority, within a largely heterosexual world.

minority stress

Social stress resulting from being a member of a social group or having a social identity that is stigmatized by society.

minority stress (Chapter 8)

Health disparities often found in minority groups can be explained in part by the discrimination they endure, and this discrimination causes stress and illness; Ilan Meyer developed this sociobehavioral theory.

minority stress model

A sociological model, as proposed by Ilan Meyer, explaining why sexual minority individuals, on average, experience higher rates of mental health problems relative to their straight peers.

modern prejudice

Prejudice that is expressed toward an individual through subtle discriminatory behaviors, denial that ongoing discrimination against that group continues, or the suggestion that the marginalized group is trying to advance too far, too fast.

molly house

A meeting place in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England, generally taverns, public houses, or coffeehouses, where homosexual men could socialize or meet sexual partners.

muxe or muxhe

In Zapotec cultures of Oaxaca (southern Mexico), a person who is assigned male at birth but who dresses and behaves in ways otherwise associated with women; the person may be seen as a third gender.


Literally meaning “male colors” in Japanese and widely used to refer to male-to-male sex in premodern Japan.


A political ideology that espouses economic liberalism, such as trade liberalization and financial deregulation, and small government. It accepts greater economic inequality and disfavors unionization.

Ninth Amendment

A part of the Bill of Rights, this amendment addresses rights, retained by the people, that are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution.


A person whose gender identity is not exclusively male or female. Some transgender people are nonbinary.

nondiscrimination laws

Also called antidiscrimination laws; refers to legislation designed to prevent discrimination against particular groups of people.


An umbrella term for every practice or philosophy of nondyadic intimate relationship that does not strictly hew to the standards of monogamy, particularly that of having only one person with whom to exchange sex, love, and affection.

nonmonogamous families

Couples who have children and who engage consensually in sexual activities with other adults outside each couple.

nonmonogamous relationships

Deep, close, relationships between two or more people who may engage consensually in sexual activities with others outside the relationship.


Normativity is the phenomenon in human societies of designating some actions or outcomes as good or desirable or permissible and others as bad or undesirable or impermissible


Collective representations of acceptable group conduct as well as individual perceptions of particular group conduct.


Containing layers of meaning, having subtle differences.

nuclear family

A couple and their dependent children; typically assumed to be a heterosexual couple.

Oedipal crisis

A stage in Sigmund Freud’s theory that follows the stages of infants’ unfocused sexuality and infants’ focus on their mother as the object of desire. Freud posited that both girls and boys passed through an Oedipal crisis when they came to want a penis. Freud attributed a girl’s rejection of her mother in favor of her father to the girl’s realization that she did not have a penis, being drawn to her father who did. In Freud’s formulation, a boy moved from an active desire for his mother to a passive identification with his father as a result of castration anxiety.


The sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction toward people regardless of their sex or gender identity.

Paragraph 175 of the German Imperial Penal Code

A German anti-sodomy law in effect from 1871 to 1969 that spurred activism for its repeal.


In the context of gender, this refers to someone, typically either a transgender person or cross-dresser, who is perceived as the gender they wish to present as.


Representing a trait, behavior, or identity as a sickness or inevitable tragedy.


A society, or belief system, that favors or privileges men at the expense of women, in which men hold most of the power and control most of the wealth, and in which women are marginalized.


A linguistics term referring to utterances that do not just describe the world but change it (e.g., “I pronounce you husband and wife”).


The capacity of language and expressive actions to produce a type of being.

performativity (Chapter 2,3)

Popularized by the scholar Judith Butler in gender studies, the term highlights the idea that gender is not a given but must be continually demonstrated through word, action, dress, and so on. The concept derives from the linguistics term performative.


A term various sexologists used regarding sexual behaviors and attractions that were not specifically about reproductive sexuality. Sigmund Freud included as perversions any acts outside of reproduction such as touching and kissing but did so without the condemning attitude, such as Richard von Krafft-Ebing had.


Formerly known as Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; an organization that supports the family and friends of LGBTQ+ people as they seek to understand and affirm their LGBTQ+ loved ones.


The practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved. A polyamorous family is one made up of more than two sexual or romantic partners and their dependent children.


The contexts that make up an individual’s identity, such as race, class, gender, and sexuality, and how these affect the person’s view of the world.


Negative emotions, beliefs, or behaviors toward an individual, based on the person’s group membership and not based on prior knowledge or experience with that individual.

prejudice (Chapter 10)

A preconceived positive or (usually) negative feeling toward someone or something.


The proportion of a particular population affected by a condition (typically a disease or a risk factor such as smoking or seat belt use).

primary sources

Firsthand records and documents or original artifacts that are analyzed, studied, and interpreted. They include poems, legal documents, recordings, and any other direct evidence of a historical person, event, or topic.


Receiving advantages that are not available to everyone.


The methodological study of cultural change and variability in archaeology.

public opinion polls

Surveys to measure the views, attitudes, or opinions of the general public on topics, issues, or social problems.

public sphere

Where identity should be abandoned to maintain the myth of universality.


Pertaining to a person or group that does not fall within the gender binary of heterosexuality.

queer theory

A field of critical theory that emerged in the early 1990s out of the fields of lesbian and gay studies and women’s studies. Queer theory seeks to challenge and overturn sex and gender binaries and the normative expectations that support those binaries.


Portrayal of a person or group by a representative who acts for them or in their interests.


An individual’s ability to recover, or bounce back, from a stressful or traumatic experience.


