C to D - LGBTQIA Healthcare Guild

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Cisgender, Cissexism and Cisnormativity:

Cisgender - 1) Describes someone who feels comfortable with the gender identity and gender expression expectations assigned to them based on their physical sex.  2) A gender identity, or performance in a gender role, that society deems to match the person’s assigned sex at birth.  The prefix cis- means "on this side of" or "not across." A term used to call attention to the privilege of people who are not transgender.  Cissexism - also known as transphobia (transprejudice, trans-misogyny, trans-misandry) referring to transphobia directed toward trans women and trans men, is a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards transsexualism and transsexual or transgender people, based on the expression of their internal gender identity.  Cisnormativity - like heteronormativity, but in terms of gender.

Civil Union:

A civil union provides same-sex couples some rights available to married couples in areas such as state taxes, medical decisions and estate planning. Recognized by several states but not the U.S. government.

Closeted - In the Closet:

Refers to a person who wishes to keep secret his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.

Coming Out:

May refer to the process by which one accepts one’s own sexuality, gender identity, or status as an intersex person (to “come out” to oneself). May also refer to the process by which one shares one’s sexuality, gender identity, or intersex status with others (to “come out” to friends, etc.). This can be a continual, life-long process for homosexual, bisexual, transgender, and intersex individuals.  “Coming out" describes voluntarily making public one's sexual orientation or gender identity.  Terms also used that correlate with this action are: "Being out" which means not concealing one's sexual orientation or gender identity, and "Outing, " a term used for making public the sexual orientation or gender identity of another who would prefer to keep this information secret.

Commitment Ceremony:

A formal, marriage-like gathering that recognizes the declaration of members of the same sex to each other. It may be recognized by a religion but is not legally binding.

Conversion Therapy:

Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) are described as conversion therapy, reparative therapy, ex-gay therapy, and other names.  Conversion therapy is not truly “therapy,” but is instead described as an attempt to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.


Someone who wears clothes of another gender/sex.  A word to describe a person who dresses, at least partially, as a member of a gender other than their assigned sex; carries no implications of 'usual' gender appearance, or sexual orientation. Has replaced “Transvestite.”  Preferred term for person who wears clothing most often associated with members of the opposite sex. Not necessarily connected to sexual orientation. Not synonymous with transgender or drag queen.


Regardless of sexual orientation, visiting places where opportunities exist to meet potential sex partners.


Prejudice + power. It occurs when members of a more powerful social group behave unjustly or cruelly to members of a less powerful social group. Discrimination can take many forms, including both individual acts of hatred or injustice and institutional denials of privileges normally accorded to other groups. Ongoing discrimination creates a climate of oppression for the affected group.

Domestic Partner:

Unmarried partners who live together. Domestic partners may be of opposite sexes or the same sex. They may register in some municipalities and states and receive some of the benefits accorded to married couples. “Domestic partner” and “domestic partnership” are terms typically used in connection with legal and insurance matters.

Don’t Ask.  Don’t Tell (DADT):

Shorthand for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, Don’t Harass,” the military’s former policy on gay men, lesbians and bisexuals. Under the policy, instituted in 1993 and lifted in 2011, the military was not to ask service members about their sexual orientation, service members were not to tell others about their orientation, and the military was not to pursue rumors about members’ sexual orientation.

Down Low:

Usually refers to black men who secretly have sex with men, often while in relationships with women, but do not identify as gay or bisexual. Sometimes abbreviated as DL. Use with caution, as people generally do not identify themselves with this term. See ‘In the Closet.’ Also referred to as ‘D/L.’

Drag / Drag King / Drag Queen:

Drag - The performance of one or multiple genders theatrically.  Drag King – A person who performs masculinity theatrically.  Drag Queen – A person who performs femininity theatrically.


Derogatory term referring to a masculine lesbian. Sometimes adopted affirmatively by lesbians (not necessarily masculine ones) to refer to themselves.

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