Orientation and gender expression as told by real, actual humans

When OkCupid expanded the available gender and orientation options, we realized there was a larger conversation taking place. Because dictionary definitions aren’t always able to tell a story, we went to real people to add some color to this evolving language. Here are descriptions from those who claim these words for themselves.


Agender is an identity under the nonbinary and transgender umbrellas. Agender individuals find that they have no gender identity, although some define this more as having a gender identity that is neutral.
  • I am agender because I do not identify as being any specific gender. I am not an 'it' and I am not 'broken,' just neutral in the gender game! Even though I may choose to dress traditionally 'masculine' one day and 'feminine' the next, it does not determine my gender. Gender roles and the concept of heteronormativity is outdated and harmful to non binary people.
    Muffin UK
  • Agender is a term that refers to people who feel they don't align with a gender, have a distinct lack of gender, or even a neutral gender.
    Levi Back West Village


Having the characteristics or nature of both male and female.
  • Androgynous: I feel most beautiful/full/right when it is hard to tell if I'm a man or a woman.
    Michael East Williamsburg, Brookyln
  • Androgynous, I equate with androgyne, which is my gender. It's a mix of masculine and feminine qualities that stands alone as its own gender. If genders were colors, it would be purple. Most people listen to my explanations and say, "Oh, so you're just a tomboy." No, I'm not just a girl who likes video games and eschews pink and glitter - I am too masculine to be female at all, yet too feminine to consider myself a man. And, most importantly, this is all by my own definition, not anyone else's.
    Aramis Austin, Texas
  • Androgynous: My gender expression is between male and female.
    Perfectlygiggly Bedstuy, Brookyln
  • I was born and identify as a woman, but I am more more masculine in my presentation.
    Melanie Boston


Bigender is a gender identity that falls under the non-binary umbrella. To identify as bigender generally means you identify as two genders. You could identify as both at the same time. You can go back and forth between two genders.
  • Bigender: I identify as both male and female. Gender is fluid. It isn't set in stone. I'm not sure who I am. Please don't make assumptions.
    Mason Michigan

Cis Man

Cisgender and cissexual (often abbreviated to simply cis) describe related types of gender identity where individuals' experiences of their own gender match the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • Cis Man: I was assigned the male gender at birth, I am comfortable with this.
    Perfectlygiggly Bedstuy, Brookyln

Cis Woman

Cisgender and cissexual (often abbreviated to simply cis) describe related types of gender identity where individuals' experiences of their own gender match the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • I am comfortable with the gender assigned to me at birth—woman—but I recognize gender as culturally determined and dependent, and I swing back and forth between a masculine and a feminine personal expression
    SEC223 Boerum Hill
  • I was born female-sexed and feeling internally like a female too. I don't always dress or act like the typical feminine ideal. I think "masculine" and "feminine" as rigid concepts are outdated, but I also understand wanting to feel more femme, butch, androgyne, etc.
    Kim Columbus, OH
  • I am fortunate to feel happy with the gender I was assigned at birth.
    Jamie Massachusetts
  • Cis woman = My gender matches my sex at birth.
    Kristen SF Bay Area
  • Cis Woman: a person whose gender matches the female gender they were assigned at birth
    Jackie Iowa
  • Cis woman - a person who is born with the biological characteristics that are attributed to women (ex: chromosomes XX, vagina, uterus, ovaries, etc.), is thus labeled a female (in both sex and gender) and grows up to be comfortable with the label. Someone who is not comfortable with the scientific and mainstream stereotyping of biological sex equaling a socialized gender would then explore the other classifications (such as trans*, genderqueer, etc.)
    Neka Washington Heights
  • identifying with the same gender as my born sex of woman
    SG Out of the USA


Gender fluidity conveys a wider, more flexible range of gender expression, with interests and behaviors that may even change from day to day. Gender fluid people do not feel confined by restrictive boundaries of stereotypical expectations of women and men. For some people, gender fluidity extends beyond behavior and interests, and actually serves to specifically define their gender identity. In other words, a person may feel they are more female on some days and more male on others, or possibly feel that neither term describes them accurately. Their identity is seen as being gender fluid.