The effort of a social group or social movement to challenge or struggle against another group, policy, or government that is oppressing them.

Richard von Krafft-Ebing

A German psychiatrist-sexologist who theorized that anything outside reproductive sex was inferior and immoral deviation. He produced a book categorizing deviance and argued in favor of anti-sodomy laws.

right-wing authoritarianism

A personality characteristic of individuals who easily submit and defer to leaders, or authority figures, they perceive as strong and legitimate; they tend to adhere to social norms and hold negative attitudes toward anyone who challenges those norms, and they support the use of force to preserve norms and bring social order.

romantic friendships

Also called passionate friendships or affectionate friendships, very close but typically nonsexual relationships between friends, often involving a degree of physical closeness beyond what is common in contemporary Western societies.

same-gender attraction

Attraction between members of the same gender.

same-sex marriage

The marriage of two people of the same sex or gender in a civil or religious ceremony.

same-sex relationships

Sexual or romantic relationships involving two partners who share the sex assigned at birth and gender identity.


A Tanala Malagasy term referring to third-gender males who adopt the behavior and roles of women.

sex assignment

The determination of an infant’s sex at birth.

sex reassignment surgery

Also known as gender-affirming surgery; surgical procedures by which a transgender person’s physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are altered to resemble those socially associated with their identified gender.

sex-gender system

A phrase coined by Gayle Rubin to describe the social apparatus that oppresses women.


The scientific study of human sexuality, including human sexual interests, behaviors, and functions.

sexual minority individuals

People who have sexual identities that are not straight, including but not limited to lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and pansexual.


The way people experience and express themselves sexually and involving biological, erotic, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual feelings and behaviors.

sexually transmitted infections

Pathogens that are commonly spread by sexual activity, especially vaginal intercourse, anal sex, and oral sex.

shudo and wakashudo

The Japanese words for “the ways of teenage and adolescent boys,” respectively.

Sigmund Freud

An Austrian founder of psychoanalysis famous for his developmental theory that all individuals pass through mental-emotional stages (including the Oedipal crisis) that end with achieving heterosexuality or being diverted to other forms of desire. Freud rejected the ideas that homosexuality was an immoral, criminal condition or that sexuality was innate. He considered people to be innately desiring beings whose desire society directed by prescribing what sexualities were acceptable and preferred.

single-parent family

A one-parent-headed family (typically one parent with a dependent child or children).

social construction

A theory of knowledge in sociology and communication theory that examines the development of jointly constructed understandings of the world that form the basis for shared assumptions about reality.

social stress

Stress that emanates from a person’s relationships with other people, other communities, and the general social environment.

sociocultural anthropology

Refers to social anthropology and cultural anthropology together, focusing on the study of human culture and society.


People who engage in nonreproductive sex acts, especially anal or oral sex.


Anal or oral sex.


Negative, positive, or neutral beliefs about the members of a group that are often unsubstantiated.

Stonewall rebellion

A series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT community against a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City.

Susan Stryker

An American professor, author, filmmaker, and theorist whose work focuses on gender and human sexuality, and a founder of Transgender Studies.

symbolic prejudice

A subtle and indirect form of prejudice toward a group that can manifest as the rejection of the policies and initiatives that are designed to help that group achieve equality while also expressing support for the equality of that group.


The Maori word meaning a devoted partner of the same sex.


The practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification.

third gender

A concept in which individuals are categorized, either by themselves or by society, as neither man nor woman.

third sex

A concept in which individuals are categorized, either by themselves or by society, as neither man nor woman.


The condition of individuals who experience a stressful or traumatic event and who not only bounce back but flourish as a result of the event.

Title IX

A federal law banning discrimination based on sex at schools receiving federal funding. This includes harassment and discrimination for failing to conform to gender expectations and is interpreted to often include LGBTQ+ persons.


A West Sumatran term for women who dress like men and have relationships with women.


A person whose gender identity or gender expression differs from the sex assigned at birth.


Evolving from sex assigned at birth to gender identity.


In South America, a gender identity describing people assigned male at birth who take on a feminine gender role and gender expression, especially through the use of feminizing body modifications such as hormone replacement therapy, breast implants, and silicone injections.


A pattern, phrase, rhetorical device, or plot point that has been used so often it can be categorized and anticipated.


Commonly used themes and literary devices.


A word-search method using the root of a word within a title or keyword search regardless of the word ending. An asterisk (*) in many databases signifies that the search should include multiple word endings.

two spirit

A modern umbrella term used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe Native people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender (or other gender-variant) ceremonial role in their cultures.

two-spirit people

A modern umbrella term used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe Native people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender (or other gender variant) ceremonial role in their cultures.

United States v. Harris

In this case, also known as the Ku Klux Case, the U.S. Supreme Court held that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to penalize crimes such as assault and murder. It declared that the local governments have the power to penalize these crimes.


A term introduced by Eve Sedgwick to describe viewing sexuality and sexual definition as important to everyone, rather than focusing on homosexuals as a distinct group.


Karl Heinrich Ulrichs’s term from Plato’s Symposium for his 1860s theory that male-male love was biologically inborn and reflected one partner having an internal “female psyche.”


The Japanese term for “young person” (although never used for girls); it is a historical Japanese term indicating an adolescent boy, and in Edo-period Japan, considered as suitable objects of erotic desire for young women, older women, and older men.


Effeminate men who had a range of institutional roles in Aztec society.


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Introduction to LGBTQ+ Studies: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach Copyright © by State University of New York is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.