Resources & Services
The LGBT Queer Resource Center strives to provide students with the resources and training needed to become a successful student
at California State University, Fullerton.
What are Pronouns?
Personal pronouns are essentially how we refer to a singular person in third person. Pronouns typically imply a specific gender, such as he/his - boy, man or she/her - girl, woman, but a person’s pronouns do not dictate a person’s gender identity. Everybody has a set or sets of pronouns that they use, including cisgender and transgender people. Learn more about, "What are Pronouns and Why do they Matter?" For more information, please visit mypronouns.org.
You can also share your own pronouns by sharing a link to the pronoun you go by. Here are some widely-used pronouns: They, She, He, Ze. However there are a multitude of other pronouns as well and all of them are equally important.
Why are pronouns important?
- Using somebody’s correct pronouns is a way to respect them and create an inclusive environment.
- Just as it would be rude and hurtful to purposefully call somebody by an incorrect name, it would be offensive to purposefully use the incorrect pronoun when referring to somebody.
How do I know somebody’s pronouns?
Just like you can’t look at somebody and try to guess their name, you can’t look at a person and guess which pronouns they use.
When you meet someone, it’s best to ask what their pronouns are, so that you know how to refer to them respectfully. This can look different depending on your personal preference, but here are some examples:
- “Hi, it’s great to meet you! My name is Gabi and my pronouns are they/them. How should I refer to you?”
- “Welcome to our event. Before we begin, I’d like to go around the room and share our names and pronouns.”
After you know somebody’s pronouns, it’s best to ask when these pronouns are safe to use. For example:
- “Hi Gabi! Thanks for sharing your pronouns with me. Should I always use they/them pronouns for you, or are there certain spaces where I shouldn’t use they/them pronouns?”
A great way to make people feel comfortable sharing their pronouns is to share yours. Consider adding your pronouns to your business cards and email signatures if possible. Of course, we should always invite or encourage people to share their pronouns, not force them. If you don’t know somebody’s pronouns (because you haven’t been able to ask yet) a good habit is to refer to people using they/them pronouns until you know.
What should I do if I mess up and use the wrong pronouns?
It’s okay, mistakes happen! If you recently made a mistake referring to someone, here are some tips:
- First, apologize . This should be as quick and simple as possible, as to not draw attention to the situation or yourself.
- Then, correct yourself and continue .
- For example: “I was talking to her, sorry I mean them . I was talking to them and they said they would meet us later. ”
It’s important to correct yourself in the moment and mentally so that you reinforce the habit of using the correct pronouns to refer to somebody.
If somebody corrects you on their pronouns, don’t be embarrassed! Thank the person for sharing their pronouns and indicate that you will use the correct ones going forward.
If you’re having trouble using the correct pronouns for somebody, practice referring to them on your own verbally. It might take some practice, but you’ll notice improvement and people will appreciate the effort!
- Try practicing “Gabi went to their car. They drive a subaru. I should buy them a coffee.”
What are Neopronouns?
Neopronouns are sets of pronouns often developed within the 19th and 20th century.
They are often used to further oneself from the gender binary, but many people use neopronouns for different reasons.
If you’re unsure how to use somebody’s pronouns, you can politely ask them for an example.
It’s important to note that questions should be kept respectful and polite. Before asking someone a possibly invasive question, ask yourself “Why do I need to know this about this person?” If your question will help you interact with or refer to this person, it’s probably an appropriate question. If not, consider asking staff at the LGBT Queer Resource Center for information or resources that will further your understanding of gender identity.
Gender Inclusive Language
Using gender inclusive language in everyday situations is a great way to move away from gender binary based worldviews.
Try using some of the following gender neutral alternatives:
- Y’all, Friends, Folks instead of guys or ladies and gentlemen.
- First Years instead of freshmen
- Who are you dating? instead of do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?
- Chairperson, Police Officer, Firefighter instead of Chairman, Policeman, or Fireman.