A person whose gender identity is neither man nor woman, is between or beyond genders, or is some combination of genders. This identity is usually related to or in reaction to the social construction of gender, gender stereotypes and the gender binary system. Some genderequeer people identify under the transgender umbrella while others do not.
  • Genderqueer - I believe it's a general term for those who do not fit a distinct gender binary (male/female). For me personally, it means that I do not consider gender a prominent, indispensable part of me; I think of it as secondary. I do not have a wish to change my biological sex (of female) but I do not feel like "woman" (or "man", for that matter) fit me wholly. I recognize I might act in feminine ways more often because of my socialization. I may also act in masculine or non-gendered ways naturally and without qualms.
    Neka Washington Heights
  • In retrospect, I rejected "womanhood" and what it means/looks like to be a woman in society due to how I saw women were treated around me. I thought the only way to be taken seriously was to act like a boy/man. I learned this at a young age and it was only recently that I realized what had happened. My parents were not happy I never acted "lady-like"- I am *not* a lady. I am most comfortable having my gender confused. I realize this is horrible and traumatic to transfolk, and I probably should correct them. I respond to any pronoun. They all feel correct. Biologically, I never felt like a woman- though I have large breasts, I do not see my body as feminine, if not more masculine or in between. I have more hair than the average female for example. I've always kept my hair short. Hobbies of mine are very masculine, and even the feminine ones (sewing, knitted) are masculine in result. I have no wish to be a man, but I always feel in between. I accept my body, but resent "girliness" nor feel a connection to the typical woman experience. Genderqueer fits me best, though I will dress feminine from time to time. I mostly look and dress like a young man.
    Myra Seattle
  • Genderqueer means that I don't always feel like I have the same gender. Probably at least half the time I don't think about gender at all, an additional 40-45% I feel masculine, and occasionally I feel feminine. ...gender and sexuality can interact in complicated ways, making labels inadequate.
  • Genderqueer: synonymous with my usage of queer. Queer: connotes both a non-binary gender identity, and potential attraction to people regardless of their position on the gender spectrum. This is important too, because how I am perceived as a lover matters (e.g. straight women may want me to "be the man", but that dog don't hunt).
    Michael East Williamsburg, Brookyln

Gender Nonconforming

Behavior or gender expression by an individual that does not match masculine and feminine gender norms.
  • My gender identifiers fit based on the definitions of the words - My sex is female, I am a woman; I am not feminine, I dress in mens clothing exclusively, and present a masculine (or confusing, andro) appearance. One might also consider me fluid, because I don't actively avoid behaviors considered feminine.

    I merely look how I look attractive to me, and act however I am comfortable.

    That gender is completely arbitrary; that you can have the body you have, love it, or change it if you need to, present it however you want, and act like the person you want to be. The rules were made up. Nothing's stopping us but shame. As long as we're only trying to fit in with ourselves, we all win.
    Cirrus Greater Los Angeles Area
  • Gender non-conforming: broad term for everybody that transgresses gender norms regularly including cross-dressers, androgynes, trans folk, third genders, etc.
    Michael East Williamsburg, Brookyln
  • I tend to avoid the extremes of the masculine/feminine scales since I am more than my masculinity or femininity.
    Blaire Rochester, NY
  • My issue is that i feel gender-nonconforming, which to me means the same as genderqueer: i am female but do not feel like a woman. A binary division may largely be possible biologically, but socially when i'm with people i just don't care if they're male or female or gay or straight etc; and least of all do i feel like a woman, or worse, one of "the girls". People are just people to me; i like to be treated, and treat others, as merely human. All the office talk of 'men' v 'women' tires me enormously and just distracts us from so many much more useful topics of conversation.

    I do, however, sometimes find myself dividing up humanity myself; and i put this down to the going genderclimate around me.
    Susanna Brussels, Belgium
  • I'd like the world to be genderless but i allow for concessions to be made to the status quo by allowing the world to identify me as female to simplify.

