in this glossary you will find the most important terms that we commonly use. this glossary is a work in progress. if you think we have forgotten something or made a mistake, please feel free to get in touch:


afab stands for "assigned female at birth". it means that a person was assigned the female sex at birth based on their physical attributes. afab says nothing about the gender identity of a person



amab stands for "assigned male at birth". it means that a person was assigned the male sex at birth based on their physical attributes. amab says nothing about the gender identity of a person



asexual people either do not feel sexually attracted to other people at all, or have low levels of sexual attraction (demisexual). asexuality has nothing to do with renouncing sex  since asexual people do not suppress sexual desire, but rather it is absent or barely present. asexual people can feel the desire for closeness to other people in a romantic sense, but some do not (aromantic). some asexual people do engage in sex for a variety of reasons other than attraction.



BIPoC stands for Black, Indigenous, person/people of colour. just saying “not-white” labels BIPoC as “other”, and disregards the different experiences of BIPoC. racism towards Black people, Indigenous peoples, and people of colour is different, and it is important to acknowledge that. some people choose to say BPOC, because some Indigenous peoples are Black, as some Black people are Indigenous, so the distinction between the two is erasing Black Indigenous identities



bisexual people feel sexually and/or romantically attracted to two or more genders. the nature and intensity of the attraction are not determining factors of a bisexual person’s sexuality. a common misconception is that bisexual people are only attracted to people whose gender identity falls within the gender binary, which is not true.
within the lgbtqia+ communities, but also in society, bisexual people are often erased from the conversation, especially since they percieved as having different sexual orientations depending on their partner (female-assumed people in a relationship with female-assumed people are perceived as lesbians, etc.). furthermore, bisexual people still have to fight against false stereotypes and claims (e.g. that bisexual people cannot make up their minds).



cis-gender (short form - cis) describes a person whose gender matches the sex that they were assigned at birth.
cis-people form the majority, and are thus considered a social norm.
cis-normativity is damaging for many reasons. trans* and gender non-conforming (tgnc) people often spend their youth (and often far into adulthood) believing that there is something wrong with them because they don’t identify with the sex that they were assigned at birth. across all medias, cisgender people are shown to be the norm and therefore "normal", and tgnc folks are shown to be "different". these stereotypes are often highly offensive and attack people’s basic identity. transphobic jokes are common, “cross-dressing” is a funny and humiliating aspect of comedy and drama, and tgnc people are constantly belittled by news outlets and made to defend their very existence. if more tgnc people were portrayed in a positive or even neutral way in media, fashion, and advertising, then we could eradicate the harmful stigma and save the lives of so many people who are murdered or driven to suicide by a society that doesn’t see them as human beings

cis-normativity is not only harmful to trans* and gender non-conforming people. It forces cis men to perform and perpetuate toxic masculinity - for example the myth that men are less emotional leads to men suppressing their emotions, which is a major reason why male suicide rates are extortionately high. Cis-normativity is also damaging for cis women, as it tells women that they should conform to mainstream western beauty standards, which contributes to mental heath issues and eating disorders among many cis women



any person who defines themselves as female. the gender assigned at birth is irrelevant here - the term includes women who were assigned the female sex at birth and define themselves as female (cis women), women who were assigned a different gender at birth (trans* women), and intersex women



the term gay describes a man who is romantically and/or sexually attracted to other men. in queer circles, however, the term has come to be understood more broadly. non-binary or trans* people can also identifiy themselves as gay and thus be part of the gay community. in some contexts, the term is used as an umbrella term for anything that deviates from heteronormativity; therefore, lesbians for example can describe themselves as gay as well.
the term "gay" is also used in some contexts as a swear word or as a word with a negative connotation, implying that someone is less masculine if they are gay. we should therefore refrain from using the word in this context so that the word and its meaning lose its stigma



genderqueer people’s gender identity does not fall within the binary gender system. pronouns, appearance, or the gender they were assigned at birth does not matter



intersex people have one or more natural differences in their chromosomes, hormone production, and physical attributes such as sex organs and secondary sex traits such as body hair. intersex people’s bodies do not fit into the traditional definitions of “male” or “female”
intersex people can identify themselves as male, female, trans*, gender non-conforming, non-binary, just as people who aren’t intersex can
in medicine today we still speak of a "syndrome" which is diagnosed as a disease. for this reason, many intersex people are forced to undergo operations in childhood in order to be able to classify the person better within the binary system of norms. intersex activists are fighting for recognition of this issue in order to stop the non-consensual operations



lesbians are women who are romantically and/or sexually attracted to other women. in queer circles, however, the term has come to be understood more broadly: non-binary or trans* people also define themselves as lesbians and thus are still an important part of the lesbian community.



