The ultimate guide to LGBTQ+ terms: Meanings explained and your questions answered

An open dictionary of LGBTQ+ terms and their meanings with a Pride rainbow shining from the pages

Like any community, the LGBTQ+ world is full of terms, phrases, slang, acronyms and abbreviations – and it’s not always obvious what thir meanings are at first glance.

That’s where the PinkNews Ultimate LGBTQ+ Glossary comes in. We’ve attempted to gather simple definitions for every essential LGBTQ+ term right here in one place. So bookmark it now.

In some cases, we’ve offered more in-depth explainers, so if you’re interested, click the terms in pink for a little more information and insight.

LGBTQ+ terms and their meanings often change and evolve quickly, as does how acceptable their use is (which often depends on who’s using them and where), so we try to keep this guide as up to date as possible.




A person who doesn’t identify as having any gender – male, female or otherwise.


Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) – a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The AIDS stage of illness is defined either by having a CD4+ T cell count below 200 cells per µL or experiencing specific diseases in association with an HIV infection, like pneumocystis pneumonia, cachexia (“wasting syndrome”) and oesophagal candidiasis.

AIDS crisis or AIDS epidemic

Beginning in 1981, the period of several years over which HIV/AIDS spread rapidly among the gay community. Thousands of gay people lost their lives to AIDS-related illness during the 1980s, at a time when the condition was under-researched and considered untreatable.


A person who has sexual interest directed at people other than themselves, often used in asexual discourse. Not to be confused with the Canadian French allosexuel – which means LGBT, or trans or non-heterosexual.


A person who does not identify with a community or group (such as a subset of the LGBT community) but publicly supports that group.

Anal aka Anal sex

Sexual activity involving the penetration of the anus. Often used to described anal penetration with the penis with partners of any sex.


A person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others. Not to be confused with asexual.

Assigned sex

The sex with which a person is assigned at birth, which usually corresponds to the gender identity you were raised with or assumed to have. Preferred by many in the trans community to terms like “genetic”, “biological” or “birth” gender, which suggest that a trans person’s gender identity is less valid than a cis person’s.


A person who has limited or no sexual feelings or desires.

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