    Categories just make things more confusing. I like it when people are aloud to think about what their authentic selves are and then to be able to enact that without censorship.
    neen Philad
  • Just cause I've got a beard and a square frame, doesn't mean I'm just another guy.
    HardFlame Portland


The Hijras--men who dress and act like women--have been a presence in India for generations. Within South Asian society they maintain a third-gender role that has become institutionalized through tradition. Hijras are often defined as eunuchs (castrated males) and acknowledged both in Hindu and Muslim cultures. Numerous references to eunuchs in the royal courts of India/'s Muslim rulers are cited as the Hijras/' legacy. The fact that many don/'t consider themselves true Hijras until they have undergone the "emasculation operation" links them to this tradition, as do elements of Islamic practice that they observe, such as burying rather than cremating their dead.


“Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. For example, a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside. Or a person may be born with genitals that seem to be in-between the usual male and female types—for example, a girl may be born with a noticeably large clitoris, or lacking a vaginal opening, or a boy may be born with a notably small penis, or with a scrotum that is divided so that it has formed more like labia. Or a person may be born with mosaic genetics, so that some of her cells have XX chromosomes and some of them have XY.


An adult male human being.
  • Being a man is something that simply fits, something I do not have to think about, that I do not have to prove, I do not have done anything for.

    A man is genetically someone with an Y chromosome, biologically (regarding sex) someone with testicles and penis but without vagina and uterus. Socially a man is someone with certain attributes like strength which have to be consistent with biological attributes like sex and secondary ones like beard growth. On the other hand one may identify itself as man as one feels fitting for whatever reasons. And as this self-identification is important we should respect it.
    Klaus Bavaria


Nonbinary gender is an umbrella term covering any gender identity or expression that does not fit within the gender binary. The label may also be used by individuals wishing to identify as falling outside of the gender binary without being any more specific about the nature of their gender.


Pangender (and/or Omnigender) is a non-binary gender experience which refers to a wide multiplicity of genders that can (or not) tend to the infinite (meaning that this experience can go beyond the current knowledge of genders). This experience can be either simultaneously or over time. The greek prefix “pan” refers to “everything” or “all”, therefore, pangender could mean “all genders”, however the genders of pangender people are limited to their own life experience.


Transfeminism, also written trans feminism, has been defined by scholar and activist Emi Koyama as “a movement by and for trans women who view their liberation to be intrinsically linked to the liberation of all women and beyond.” Koyama notes that it “is also open to other queers, intersex people, trans men, non-trans women, non-trans men and others who are sympathetic toward needs of trans women and consider their alliance with trans women to be essential for their own liberation.” Transfeminism has also been defined more generally as “an approach to feminism that is informed by trans politics.”


Of or relating to people who have a sexual identity that is not clearly male or clearly female
  • I love having the identities 'transgender' and 'woman' as two separate entities. Yes, I am transgender; but I'm also a woman. Having just one 'trans woman' tag invalidates my womanhood and puts me in a separate category than 'real (cis) women'. Being transgender is still an important aspect of my life, and I believe that it should be reflected in my identity; but it should not separate or invalidate me.

    1) That there is a a strong link between gender identity and sexuality. Who I like and who I am are two very different things.

    2) gender identities outside of the binary are no less valid than those within the traditional cis-male or cis-female identities. Media seems to portray transgender identities as 'fake': the long shots of a trans woman applying makeup, or putting on hosiery in a news story. It implies that our identities are somehow less valid, and constructed than traditional identities.
    Kit Boston, MA
  • Transgender means that I'm not and not just a woman, though I was born in a female body.
    Aramis Austin, Texas
  • I view transgender as a process I'm going through rather than an identity label. I will always be transgender, because that process will always be a part of my personal history, but it's a set of experiences rather than an internal understanding of myself. The others, gender is complex. I believe everyone's gender is complex and few people really meet societal norms for gender perfectly, but understanding my gender outside of the traditional labels and categories simply makes the most sense to me. I can't explain why so much, it just resonates on a level that few things have before I found the trans community. I use as many labels as I do because none really fit 100%.