- Spouse, partner instead of husband or wife
If a gendered honorific is necessary (Mr. or Ms.) be sure to ask people what honorifics they use.
- Some non-binary, genderqueer, or gender-neutral folks will use Mx. but not all.
When using gender neutral terms in any language, consider your intention and how you are centering queer & trans narratives. Gender neutral language is a great first step, but the work shouldn’t stop there.
Spanish Language Pronouns & Gender Neutral Spanish
Many Latinx folks may choose to include Spanish pronouns in addition to or instead of English pronouns, as a conscious effort to center their Latinx identity and bring multiple identities into a space.
- Elle or Ellx are often used as gender neutral Spanish pronouns, seen as equivalent to they/them.
The words Latinx and Latine are often used to describe a group of mixed gender people in a gender neutral way. While Latinx/Latine may seem new within the context of higher education within the United States, the use of “x” has been used in the Spanish language to signify non-binary forms of gender for more than 20 years.
For more information on understanding pronouns, creating LGBTQIA+ inclusive environments, gender neutral language, and supporting LGBTQIA+ students, attend QT 101 series (geared towards CSUF students) or our LGBTQ Ally Training (geared towards faculty and staff.)
QT 101: The Plus is a Mus+
Check out this Zine, " QT 101: The Plus is a Mus+ " created by Minji Kim '20 and RJ Abesamis '22.
The LGBT Queer Resource Center holds numerous community and educational programs throughout the academic year to continue to inform our community of the important historical and cultural aspects of our identities. One of our principle programs is QT 101, an educational series covering various identities, issues, and topics within the Queer community.
Coming Out vs. Inviting In - Supporting Folks on National Coming Out Day
National Coming Out day is the held annually on October 11 to honor and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community. Learn about ways you can support LGBTQIA+ people on their journey to come out to their loved ones or invite loved ones in.
LGBTQIA+ Glossary & Terminology
(alphabetical order - updated December 2022)
Agender: Someone whose gender identity lies completely outside of the gender spectrum, or someone who may not have a gender at all
Allyship: The action of supporting a group other than one’s own to address oppression or social injustice.
Androgyne: Someone whose gender identity expression is both masculine and feminine or in between.
Aromantic: Someone who experiences non-attraction or limited romantic attraction. They may or may not still experience sexual attraction.
Asexual: Someone who may experience non-attraction or limited sexual attraction. They may or may not still experience romantic attraction.
Attraction: The action of feeling interested in or liking someone. Romantic attraction is the desire or lack of desire for a romantic connection with another person and sexual attraction is the desire for sexual contact or sexual interest in another person or other people. Romantic attraction and sexual attraction are not always the same. *See Split Attraction Model
BDSM: Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sado/Masochism. (S&M).
Bear: A large and hairy queer man that can be characterized as ruggedly masculine, but can also be friendly and affectionate.
Bigender: Someone who identifies with two or more genders at the same time or intermittently.
Biphobia: A form of oppression that erases or silences bisexual experiences or voices. Examples of biphobia include the mindset that bisexuality doesn’t exist or the acceptance of bisexual stereotypes.
Biromantic: Someone who experiences romantic attraction to two or more genders. They may or may not feel sexual attraction to two or more genders.
Bisexual: Someone who experiences sexual attraction to two or more genders. They may or may not feel romantic attraction to two or more genders.
Butch: A person whose gender expression is masculine or presents mostly masculine. This term is typically used by lesbians.
Cisgender: Someone whose gender identity matches the gender they were assigned at birth.
Cissexism: The dislike or prejudice against transgender people or transness in general.
Chosen Family: Families formed outside of biological or legal bonds (formed out of choice). Chosen families are often formed for community and safety within the queer community.
Coming Out: Someone comes out by voluntarily sharing their sexuality or gender identity with others. Coming out is unique to each individual and everyone comes out differently.
