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Glossary

BISEXUAL

A person whose affectional and sexual orientations are to members of both sexes, either serially or simultaneously.

BUTCH and FEMME

Terms referring to gender stereotyped roles of 'masculine' and 'feminine', respectively. The primary use of the term is in describing roles assumed by some lesbian couples. 'Butch' describes a woman who assumes stereotypically 'masculine' behavior, mannerisms, and dress. 'Femme' describes the woman who behaves in a stereotypically 'feminine' way. More broadly, the terms are sometimes used to refer to others including straights and gay men.

CLOSET, IN THE CLOSET, CLOSETED

This term is used to describe a lesbian, gay male or bisexual individual who hides her/his affectional orientation.

COMING OUT

The sequence of events through which individuals come to recognise their affectional orientation and disclose it to others. Since heterosexuality is taken for granted and there is generally no conscious process of discovery or disclosure for straight people, the term is applied almost exclusively to lesbians, gay males and bisexuals.

LGB COMMUNITY / SCENE

The social, emotional, and political network within which LGB people create and maintain contact with each other, affording opportunities for the sort of interaction and mutual support that are provided for straight people by mainstream institutions.

DRAG

Being 'in drag' involves dressing in clothing usually prescribed for the other sex; beyond this, one also mimics the make-up, hair-styles, and mannerisms of the other sex. Drag queens are men who appear in public in drag, often performing in drag shows. They may or may not be gay.

GAY

The term is applied to a person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to members of the same sex.

Traditionally, 'gay' has been a generic term used to refer to both women and men. However, it has also been used to refer to men only (as the word 'man' has been used to refer to all humankind and specifically to men). Due to the fact that this generic use makes women invisible, the current preference in much of the LGB community is for the term 'gay' to refer to men and 'lesbian; to refer to women. This usage is advocated by the American Psychological association.

HETEROSEXISM

The belief that heterosexual identity and behaviour are normal and legitimate, whereas any other affectional or sexual orientation is deviant, perverse, abnormal. Institutionalized heterosexism occurs where social institutions assume the legitimacy of heterosexuality and support it with public policies, rituals and resources while ignoring, demeaning, or even punishing other sexual orientations.

HETEROSEXUAL

From the Greek hetero, meaning other. The term refers to an affectional and sexual orientation towards members of the other sex.

HOMOPHOBIA

Technically, it means irrational fear of homosexuality. The term has come to refer to an aversion to and prejudice and discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual people, the traits that characterize them, their sexual practices, lifestyles and beliefs.

HOMOSEXUAL

From the Greek homo, meaning same. This is a clinical and diagnostically term for a person whose affectional and sexual orientation is towards members of the same sex.

The term is disliked among many LGB people and their supporters for two reasons: (i) it is a clinical term, long used to label LGB identity as a medical or psychological disorder; and (ii) it emphasizes the sexual aspect of LGB experience, thereby disregarding the multi-faceted nature of LGB identity.

LGB

A shorthand term for lesbian / gay / bisexual. Lesbigay is often used in a similar manner. Occasionally, LGBT or GLBT is used to include transgender people.

LESBIAN

A woman who is emotionally and sexually attracted to other women. The term comes from the Greek Island of Lesbos, where the poetess, Sappho, established a community of women in the seventh century BC. Much of Sappho's poetry spoke of love between women.

OUT / OUT OF THE CLOSET

The state of being aware of and open about one's affectional and sexual orientation. Coming out is a continual process rather than a single event, and people can be out in varying degrees.

SEXUAL ORIENTATION

One's sexual orientation is defined by the sex of the people to whom one is emotionally and sexually attracted. While emphasizing the sexual component of interpersonal relationships, in reality any sexual orientation involves a wide range of feelings, behaviours, experiences and commitments.

STRAIGHT

A slang term historically referring to people who are generally conventional in their behaviour, conforming to cultural norms. Its most frequent current use is in the context of sexual orientation, where it refers to a heterosexual identity.

TRANSSEXUAL / TRANSGENDER(ED)

In most sources, these terms are nearly interchangeable, with both terms referring to individuals who express a feeling of being 'stuck in the wrong body'. 'Transgender' is a more recent term, reflecting a movement to the use of 'gender' rather than 'sex' in most common discourse.

Besides all the different explanations to the terminologies, more importantly, is the different dimension transsexual / transgendered people represent from sexual orientation. A transsexual / transgendered person is not gay although this may be a possibility. Transsexual / transgendered people have different issues than have LGB people.

TRANSVESTITE

A person who dresses in clothing generally deemed appropriate for the other sex and who derives sexual gratification from this practice. Some sources refer to cross-dressing as transvestitism, but most reserve the term for people who are conventional in other areas of their lives and who engage in cross-dressing in well-defined circumstances. Most commonly, transvestites in this latter sense are heterosexual, often married with children.

Adapted from Bohan J.S. (1996). Psychology and Sexual Orientation. Routeledge: New York.

National Gay Helpline

If at any time you require support or you feel like you would like to express your thoughts freely to a person who will understand you, send us an email on support@maltagayrights.org

You may also call the National Gay Helpline, run by MGRM... Tel: +356 21430006 / +356 99255559

The Drachma Parents Group is also an active group within Drachma.  Their mission is that of providing support to parents and friends of LGBT people, read more

contACT

If at any time you require support or you feel like you would like to express your thoughts freely to a person who will understand you, send us an email on support@maltagayrights.org

You may also call the National Gay Helpline, run by MGRM... Tel: +356 21430006 / +356 99255559

Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM)

32, Parish Street ,
Mosta ,
MST 2021,
Malta (Europe).
T: +356 2143 0009
M: +356 9925 5559
E: mgrm@maltagayrights.org

The Drachma Parents Group is also an active group within Drachma.  Their mission is that of providing support to parents and friends of LGBT people,read more