Glossary of terms relating to gender and sexual orientation

Here you can read about terms relating to gender and sexual orientation.

Asexual – A collective term for people who do not feel sexually attracted to others or who do not feel interested in having sex.

Bisexual – A person who has a romantic and/or sexual attraction to other people regardless of their gender.

Cis person – A person who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth, i.e. the legal gender assigned to the person at that time (girl or boy). A cis person has a gender expression that corresponds with society's norms for that gender. A cis person is the opposite of a transgender person. (Cis is Latin for "on the same side".)

Heterosexual – A girl/woman who has a romantic and/or sexual attraction to boys/men. Or a boy/man who has a romantic and/or sexual attraction to girls/women.

Homosexual – A person who has a romantic and/or sexual attraction to other people of the same sex.

Non-binary – People who self-identify as between, beyond or with both gender categories of woman/man can refer themselves as non-binary. It is a term used to describe different ways of identifying oneself when it comes to gender that does not follow the norm of two genders. Non-binary does not mean the same thing for everyone who identifies with it. (Binary means that something can only consist of two different things, such as gender only being girl or a boy.)

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Intersex/intersex variation – Having an intersex variation means that your gender chromosomes, glands (testicles or ovaries) or sexual organs have developed in a way that is different from most others. If you have an intersex variation, you can refer to yourself an intersex person. Having an intersex variation has nothing to do with your gender identity. You can be a girl, a boy, a non-binary or something else. It has nothing to do with sexual orientation.

Gender identity – The gender you identify with. Not all people have a gender identity.

Gender expression – How a person expresses their gender through things like clothes, body language, hairstyle, voice and other aspects of their appearance.

Pansexual – A person who experiences romantic and/or sexual attraction to any person, regardless of their gender. As a pansexual, you think there are several different genders, not just two.

Queer – Can be described as a criticism of norms concerning gender and sexual orientation. Queer can also be an identity, "being queer", when you are unwilling or unable to define yourself as a girl, boy, bisexual, heterosexual or homosexual. This may be because you don't like this division into what is considered "normal" and what is considered "abnormal" in terms of gender and sexual orientation. It may also be because what you feel about gender and/or sexual orientation cannot be explained using any other term.

Sexual orientation – Is about the gender of those for whom you feel a romantic and/or sexual attraction. You can be, for example, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or queer. There are many more ways you might feel and words that describe it.

Transgender person – People who are not or do not feel like the norms of gender and gender identity say they should. It may be, for example, a person who is seen by others as a girl, but who feels like a boy. Or a person who doesn't feel like a girl or a boy. It has nothing to do with those for whom they feel a romantic and/or sexual attraction. A transgender person is the opposite of a cis person. (Trans is Latin for "across".)

Transsexual – A person who does not feel that their body matches the gender they identify with. It could be a boy who was given the legal gender of female at birth. Or a girl who was given the legal gender of male at birth. People who are transsexual often want to both change their legal gender and modify their body with the aid of, for example, hormones and/or surgery. This has nothing to do with those for whom they feel a romantic and/or sexual attraction.

Tips on sites where you can access more information and support as an LGBTQ+ person

  • Newcomers Youth - a project for young LGBTQI people (aged 15-30) who are asylum-seekers, undocumented or new arrivals in Sweden.
  • RFSL Support Service - Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Rights. (Please note: there is no panic button here to exit the page quickly.)
  • Tjej-, trans- och ungdomsjourer - Resources for girls, transgender people and young people.
  • Transammans – association for transgender people and those close to them. (Please note: there is no panic button here to exit the page quickly.) (In Swedish only.)
  • Transformering – support and information about transgender issues. (In Swedish only.)
  • Youmo.se – A website where some parts of the umo.se website are presented in several languages, such as English, Tigrinya, Somali, Dari and Arabic.