Culture: A learned set of values, beliefs, customs, norms, and perceptions shared by a group of people that can be passed down from generation to generation.
Demisexual: Someone who needs to develop a romantic attraction to someone before they can experience sexual attraction towards that person .
Discrimination: Unjust or prejudicial treatment of a person or group of people based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or other identities.
Drag King: People, particularly women, who appear as men typically during an act or performance.
Drag Queen: People, particularly men, who appear as women typically during an act or performance.
Ethnicity: An identity in correlation to a group or nation with similar characteristics and values that distinguish them from other ethnic groups.
Female: A person who at birth is identified to have female anatomy and XX chromosomes by a medical professional. These people may or may not be women.
Feminine: The quality of exhibiting traits or characteristics including but not limited to being soft, nurturing, caring, expressive, strong, etc. Not limited to or reserved for any one gender or gender expression.
Femme: A person whose gender expression is feminine or presents mostly feminine.
Fetish: Sexual desire in the form of an abnormal degree/object/body part; linked to gratification/orgasm.
Gay: A label used to identify homosexual men. Also, an umbrella term used by the queer community at large to refer to overall queerness.
Gender: A social construct used to classify people as men, women, or another identity. Gender is different than sex-assigned at birth.
Gender dysphoria: A significant distress related to a strong desire to be a different gender (discomfort in their gender).
Gender expression: How a person expresses themself in terms of dress, physical characteristics, and behaviors. Individuals may embody their gender in many different ways and have terms beyond those listed.
Genderfluid: Someone whose gender identity fluctuates between two or more genders.
Gender identity: An individual’s internal sense of their gender. This identity is fluid, and may or may not correlate with their sex assigned at birth. One’s gender identity does not always equate to one’s gender expression.
Gender non-conforming: An adjective to describe someone who does not adhere to societal expectations of gender expressions or roles.
Genderqueer: An adjective to describe someone who does not identify with the gender binary or the assigned gender roles that go along with that binary gender construct
Heteronormativity: Attitudes and behaviors that conform to the gender binary and ignore gender identities different than cisgender women and cisgender men or attractions different than heterosexuality.
Heteroromantic: Someone who is romantically attracted to the opposite sex. They may or may not be sexually attracted to the opposite sex.
Heterosexism: The presumption that everyone is heterosexual and that hetero attractions and relationships are superior.
Heterosexual: Someone who is sexually attracted to the opposite gender. They may or may not be romantically attracted to the opposite gender.
Homophobia: A form of oppression that erases or silences queer experiences or voices. It operates under the assumption that all people are or should be heterosexual.
Homosexual/Homosexuality: A term to describe those that experience attraction to people of the same gender. This is an outdated term.
Internalized Homophobia: The internal struggle gay people experience when they consciously and unconsciously believe the ideals of Heterosexism.
Internalized Cissexism: The discomfort trans folx experience when they internalize society’s gender norms.
Intersectionality: The study of overlapping social identities in relation to power and oppression ( Crenshaw, 1989 ).
Intersex: A person born with variations in sex characteristics: chromosomes, hormones, or physical appearance.
Kink: Use of non-conventional sexual practices (bend in one’s sexual behavior).
Leather: Subculture within the queer community in dressing in leather garments; may or may not participate in BDSM.
Lesbian: Non-men who are attracted exclusively to other non-men. This is the only sexuality that excludes men. All other genders are included in this sexuality. Some lesbians may be on the asexual or aromantic spectrum.
LGBT: An abbreviation for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender”. It is used as an umbrella term to refer to the queer community as a whole.
Male: A person who at birth is identified to have male anatomy and XY chromosomes by a medical professional. These people may or may not be women.
Marginalization: The act of placing a person or group of people at the outer edges of society resulting in lesser power of that group.
Masculine: The quality of exhibiting traits or characteristics including but not limited to being strong, rambunctious, firm, steadfast, forward-thinking, and moving, as well as providing. Not reserved for or limited to any one gender or gender expression.