the term lgbtqia+ is composed of the letters of sexual and gender identities that deviate from the cis-hetero norm. it includes all people who define themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, intersex, queer and asexual. the + stands for further identities that may not be correctly described by the terms and yet are part of the non-normative reality of life, and it seeks to include those who are not yet sure of which label fits them.
the term was initially composed of the acronym lgbt, to which further letters were added over the years to make other realities visible. it still shapes our understanding of the lgbt community today, but excludes any and non-western identities, such as shamakhami from bangladesh, hijra from india and pakistan, the mexican jota, or two spirit (north america).
uns* has decided to work with this term because the majority of our talents identify themselves with the acronym. Should we add new talents in the future who do not identify themselves as lgbtqia+, we will make appropriate changes to our use of language



any person who defines themselves as male. the gender assigned at birth is irrelevant here - the term includes men who were assigned the male sex at birth and define themselves as male (cis men), men who were assigned a different gender at birth (trans* men), and intersex men



non-binary is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity does not fall into the binary of female and male. some non-binary people identify as trans*, while others don’t. a non-binary person defines themself outside of the binary spectrum, i.e. they are neither male nor female. gender assigned at birth is irrelevant. non-binary people are very diverse in their presentation. they can be read as male or female from the outside, but also present androgynously, feminine or masculine. they do not need to “appear” as non-binary - they simply are.
people whose gender does not fall into the binary have existed for centuries. a close equivalent to non-binary identities in north american Indigenous cultures are “two spirit” people, in the philippines, “baklâ" people, and in hawai’i, "māhū". due to colonization, many Indigenous peoples were violently forced into the white christian-influenced binary and heteronormative system, where non-normative gender identities were attempted to be eradicated



pansexual people are romantically and/or sexually attracted to people regardless of their gender. bisexuality and pansexuality are often considered as similar or as the same thing, but many pansexual people prefer the term because it makes it clear that they are also attracted to people outside the gender binary. as with bisexuality, the nature and intensity of attraction to each gender can vary, but says nothing about the degree to which a person is pansexual.



pronouns are grammatical words such as “he”, “she”, and “they” to refer to a person. he/him and she/her refer mostly refer to people who are male or female, and they/them mostly refers to non-binary people. anyone can use any pronouns they wish, regardless of their sex or gender. it is a basic level of respect to use someone’s correct pronouns, even if you don’t understand why the person uses them.
some non-binary people use they/them, and some use the pronouns that correspond with the sex that they were assigned at birth - this doesn’t mean that some people are more non-binary than others. there are many factors that affect what pronouns a person uses. some intersex people use they/them because their bodies are not male or female. some people use neo-pronouns, such as xe/xem.
we must normalise asking for pronouns and using the correct ones, and not question someones gender identity when they state their pronouns. if you accidentally use the wrong pronouns for someone, quickly correct yourself and move on - don’t make a scene, don’t profusely apologise, and don’t explain why you used the wrong pronouns. the person you are talking about could experience this often, and it is exhausting for them to listen to an explanation or an apology every time



a trans* person - short for transgender - is any person who does not identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. the term is mostly known as an abbreviation for binary trans* identities, which include, for example, men who were assigned the female sex at birth based on their physical attributes (trans* men). however, trans* also includes identities that do not fit into the binary system. these include non-binary identities such as agender, neutrois and gender fluid, to name but a few.
many binary trans* people strive to “pass”, which means that they alter their physical appearance so as to be perceived as the gender they are, and not the sex that they were assigned at birth. this is not only for their internal well-being, but often also for their own safety, especially since trans* people are often harassed and attacked in public when they do not “pass”. however, not all trans* people want to or can “pass”. we want the image of trans* people in the media to be more diverse and nuanced, so that any trans* body can be accepted and appreciated