Educate Yourself

When Trying To Understand Issues Around The LGBTI Community, It's Important to Familiarize Yourself With The Following Terms.

Asexual Lack of (interest in and desire for sex) sexual attraction.

BisexualA sexual orientation and identity. Bisexual people have an attraction to people of the same and opposite sex on various levels (emotionally, physically, intellectually, spiritually, and sexually). Not necessarily at the same time and not necessarily an equal amount of attraction.

Cisgender Cisgender people are those whose gender identity matches their sex at birth e.g. a cisman would be a person who is born male and presents himself as masculine and a ciswoman is a person who is born female and presents herself as feminine. The Latin prefix cis stands for 'on the same side,' while the prefix trans stands for 'on the opposite side.' This has a more positive connotation than 'normal' or 'non-transgender.'

Coming out A term describing the complex process where an individual realises they are not heterosexual and the process of resolving related conflicts due to heteronormativity (where heterosexuality is being internalised and viewed as the norm). Coming out is a process of how one wants to be identified.

FTM/Trans man A transman, or female-to-male, starts his life with a female body, but his gender identity is male. Always use male pronouns in reference.

Gay A male - same sexual identity and orientation. Attraction between two males on various levels (emotionally, physically, intellectually, spiritually, and sexually).

Gender Socially constructed characteristics assigned that may vary according to the times and the society or group one belongs to, and which are learned or assigned to women and men. It is a broader concept than the mere biological differences between men and women, and includes masculine and feminine traits. Unequal power is afforded to males.

Gender dysphoria The medical diagnosis for someone who experiences a disconnection between their assigned and preferred gender. Some transgender people disagree with the categorisation of gender dysphoria as a medical condition because it relies on an understanding of what "normal" gender is.

Gender identity Refers to a person's persistent and consistent sense of being male, female or androgynous. An internalised representation of gender roles and an awareness from infancy which is reinforced during adolescence.

Genderqueer An umbrella term for gender identities other than man and woman that are outside of the gender binary (male and female) and heteronormativity. Genderqueer people may think of themselves as both man and woman (bigender), neither man nor woman (agender), moving between genders (genderfluid), and/or third gendered

Gender role Socially constructed or learned behaviors that condition activities, tasks, and responsibilities viewed within a given society as "masculine" or "feminine".

Heterosexual / Straight Attraction between two people of the opposite sex on various levels (emotionally, physically, intellectually, spiritually, and sexually) where the sex of the attracted person is the key to the attraction.

Homophobia Irrational fear of homosexual feelings, thoughts, behaviours, or people and an undervaluing of homosexual identities resulting in prejudice, discrimination and bias against homosexual individuals.

Homo-prejudice Prejudice against people of diverse sexual identities

Homosexual Attraction between two people of the same sex on various levels (emotionally, physically, intellectually, spiritually, and sexually) where the sex of the attracted person is the key to the attraction.

Human rights The basic rights and freedoms that all people are entitled to regardless of nationality, sex, age, nationality or ethnic origin, race, religion, language, or other status. The other status refers to e.g. a person's HIV status. Sexual orientation and gender identity are also basic human rights. Internalised homophobia When a homosexual individual internalises (make it their own) the shame and hatred projected onto gays and lesbians by a homophobic society.

Intersex Born with ambiguous genitalia, or sex organs that are not clearly distinguished as female or male.

Lesbian A female sexual identity and orientation which is an attraction between two females on various levels (emotionally, physically, intellectually, spiritually, and sexually).

MTF / Trans woman A transwoman, or male-to-female, starts her life with a male body, but her gender identity is female. Always use female pronouns in reference.

MSM Men who have sex with men. A sexual practice irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity. An MSM can be hetero-, bi-,homosexual or trans. This term is more technical and is not necessarily an identity.

Sex A biological construct of a human being. "What's in the pants?" Male genitals - penis, testes, testosterone and genetic make-up and females- breasts, vagina, oestrogen, progesterone and genetic make-up.

Sexuality How people experience and express themselves as sexual beings, within the concepts of biological sex, gender identity and presentation, attractions and practices. Culture and religion have a huge impact on how individuals see themselves as sexual beings, especially within relations of power.

Sexual fluidity Sexuality varying across time and situation, particularly for women. Fluidity offers a more inclusive definition than the more limiting conventional labels we have become accustomed to using to define sexual identity. Sexual fluidity, quite simply, means situation-dependent flexibility in women's sexual responsiveness. This flexibility makes it possible for some women to experience desires for either men or women under certain circumstances, regardless of their overall sexual orientation. In other words, though women - like men - appear to be born with distinct sexual orientations, these orientations do not provide the last word on their sexual attractions and experiences.

Sexual identity The overall sexual self identity which includes how the person identifies as male, female, masculine, feminine, or some combination, and the person's sexual orientation.

Sexual minority A group whose sexual identity, orientation or practices differ from the majority of the surrounding society.

Sexual orientation Attraction between any two people on various levels (emotionally, physically, intellectually, spiritually, and sexually). Attraction to the other person's sex and or gender presentation is the point of departure.

Sexual practices All behaviour that creates sexual pleasure, practiced by one or more than one person, individually, or together.

Stigma This is when a certain individual, with certain characteristics, e.g. HIV positive individual or trans woman, is rejected by their community or society because of that characteristic which might be considered as "abnormal". These individuals' lives might be at risk, possibly being threatened and abused.

Transgender An umbrella term which is often used to describe a wide range of identities and experiences, including transsexuals, FTMs, MTFs, transvestites, cross-dressers, drag queens and kings, two-spirits, gender-queers, and many more

Transphobia The irrational fear of, and/or hostility towards people who are transgender or who otherwise transgress traditional gender norms. Because our culture is often very transphobic, transgender people can often have internalised transphobia and experience feelings of insignificance and self-prejudice

Transsexual A transgender person in the process of seeking or undergoing some form of medical treatment to bring their body and gender identity into closer alignment. Not all transgender people undergo reassignment surgery

WSW Women who have sex with women. A sexual practice irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity. A WSW can be hetero-, bi- or homosexual. This term is more technical and is not necessarily an identity..

It is important to understand and recognize that there are misconceptions and stereotypes about members of the LGBTI community and HIV that exist, and because of this reality, it is important to be aware of what they are. Here are some of those :
  • LGBTI people do not have a higher risk for HIV transmission than the heterosexual population.
  • Lesbians don't have sex; therefore they are not at risk for HIV.
  • Masculine MSM, gay and bisexual men are always the 'top', in other words anal penetrative partner and therefore not at risk for HIV transmission.
  • Transgender and intersex people cannot have sex and therefore are not at risk for HIV transmission.
  • Two gay men who are both HIV positive can have unprotected anal sex, since they are both positive anyway.
  • That lesbian women are/want to be men.
  • That gay men are/want to be women.
  • That all people who identify as LGBTI community members are demons or possessed.
  • That promescuity comes as a pre-requisite for identifying as a member of the LGBTI community.
  • LGBTI people are the cause of HIV/AIDS
  • That all transgender people are depressed.
  • That it is just a phase.
  • That Transgender Women are not really 'Women'.
  • That Transgender Men are not really 'Men'.
  • That all transgender people are crossdressers.
  • That it is a choice to be trans,gay, lesbian or bisexual.
  • LGBTI community members all had bad childhoods with either absent fathers or overbearing mothers.
  • That it is a sin to be in or apart of the LGBTI community.
  • That one's 'condition' being a member of the LGBTI community can be cured.
  • That LGBTI community members can't have a familiy.
  • That all trans people want/have surgeries.

Sexual Orientation

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