Misgendering: The act of attributing one gender identity to someone that does not align with their gender identity. Misgendering can occur by using incorrect pronouns, using gendered language, or assuming someone’s gender without knowing how they identify.
MLM: An abbreviation for “men loving men”.
Monogamy: Having one sexual or romantic partner at a time.
Neutrois: A person who has a neutral gender identity or does not identify with any specific gender. There is no one definition for neutrois as every neutrois person develops their own understanding of the identity.
Nonbinary: A person that does not identify with the binary genders of man and woman. Their identity can manifest between, above of, or outside of man and woman.
Omnigender: A person that possesses all genders.
Oppression : Cruel or unjust treatment of a group of people without societal power. Oppression occurs with the combination of prejudice and power. A group without societal power cannot oppress a group with power.
Pansexual: A person that experiences romantic, sexual, or emotional attraction to another person regardless of their gender identity.
Polyamory: Being in or wanting to be in multiple sexual or romantic relationships at the same time.
Polygender: Identifying with and showing characteristics of multiple genders and in doing so challenging the concept of the gender binary.
Pronouns: Parts of speech used in place of a person’s name in discourse or conversation. Examples include they/them/theirs, she/her/hers, he/him/his. Using incorrect pronouns is a form of misgendering.
Queer: A term historically used to marginalize those without heteronormative identities. Currently used as an umbrella term for the LGBTQIA community as a whole.
Queer Coding: The subtextual coding of a character in the media, usually film and television, as queer. Using traits and behaviors stereotypically associated with queer people, representation in this way often portrayed people as either the butt of the joke or villainous.
Questioning: The process of developing one’s sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression. This term can also be used to name an identity.
Romantic Attraction: A desire or lack of desire for a romantic connection with another person or other people.
Sapphic: An adjective to describe the attraction of non-men to other non-men.
Sex-assigned at birth: Medically constructed categorization based on the appearance of the genitalia, hormones, chromosomes, and other anatomical characteristics.
Sexism: Prejudice, discrimination, or oppression of a person or group or people based on sex or gender.
Sexuality: The way people express their attraction or non-attraction. This attraction can be sexual, romantic, or emotional. Sexuality is fluid and a person can use a variety of labels beyond those listed.
Sexual Attraction: A desire for sexual contact or sexual interest in another person or other people.
Sexual Orientation: Sexual orientation is an enduring attraction or non-attraction to others. This attraction can be sexual, romantic, or emotional. Sexual orientation is fluid and a person can use a variety of labels beyond those listed.
Socialization: The process of internalizing the beliefs and values of one’s community.
Split Attraction Model: A model explaining that there can be a difference between a person’s sexual orientation and romantic orientation.
Stem/Futch: Terms used to express gender expression that lies between the spectrum of masculinity and femininity. The term “stem” originates from the word “stud” and the use of it by non-Black folx is considered cultural appropriation.
Stereotype: A generalization applied to an entire population in an identity group.
Stud/AG: A masculine form of gender expression rooted in the Black Lesbian Community. The use of these terms by non-Black folx is considered cultural appropriation.
TERF: An acronym for “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists.”
Transgender: A person whose gender identity and/or gender expression does not match their sex assigned at birth.
Trans feminine: A term to describe a trans individual with a predominately feminine gender identity and/or gender expression.
Transition: The process of changing one’s gender presentation to match their gender identity.
Trans masculine: A term to describe a trans individual with a predominately masculine gender identity and/or gender expression.
Transphobia: The dislike or prejudice against transgender people or transness in general.
Two Spirit: A person that possesses both a feminine and masculine spirit. It is used as an umbrella term for the queerness of Indigenous people.
Umbrella terms: A broad term to cover a wide range of words that fit under one categorization. For example, the term “queer” can be used as an umbrella term for many LGBTQIA identities.