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They vary in how completely they dress from one article of clothing to fully cross-dressing as well as in their motives for doing so. A small number can go on to identify as transsexual. People who wish to transition often start by expressing their gender identity in situations where they feel safe.

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They typically work up to living full-time in a different gender, by making gradual changes to their gender expression. Connecting with other transgender people through peer support groups and transgender community organisations is also very helpful for people when they are going through the transition process. Transitioning typically involves changes in clothing and grooming, a name change, change of gender on identity documents, hormonal treatment, and surgery.

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Coming Out is the term used by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender LGBT people to describe their experience of discovery, self-acceptance, openness and honesty about their LGBT identity and their decision to disclose, i. Three sexual orientations are commonly recognised — heterosexual, homosexual gay and lesbian and bisexual. Homophobia refers to fear of or prejudice and discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual people. It is also the dislike of same-sex attraction and love or the hatred of people who have those feelings. While homophobic comments or attitudes are often unintentional, they can cause hurt and offence to lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Transphobia refers to fear of or prejudice and discrimination against people who are transgender or who are perceived to transgress norms of gender, gender identity or gender expression. While transphobic comments or attitudes are often unintentional, they can cause hurt and offence to transgender people.

These terms are explained in more detail here. Homophobia Fear of people attracted to the same sex.

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  • Intolerance , bias , or prejudice is usually a more accurate description of antipathy toward LGBTQ people. Biphobia Fear of bisexuals, often based on stereotypes, including inaccurate associations with infidelity, promiscuity, and transmission of sexually transmitted infections.

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    Intolerance , bias , or prejudice is usually a more accurate description of antipathy toward bisexual people. Coming Out A lifelong process of self-acceptance. Publicly sharing one's identity may or may not be part of coming out.


    For example: Ricky Martin is an out pop star from Puerto Rico. Preferred to openly gay. Also openly lesbian , openly bisexual , openly transgender , openly queer. While accurate and commonly used, the phrase still implies a confessional aspect to publicly acknowledging one's sexual orientation or gender identity. See out above. Closeted Describes a person who is not open about their sexual orientation.

    What Does Queer Really Mean?

    Some individuals may be out to some people in their life, but not out to others due to fear of rejection, harassment, violence, losing one's job, or other concerns. Marriage In June , the U. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that every American has the constitutional right to marry the person they love. When reporting on marriage for same-sex couples, preferred terminology includes marriage equality and marriage for same-sex couples.

    Note, the terms "gay marriage" and "same-sex marriage" should be avoided, as they can suggest marriage for same-sex couples is somehow different than other marriages.

    LGBTQ Terminology

    Civil Union Historically used in the U. While many Western countries including the United States have now legalized marriage for same-sex couples, others only legally recognize same-sex relationships through civil unions. Sodomy Laws Historically used to selectively persecute gay people, the state laws often referred to as "sodomy laws" were ruled unconstitutional by the U. Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas Identifying a same-sex couple as "a homosexual couple," characterizing their relationship as "a homosexual relationship," or identifying their intimacy as "homosexual sex" is extremely offensive and should be avoided.

    As a rule, try to avoid labeling an activity, emotion, or relationship gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer unless you would call the same activity, emotion, or relationship "straight" if engaged in by someone of another orientation. LGBTQ people are diverse in the ways they lead their lives.

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    The words "admitted" or "avowed" suggest that being attracted to the same sex is somehow shameful or inherently secretive. They seek to be able to earn a living, be safe in their communities, serve their country, and take care of the ones they love.