• Neeraj Tulsani

Understanding Pride Terminology

Why are we talking about pride?

June is a month which is celebrated as Pride month all over the world. This commemorative month is meant to recognise the sweeping impacts that LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) individuals, communities and allies have had on history, in the US and around the globe. This month was chosen as pride month because of the riots held by the LGBTQ community against a police raid that took place in June 1969 at Stonewall inn in New York City. This uproar paved the way for the modern fight for LGBTQ rights. Many parades and other activities are organized all over the world for the same. My aim to write this article is to make you familiar with them so that this feeling of awkwardness and stigma you feel when you meet or see this community is lessened.

They are as much human as we are.

Love is universal.

Love knows no boundaries.

Love knows no gender

Love is Love

In my article today, you'll read about the basic terminologies regarding sex, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, LGBTQ+ and how they are different from each other. Saying that, let us get back to the basics.

Is sex and gender same ?

Well, most of the times we use these terms interchangeable but in actual these two terms are very different. Sex can be referred to biological attributes in an individual, the genes and the chromosomes one is born with. Gender on the other hand is much more complex. These are more about the expectations we have to act in because of the sex you were born with. While sex is what makes you a boy or a girl, it is gender that makes you a tomboy, feminine, macho, etc. By separating sex and gender, it means there is more to the world than just being a man or woman. There are many different possibilities in between.

This gives a rise to a term called gender identity.

Gender Identity is how you feel inside and how you want to express your gender. It is a feeling that begins very early in life.

Apart from sex, gender and gender identity, there is one more important term - sexuality

Sexuality is how you express yourselves as a sexual being. Sometimes sexuality can also be referred to as sexual orientation. In short, it comprises of the identity of self, their behaviour and attraction with others.

Now let's understand what each of these terms in LGBTQ + stand for ?

  • Gay is a homosexual person who is sexually and/or emotionally attracted to people of their own gender, usually used for men.

  • Lesbian is a woman who is emotionally and sexually attracted to other women.

Photo by Diego Rezende from Pexels
  • Bisexual is a person experiencing sexual and emotional attraction to multiple genders. Most of the times we do associate this term with a person who is attracted to both male and females but in actual they can be attracted to multiple genders.

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels
  • Transgender is a person who identifies themselves different from the sex (biological identity) they were born with.

While homosexuals (gay and lesbians) denotes sexual orientation of an individual i.e. they are sexually and emotionally attracted to same-sex of theirs; Transgender , on the other hand, is more of gender identity. It is a term used for the people whose gender identity (or gender expression) is different from the sex that they were associated at the time of birth. Homosexuals align with their sex of birth but it's their orientation that differentiates them from hetrosexual or straight people. Sometimes transgenders may also perceive themselves as gender non-conforming. Transgender people usually opt for surgery depending on their gender identity (male to female or female to male).

  • Cis-gender is a person that aligns their sex with what they were assigned at birth.

  • Queer is an umbrella term created for anyone outside of the heterosexual norm. Basically all the identities apart from straight and cis-gender fall under queer.

All heterosexuals and homosexuals can be called cis-gender because they align themselves with the sex they are born with. It is the sexual orientation of individuals that identifies these cis-gender into a homosexual, bisexual and heterosexual. Basically, we can say that cisgender is the opposite word of transgender.

  • Pansexual is an individual that can be attracted to all kinds of people regardless of their biological sex, gender and gender identity.

Wait. What ! There's Pansexual too ? But you just mentioned Bisexual, aren't they the same thing ?

Well, there is nothing much different between these two terms, they both relate to the orientation of an individual. The big difference between them is while bi-sexual people may be attracted to a selected few genders of the one mentioned above, pansexual are attracted to everyone, irrespective of their gender.

  • Binary is a concept that there are two categories of sex, male & female. In gender, there are only masculine and feminine.

  • Non-binary is a term used for a person who doesn’t identify themselves as male or female.

  • Intersex is a term used for individuals that are born with sex characteristics (like genitals and chromosomes) that do not fit the standard definition of male and female.

  • Asexual is a person having little or no sexual attraction to other people.

  • Agender is a person who doesn’t identify themselves from any gender.

Okay, now you're confusing me for god damn real ! Aren't non-binary and intersex the same thing ?

No, while an intersex person may have characteristics of both sex or lack something to define them as one sex or another; non-binary, on the other hand, is neither exclusively male or female. Some non-binary people may identify themselves as transgender while others may identify themselves with their biological sex to some extent. Non-binary people may identify themselves with two or more genders, no gender (agender) or even move (shift) between genders while intersex people may or may not choose particular sex over time.

  • Gender fluid persons are those who don’t have fix gender identity. Their gender identity may shift over time. They can sometimes identify themselves as muti gender, transgender or non-binary. This gender fluidity can be displayed in various ways like how one dresses, expresses themselves or even how they describe themselves.

  • Drag queens and kings are individuals who love to wear clothes associated with the opposite sex, irrespective of their sex, gender and gender identity.


Many of the above terms will sound similar, they are used for different contexts. There is a long list of terminologies but these are few common ones. To summarise it all, check out this illustration I made ( 100% hand-made ) !

So as we wrap it up today, I hope you understood these terms better and were able to differentiate from each. Still, confused? Don't worry, write your doubts in the comments section below, & I'll address them there.


If you want to read out my other articles, check them out here.

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