    I am not doing this for attention, or as part of some fad or fashion. This is me living my life the way that makes the most sense to me.
    Alex Oregon
  • Transgender is an umbrella term for those whose gender identity does not match what was assigned at birth.
    Levi Back West Village

Trans Man

A trans man (sometimes trans-man or transman) is a female-to-male (FTM or F2M) transgender person who was assigned female at birth (AFAB/DFAB) but has a male gender identity. The label of transgender man is not always interchangeable with that of transsexual man, although the two labels are often used in this way.


Transmasculine is a term used to describe those who were assigned female at birth, but identify as more male than female. Transmasculine is often used as a catch-all term for all people assigned female at birth who identify as masculine of center, including trans men, but the adoption of the term as an identity is a matter of personal preference. Those who identify as transmasculine, as opposed to simply as FTM or a man, trans or otherwise, often place themselves masculine of center- that is, they identify more closely with maleness than femaleness, and generally desire a physical appearance that reflects this identification, but do not identify as wholly male or as a man. This identity is similar to that of a demiguy in that demiguys often identify with maleness or masculinity, but only partially. It should be noted that transmasculine is not a descriptor of gender expression but of identity. Transmasculine people do not necessarily have to be stereotypically masculine in their interests or even presentation.


A term referring to a person who does not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth and wishes, whether successful or not, to realign their gender and their sex through use of medical intervention.
  • Transsexual = Taking hormones/HRT or surgical intervention to align ones body with their internal feelings/offsets/identity. Hormone therapy is the usual norm although some transsexuals undergo simple little surgical alterations or major sexual organ reconstruction. With this label I generally expect someone whom is on HRT at a minimum.
    Daria Toronto, Ontario

Trans Woman

A trans woman (sometimes trans-woman or transwoman) is a transgender person who was assigned male at birth but has a female gender identity. The label of transgender woman is not always interchangeable with that of transsexual woman, although the two labels are often used in this way.
  • Though I have been presented as a male for nearly 3 decades of my life and now seek to be the woman I always felt I was supposed to be, I am still the same person with the same interests and hobbies either way. I haven't actually changed.
    Kismet Northern California
  • Being a trans woman is no different from being a women, it's just on dating sites people tend to want to know if you're trans or not. Really, I identify as a woman, and I happen to be trans.
    Eris East Northport, NY
  • Transitioning means a lot. It means that I actually start living for the first time. I'm a woman and I've always been. I didn't 'become' a woman. I just happen to be born in the wrong body.
    Melissa Montreal
  • ... my born gender does not match with my brain's notion of my gender.
    Alex San Francisco
  • Trans Woman is just an acknowledgment that I was born with the wrong anatomy. This is unfortunately relevant to potential partners. Otherwise I just consider myself a woman.
    Amy Louisville, KY
  • Trans Women means that I am dealing with crossing over a few gender divides in my identity as female. My birth certificate says male (though, I do have a few questions to ask my parents as a few oddities have appeared since then)... but I've kind of always been a girl. The most male I've been was when I was known as "the crazy lesbian who always wears a strapon to school"... uh yeah, I don't really pass for male. ... gender and sexuality are separate things. My gender is who I am. My sexuality is who I want to have sexy fun time with--or rather who I find myself attracted to having sexy fun time with. I find it irritating that many people think you have to change yourself in order to get into a relationship. Dress a certain way to get guys; dress a certain way to get girls. Honestly, I'd still dress the way I would even if it meant being forever alone. I'd rather be alone and be myself... than to have a relationship built entirely on a foundation and five room house with a finished basement of lies. The gazeebo may or may not also be built of lies... haven't figured it out--but I don't trust that gazeebo all the same. That gazeebo... what is it planning--it has to be not trustworthy, next to this house of lies--what trustworthy gazeebo would be next to this house of lies... But my general annoyance is that people think I dress like this to try to get with others. No, I mostly dress like this because my mother was terrible and I learned how to cloth myself from Tumblr and Pinterest... which are a better Daddy and Mommy than my real ones any day of the week. The other annoyance is the fucking constant suggestions I get on the matters of better getting into people's pants via being dishonest about myself. How about fuck getting into their pants... and just do things my way and whatever pants I find myself in... are whatever pants I find myself in?
    Katrina Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Transgender + Trans Woman = Transgender is like a class, Trans Woman is a subclass of Transgender. Pretty simple. What's it mean? Assigned male at birth, and welp, inside I never was.
    Daria Toronto, Ontario
  • I wish people would accept me as a real woman every day, and not just on the days that I present femininely.
    Millie Australia

