Real English

Gay Straight Bisexual Queer Dyke Trans Lesbian Het

This flyer uses a variety of terms for sexual orientation. Some are standard in conversation - straight (heterosexual) and bisexual (attracted to both sexes) are common and inoffensive. Gay (homosexual), which can also be used by anyone, has expanded its meaning over the last twenty years and can now be used for both men and women, though lesbian is the term specifically for homosexual women.

Trans is an abbreviation of transsexual (someone who has changed or who wants to change his/her sex.) Het is an abbreviated form of heterosexual that is not often used in conversation.

Queer (homosexual) and dyke (a lesbian, especially one who is masculine) are both "dangerous" words. They are generally considered insulting when used by outsiders but acceptable if used by the people they describe.

Flyer for discussion group. Posted in Somerville, MA, June, 2003.

go back to GLBT page
go back to Real English main page