The ABC's of LGBTQ+

Queer Terminology for Educators

April 2, 2020


#Queer_EduChat #TeachPride April 2, 2020

Twitter Chat Questions & Archive

WU: Welcome to our April #Queer_EduChat! We are so glad you are here. Please share your name, where you are joining us from, your role in education, & pronouns.

Purpose: Supportive educators save students’ lives. Just one visibly supportive educator in a school can help LGBTQ students feel safer and more seen. This chat is about giving Queer educators and our allies information about gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation by answering questions and facilitating discussion about LGBTQ terminology GLSEN's Four Supports

How This Will Work: All participants can answer and provide information to each other. This is a discussion We will provide some resources along the way, but this is for Queer folx, allies, and all folx with questions! We will post the question and then some information to help with the question.

Q1: Take a moment to think about your gender identity. How do you identify today? Is this the same as when you were a child? What are some ways that you break gender stereotypes attached to the norms attributed to your gender? Share as much as you are comfortable sharing...


Sex (sometimes called biological sex, anatomical sex, or physical sex) is comprised of things like genitals, chromosomes, hormones, body hair, and more. But one thing it’s not: gender.

Gender Identity Your psychological sense of self. Who you, in your head, know yourself to be, based on how much you align (or don’t align) with what you understand to be the options for gender.

Gender Expression The ways you present gender, through your actions, clothing, demeanor, and more. Your outward-facing self, and how that’s interpreted by others based on gender norms.

The Genderbread Person

Think about gender. There are gender stereotypes that try to tell us that people who identify as girls or boys should act or dress a certain way; i.e. “girls like dresses” or “boys don’t cry.” These stereotypes can make people feel bad for the things they like to do, and erases people who may identify or express themselves outside of the binary of masculinity/femininity or gender altogether.

Q2: Take a moment to think about your sexual orientation. How do you identify today? What orientations were you aware of as a child? Share as much as you are comfortable sharing...

Resource: For many students, having adult allies in school to whom they can turn for support — or even simply knowing that LGBTQ allies exist at their school —creates a more welcoming and safe environment for students to learn.

Now that you have thought about & responded regarding your own identity, let’s discuss questions you have about gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

Q3: What questions do you have about gender identity & gender expression terminology?

During this part of the chat, we want to be sensitive to those in the LGBTQ community by not discussing anyone other than ourselves and general questions we have about terminology. Be careful not to assign your question about a term to a specific person or situation.

Q4: What questions do you have about sexual orientation terminology?


Sexual Orientation An inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people. HRC Glossary of Terms

The scientifically accurate term for an individual's enduring physical, romantic and/ or emotional attraction to members of the same and/or opposite sex, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual (straight) orientations. Avoid the offensive term "sexual preference," which is used to suggest that being gay, lesbian, or bisexual is voluntary and therefore "curable." People need not have had specific sexual experiences to know their own sexual orientation; in fact, they need not have had any sexual experience at all.

GLAAD Media Reference Guide

Attraction Like sex, attraction isn’t really a component of gender. However, we often conflate sexual orientation with gender, or categorize the attraction we experience in gendered ways.

The Genderbread Person

Q5: How can Queer educators help Queer students? How can our allies help Queer students?

Resource: Educators can advocate on LGBTQ students’ behalf to school administration, and can also directly implement LGBTQ content in class curriculum, address anti-LGBTQ bullying or harassment, and serve as advisors for students to formally organize supportive groups at school. It’s important that if you take on this role, you are prepared to support students with an open mind and resources.

Q6: What's your biggest takeaway from this chat?

Thank you so much for joining us! We are so thankful for all our allies willing to learn, support us, & support our students. We are also thankful for our Queer educator colleagues. We see you. You are valued!

Additional Resources

Beyond Terminology

The ABC's of LGBT+

This is a very approachable and suggested read for anyone with questions about LGBTQ+ terminology. Please note that the book was originally published under the name Ashley Mardell.

From Amazon Book Link:

The ABCs of LGBT+ is a #1 Bestselling LGBT book and is essential reading for questioning teens, teachers or parents looking for advice, or anyone who wants to learn how to talk about gender identity and sexual identity. In The ABCs of LGBT+, Ashley Mardell, a beloved blogger and YouTube star, answers many of your questions about:

  • lgbt and lgbt+

  • gender identity

  • sexual identity

  • teens in a binary world

  • the LGBT family

  • and more

Understanding gender identity and sexual identity: The 21st Century has seen very positive movement for LGBT+ rights. In the last few years the overturning of DOMA, the SCOTUS ruling in favor of the Marriage Equality Act, American transgender politicians elected to office, and landmark moments such as Apple becoming the most valuable company in the world under the leadership of an openly gay CEO have advanced LGBT awareness and understanding. In a world full of LGBT questions, Mardell’s The ABC’s of LGBT+ has the answers.

The trusted voice of Ashley Mardell: We are living in a post-binary world where gender fluency and awareness of gender identity and a real understanding of our LGBT family is essential. Ashley Mardell, one of the most trusted voices on YouTube, presents a detailed look at all things LGBT+ in this remarkable book. Along with in-depth definitions, personal anecdotes, helpful infographics, resources, and more; Mardell’s LGBT book is proof it does get better every day in a world where people are empowered by information and understanding. In Mardell’s own words, "This book is also for allies and LGBT+ people simply looking to pack in some extra knowledge… a critical part of acceptance. Learning about new identities broadens our understanding of humanity, heightens our empathy, and allows us different, valuable perspectives.”