Two Spirit

Two Spirit is a culturally distinct gender that decribes Indigenous North Americans who fulfill one of many mixed gender roles found traditionally among many Native Americans and Canadian First Nations indigenous groups. The mixed gender roles encompassed by the term historically included wearing the clothing and performing the work associated with both men and women.


An adult female human being.

More genders

The spectrum continues...
  • Demigirl means I identify partially as a girl and partially as agender, so it's a fluid identity. A gender like demigirl isn't as commonly discussed compared to other identities, so I wish that I could be open about it and respected for it without being doubted or dismissed because of appearance, or the way I express that identity.
    Andy Minnesota
  • Neutrois is a neutral non-binary gender identity.
    Sasha Switzerland


A person who does not experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which is a choice, asexuality is a sexual orientation. Asexual people have the same emotional needs as everybody else and are just as capable of forming intimate relationships.
  • Asexualilty is lack of sexual attraction to people or absent interest in sexual activity. Asexuality is a spectrum. I wish more people knew the difference between sexual, romantic, and aesthetic attraction. In addition, I wish more folks could understand that sex is a social construct assigned to you at birth and that there are more than two genders. I also wish people could understand that nothing traumatic happened to make me this way.
    Levi Back West Village
  • Asexual means that I do not experience sexual attraction and I don't want to have sex.
    Penny Boston
  • Asexual is someone who is not sexually attracted to other people, but I do experience romantic attraction and desire romantic relationships with people who are more masculine than me - which does not necessarily have a lot to do with their gender. I wish people knew that asexuality existed, and that it is a healthy sexual orientation to have, to the point where I no longer need to defend it.
    Bauer Ditmas Park, Brooklyn
  • I am asexual because I do not experience sexual attraction. I also recently wondered if I may instead be demisexual, and that's okay too because sexuality is a fluid thing that often changes. Just because I'm Ace and don't experience sexual attraction in the conventional way, it doesn't mean that there's something wrong with my brain. For me personally, I favour romance and kinship greatly over sex. But please know that just because it's not important in my life, it doesn't mean that I think any less of someone else for wanting it. There is such a thing as a sex-positive asexual, and I am one! We all just want to be respected.
    Muffin UK
  • ... asexuals and aromantics are real and people with emotions and needs. Those needs might not be typical but they are there. I do not need to be fixed or cured of my asexuality.
    Camellia North Carolina
  • I'm a bisexual homoromantic asexual. I feel romantic attraction only to women, and sexual attraction to all genders. However, due to trauma and dysphoria reasons I have no interest in sex or anything to do with it. Hence asexual.
    Charlie London


