General Lab Information


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Pride?

Pride is the promotion of the self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of gender and sexual minorities as a social group.

What is sexual orientation?

A person’s physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction towards other people.​

What is gender identity?​

The reflection of a deeply felt and experienced sense of one’s self.​

Can I be part of the ERG if I’m straight?​

Yes! Pride is for all regardless of identity. Allies have been a huge force in shaping gay history.​

What’s the difference between sex and gender?​

Sex is assigned at birth depending on a child’s genitals whereas gender is decided by the individual on who they intrinsically are.

How can I find someone’s pronouns without being rude?

Pronouns should always be asked; never assumed. If you are unsure of a person’s pronouns, the best thing you can do is ask! As pronouns are becoming more and more common, more people are aware of this concept and are more open to a conversation. You may have seen the in email signatures recently; acts like this not only declare your pronouns for others, but helps to open and normalize these conversations with people who are not familiar.

Common Terms

Ally – Describes a person who supports, both publicly and privately, the LGBTQ community and equality in its many forms. Heterosexual and cisgender people can be allies, as well as individuals from within the LGBTQ community.

Cis-gender – Someone whose gender identity aligns with their gender assigned at birth

Closeted – Describes an LGBTQ* person who has not disclosed their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Also known as “in the closet.”

Coming out (of the closet) – A metaphor for LGBTQ* people’s self-disclosure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity

Gender Expression – How one demonstrates one’s gender (based on traditional gender roles) through the ways one acts, dresses, behaves, and interacts.

Gender Nonconforming – Describes a person who does not adhere to the traditional expectations — in terms of their appearance or behavior — of their assigned gender. Some of these individuals identify as transgender but others, for example, masculine lesbians, do not.

GSM – An acronym defining gender and sexual minorities – a more general term for people in the LGBTQ* community. This acronym is often used interchangeably with LGBTQ* or LGBT.

Heteronormative Ideology – A belief that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation.

Heterosexual – Someone who is attracted to people of the opposite sex (more commonly known as “straight”)

Homophobia – A dislike or prejudice against LGBTQ* people

LGBT – An older term representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. This acronym is often used interchangeably with LGBTQ* or GSM.

LGBTQ* - An all inclusive acronym used to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, queer/questioning people. The asterisk includes all other non-heterosexual, cis-gender identities such as pansexuality, asexuality, two spirit, agender, intersexuality, etc. This acronym is often used interchangeably with LGBT or GSM.

LGBTQ* - An all inclusive acronym used to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, queer/questioning people. The asterisk includes all other non-heterosexual, cis-gender identities such as pansexuality, asexuality, two spirit, agender, intersexuality, etc. This acronym is often used interchangeably with LGBT or GSM.

Non-binary - Describes a person who does not identify as exclusively male or exclusively female and usually prefers “they” as a pronoun. “NB” or enby may also be used to refer to the term non-binary. Not all non-binary individuals prefer or use this term, so remember: it’s always better to ask.

Outing – Exposing someone as a member of the LGBTQ* community without their permission

Pronoun - A word that refers to either the people talking or someone or something that is being talked about. Some examples include he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs, xe/xem/xyr. These should be asked, not assumed!

Sex – At birth, babies are assigned a sex that typically corresponds with their external anatomy. Yet an individual’s sex is influenced by a larger combination of factors, including their chromosomes, genes, hormones, reproductive organs and secondary sex characteristics. Male and female are the most commonly recognized sexes, yet a person born with sex characteristics that are not typical for male or female bodies can be described as an intersex individual.

Transgender – Describes a person whose gender identity and/or gender expression do not match their assigned sex at birth. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer.

Transitioning – A complex process by which transgender people align their anatomy (medical transition) and gender expression (social transition) with their gender identity. Transitioning is a multiple-step process that occurs over a long period of time. It can include such steps as using a different name, using new pronouns, dressing differently, updating legal documents, hormone therapy and surgery. The exact steps involved in a person’s transition varies.

Credit: Annie E. Casey Foundation

Important Dates

Below is a calendar of significant dates to memebers of the LGBT community along with what or who they are commemorating. Find out more in our Awareness Periods area.

Name Date Year Started Notes
Agender Pride Day 19 May Day to promote awareness of agender individuals[2]
Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week The first full week after 14 February 2014 Week to promote information and awareness about aromantic spectrum identities and the issues they face[3]
Asexual Awareness Week Last full week in October 2010 Week to promote awareness of those on the asexual spectrum[4]
Bisexual Awareness Week Week surrounding 23 September 2014 Also referred to as BiWeek, and Bisexual+ Awareness Week
Day of Silence April 1996 Day varies from year to year; GLSEN’s Day of Silence is an organizing tool to end the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bias.
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia 17 May 2005 The main purpose of the 17 May mobilizations is to raise awareness of violence, discrimination, abuse, and repression of LGBT communities worldwide.
International Pronouns Day Third Wednesday in October 2018 An annual event that seeks to make sharing, respecting and educating about personal pronouns commonplace
International Transgender Day of Visibility 31 March 2009[10] Celebrated to bring awareness to transgender people and their identities as well as recognize those who helped fight for rights for transgender people
Intersex Awareness Day 26 October 1996 Celebrated in October to commemorate the first intersex protest, which took place in Boston, MA[11]
Lesbian Visibility Day 26 April 2008 Annual day to celebrate, recognize, and bring visibility to lesbians[12][13][14]
LGBT Pride Month June[15] June is celebrated as Pride in honor of the Stonewall Riots, though Pride events occur all year round. It also marks the month that same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States.
National Coming Out Day 11 October 1988[16]
Non-Binary Awareness Week Week surrounding 14th July, Sunday-Saturday[17] 2020 A week by, for, and about non-binary people, that includes celebrating non-binary people, non-binary advocacy, and educating and raising awareness about non-binary experiences and needs. Started by @NBWeek on Twitter.[18]
Pansexual & Panromantic Awareness Day 24 May 2015 Annual day to promote awareness of and celebrate pansexual & panromantic identities.[1]
Transgender Awareness Week Typically second week of November Week to educate about transgender and gender non-conforming people and the issues associated with their transition or identity.
Transgender Day of Remembrance 20 November 1999 Day to memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia
World AIDS Day 1 December 1988 Recognized in 1988 by the United Nations