Terms and Definitions

Gender-Inclusive Housing – Safe, affirming, and inclusive housing options for students who are transgender, nonbinary, two-spirit, genderqueer, gender diverse, or allies.

Gender Expression/Presentation – The physical manifestation of one's gender identity through clothing, hairstyle, voice, body shape, etc.  Many transgender people seek to make their gender expression (how they look) match their gender identity (who they are), rather than their gender assigned at birth.  Someone with a nonconforming gender expression may or may not be transgender.

Gender Identity – One's internal sense of being male, female, neither of these, both, or other gender(s).  Everyone has a gender identity.  For people who are transgender, their gender assigned at birth and their gender identity are not necessarily the same.

LGBQ+ – An acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, questioning, and plus, which represents other sexual identities including pansexual, asexual, and omnisexual; refers to persons who are beyond the binary of cisgender and heteronormativity.

Cisgender – A person whose gender identity and expression are aligned with the gender they were assigned at birth.

Nonbinary (Also Non-Binary) – Preferred umbrella term for all genders other than female/male or woman/man, used as an adjective (e.g., Jesse is a nonbinary person).  Not all nonbinary people identify as trans and not all trans people identify as nonbinary.  Sometimes (and increasingly), nonbinary can be used to describe the aesthetic/presentation/expression of a cisgender or transgender person.

Transgender/Trans – An umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from the gender they were assigned at birth.  The term transgender is not indicative of gender expression, sexual orientation, hormonal makeup, physical anatomy, or how one is perceived in daily life. 

Genderqueer – A person who has a gender identity and/or gender expression that does not conform to the gender they were assigned at birth. People who identify as “genderqueer” may or may not also identify as “transgender”.

Two-Spirit – An umbrella term for a diverse set of gender identities and expressions as well as sexual orientations experienced by Indigenous, First Nation, and Aboriginal peoples. Many Native nations and communities have their own language, understanding, roles and traditions for these identities.

Sexuality – A person's identity in relation to the gender or genders to which they are typically attracted: sexual orientation.

Ally – Someone whose personal commitment is to affirm members of the LGBTQ+ community, which is reflected in their willingness to education oneself about different identities and take actions to support LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Expected behavior of all allies:

  • Modeling behavior that reflects a positive value and respect for gender as a nonbinary construct (human beings are not necessarily male or female as ascribed by their gender at birth)
  • Openness and desire to develop one's own understanding about gender identity, sexual orientation, and other differences
  • Working to create and promote a safe, affirming, and inclusive community for all students
  • Use of inclusive and socially just language and the preferred names and gender pronouns of community members
  • Education of guests about the values and community expectation of the gender inclusive community