Sexually attracted to both men and women.
  • By "bisexual" I technically mean people of my gender and others. Pansexual means the same thing. I additionally identify as "Queer" as a sort of catch-all.
    Eris East Northport, NY
  • I definitely identify as male, and I am attracted to individuals of any gender and/or sex.
    Mick Kansas City, MO
  • Bisexual = I like girls and boys. But I don't like this term sometimes because it forces people into boxes. I prefer Pansexual really.
    Kristen SF Bay Area
  • Attracted to men and women
    SG Out of the USA
  • I am attracted to all biological sexes.
    Dingo Indiana
  • Bisexual: I'm open to sex with men or women (the term is less descriptively useful, though, because it doesn't acknowledge the people in the middle of the gender spectrum to whom I'm most drawn).
    Michael East Williamsburg, Brookyln
  • ... genuine bisexuality exists; it is not and never will be a phase; that when I am with a woman, I am not "gay," just as when I am with a man I am not "straight,"; and that I do not have to have a certain number of partners of the same gender to be "gay enough" to be bisexual. I also recognize in myself the ability to be attracted to people from every different gender presentation and sex. Hence the blanket "queer," and the wider definition of "bisexual" as "attracted to same genders and different genders."
    SEC223 Boerum Hill


A demisexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. It's more commonly seen in but by no means confined to romantic relationships. The term demisexual comes from the orientation being “halfway between” sexual and asexual. Nevertheless, this term does not mean that demisexuals have an incomplete or half-sexuality, nor does it mean that sexual attraction without emotional connection is required for a complete sexuality.
  • attracted only in the context of a romantic or emotional connection
    SG Out of the USA
  • Demisexual: I will only develop a sexual interest in someone that I connect with on an emotional level and that I bond with.
    Mason Michigan
  • I describe my demisexuality as something like "asexual with exceptions." I'm asexual by default, but can become sexually attracted to someone once I've developed a close emotional relationship with them.
    Jamie Massachusetts
  • Demisexual means that I rarely feel sexual attraction towards people I don't know, and that romantic and intellectual attraction nearly always precede it.
  • Demisexual = I have to have a connection with you in order to be aroused. This is generally true for me...I rarely just see someone and want to fuck them. Unless it's Angelina Jolie or Channing Tatum.
    Kristen SF Bay Area


Homosexual; Sexually attracted to someone who is the same sex.


Predominantly homosexual but open to an occasional heterosexual encounter
  • Homoflexible means that while I am attracted to women generally, I am entirely capable of having sexy fun time with men.
    Katrina Vancouver, BC, Canada


Heteroflexibility is a form of a sexual orientation or situational sexual behavior characterized by minimal homosexual activity in an otherwise primarily heterosexual sexual orientation that is considered to distinguish it from bisexuality.
  • Heteroflexible: only different-sex relationships, but not because of a lack of interest in females - they're just not interested in me. So male lovers only so far; never kissed a female. And frankly losing interest over time in doing so. But: dreams, fantasies, a few crushes, and even one full-blown one-year infatuation with a female colleague. So it's mostly on the emotional level. Sexually, though, I am as said heterosexual, and I have absolutely no issues here.
    Susanna Brussels, Belgium
  • Heteroflexible = I'm mostly straight, but I'm not gonna put myself in a box. If I wanna get with you, I don't care if you're the same gender as me.
    Kristen SF Bay Area


A woman who is sexually attracted to other women : A female homosexual


Not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.
  • Pansexual: I'm open to sexual relations with people regardless of their position on the gender spectrum. I'm more interested in whether you're a dick than whether you have one.
    Michael East Williamsburg, Brookyln
  • Pansexual - interested in people without taking into consideration their sex/gender/sexuality (not ignoring or erasing it; but it isn't important in your attraction to another person). --side note, omnisexual is similar but means that you *do* take into account sex/gender/sexuality in your attraction to another - you're attracted (or have the possibility of being attracted) to all sexes/genders/sexualities.
    Neka Washington Heights
  • Pansexual: That Gender is irrelevant in my choice of Sexual Partners.
    Perfectlygiggly Bedstuy, Brookyln
  • Pansexual does not mean attracted to your kitchen ware. Pansexual does not mean "flowery word for bisexual." Pansexuality is more about finding the person, and inclusive to Trans and intersex folk as well.
    Bren West Virginia
  • Pansexual allows me to express my attraction to someone regardless of gender using explicitly inclusive language.
    Amy Louisville, KY
  • I strongly believe in the spectrum of human sexuality. I also know that I have a personal range of attraction. My personal baseline is probably bisexual or heteroflexible, but there are times when I'm only interested in male identified partners or female identified partners or genderqueer identified partners.
    Aramis Austin, Texas
  • Pansexual: Basically gender means nothing to me when it comes to who i find attractive.
    Mason Michigan
  • Pansexual means sex/gender is not a criteria for whom I find attractive, sexually or romantically.

    It's not about who I (want to) have sex with but who I am, and it's not about my body.
    Sasha Switzerland
  • Pansexual = I like everyone. I'm open to anything.
    Kristen SF Bay Area
  • Pansexual: an individual who does not believe in gender binaries and feels they can be romantically and sexually attracted to anyone on the spectrum
    Jackie Iowa


1) An umbrella term sometimes used by LGBTQA people to refer to the entire LGBT community. 2) An alternative that some people use to "queer" the idea of the labels and categories such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, etc. Similar to the concept of genderqueer. It is important to note that the word queer is an in-group term, and a word that can be considered offensive to some people, depending on their generation, geographic location, and relationship with the word.
  • Queer is an umbrella term used to refer to identities that fall outside of society's heteronormative framework.
    Levi Back West Village
  • I consider myself queer in the sense of identifying somewhere outside of the heterosexual "norm." However, as a primarily heteroromantic demisexual person, I have straight passing privilege, which means I do not experience oppression in the same way as many queer people do.
    Jamie Massachusetts
  • I prefer queer over any other identity. It's concise and open. I feel that 'bisexual' reinforces the gender binary, and 'pansexual' implies that I don't have any sort of sexual preference whatsoever.
    Kit Boston, MA
  • Queer - a general, catch-all term that identifies a person as non-mainstream (specifically in the area of sex/gender/sexuality). A reclaimed term that empowers those who were and are ostracized by the mainstream that considers only one way of existing to be "normal" (and thus acceptable).
    Neka Washington Heights
  • I like queer because it covers pretty much everything other than cis/hetero attraction. The more specific terms tend to have too many connotations that don't fit me and make me feel uncomfortable using.
  • I am a woman who is transgender. I'm attracted primarily to other women, but I like the ambiguity of "queer", as I am somewhat open to men or non-binary/genderqueer/etc folks. ... being trans doesn't make me different from other women, and that being included in queer community, especially queer women's community, is really important to me.
    Clare Washington, DC
  • Queer = Overall flexibility, different levels sexual/emotional/personal engagement with different people. Basically a grab bag of "I'm basically not heteronormative and I can like or not like many things" It's saying nothing by saying everything.
    Daria Toronto, Ontario
  • Queer: connotes both a non-binary gender identity, and potential attraction to people regardless of their position on the gender spectrum. This is important too, because how I am perceived as a lover matters (e.g. straight women may want me to "be the man", but that dog don't hunt).
    Michael East Williamsburg, Brookyln
  • Queer = I don't solely think of this as a sexual adjective. It can mean anything. I think it means that I refuse to let myself be defined by society.
    Kristen SF Bay Area
  • I prefer women, but in terms of queer, I am open and attracted to many different presentations across the gender spectrum. It is not a choice, it's just who I am, who I am attracted to, and what I am comfortable with.
    Melanie Boston


The questioning of one's gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, or all three is a process of exploration by people who may be unsure, still exploring, and concerned about applying a social label to themselves for various reasons. The letter “Q” is sometimes added to the end of the acronym LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender); the “Q” can refer to either queer or questioning. Many LGBT student groups and literature include questioning in their literature; in the case of gay–straight alliance groups they do so in part so students are not compelled to label themselves or choose a sexual identity.


Heterosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between persons of opposite sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, heterosexuality is “an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions” to persons of the opposite sex; it “also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions.”
  • Being straight means to be attracted solely by members of the opposite sex. For me it means that I unfortunately am not really interested in sexual interaction with other men.
    Klaus Bavaria

More orientations

The spectrum continues...