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Sexual Assignment Terminology

The more it's studied, the more complex the issue of not being straight becomes.

New insights, understanding and terminology of sexual assignments are evolving. There are a myriad of theories on how and why we see more complex identities. In reality, these gender variants have existed for hundreds, maybe thousands of years in the human race.

Regardless of what the non-straights’ sexual identities may be, their husbands and wives are still Straight Spouses. The Straight Spouse Network is here for all Straight Spouses who experience similar emotional turmoils and challenges. Our groups are ALL-INCLUSIVE. No one should have to search far and wide for alternative support when our Support Group Facilitators and Support Contacts should be there for every Straight Spouse.

Someone who is not straight may say, “It’s not who you go to bed with, it’s who you go to bed as.” When a Straight Spouse is married to someone who is different, they are faced with questions that are no longer easily explained as someone simply being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered. Here are terminologies to that effect.


is the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. Other terms used are Ladyman or Bigendered. Androgyny is expressed in one’s singing or speaking voice, ambiguous appearance, fashion, make up and hairstyle choices, or sexual lifestyle. In other words, an androgynous man is usually effeminate looking, and androgynous females have a more masculine persona.

Asexual This term has been around for a long time. But labelling asexuality as a sexual orientation is a fairly new concept among researchers. Asexuals have little interest in or no sexual attraction to anyone. This not a form of celibacy or an aversion to sex. Some asexuals do engage in sex despite feeling no attraction, perhaps to pleasure a partner, or in order to have children. Asexual on-line communities have emerged, most prominently the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), founded in by David Jay in 2001.


One who is sexually attracted to both male and females.

Cisgender (CIS).

Instead of simply using the term Straight, there is now a term for people who have a gender identity that matches the sex that they were born with. Cisgender are those who have a gender identity or perform roles in society considered appropriate for their sex. There are two versions of the term: cis male for “male assigned male at birth” or cis female for “female assigned female at birth”. The term Cisgender was coined by transgender persons, who prefer to say a man who has transitioned and is now a woman is Female;  Cisgender is used to differentiate between a straight person born as a woman and a Transexual, or a transitioned woman. And the same with straight men vs transitioned men.

Cross dresser, CD

a person, usually male, who  privately enjoys wearing the clothing, hair styles, makeup, etc. and uses mannerisms typical of someone of the opposite sex.


The definition of this term is somewhat disputable. A demisexual person is described as only being sexually attracted to people with whom they have formed a strong emotional or romantic bond, and a sense of trust. However, there is some conjecture that demsexuals may temporarily identify as asexual and then decide that they are in fact demisexual , or even sexual.

Demisexual seems to indicate that one is simply not eager to have recreational or gratuitous sex. It seems incorrect to label them as asexual, which has a completely differnt connotation. But this seems to be a common intreptation, or perhaps misconception.

Gay or homosexual

a man who is primarily sexually attracted to men.

Gender Neutrality

This is a movement to end discrimination of gender identiy by using gender-neutral language. New terminology is being adopted to avoid bias toward any particular gender. It includes use of nouns that are not gender-specific to refer to roles or professions. This means not using gender specific pronouns such as he, him and his, to refer to people of indeterminate gender. Examples: instead of using the words “policeman” and “stewardess”, you would say, “police officer” and “flight attendant”, which are gender-neutral terms. The terms “actor” and “actress have been changed to simply “actor” for quite some time now. Terms such as “chairman” can be considered gender-specific; the gender-neutral term is “chairperson”, and so on.

Genderqueer (GQ)

or gender-expansive, describes a broad category of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine. “Queer,” means “not heterosexual,” and “genderqueer” denotes gender identity. The terms “gender-nonconforming, bi-gender, non-binary, or “fluid” are also considered acceptable for non-heterosexuals. Genderqueer includes people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. They prefer to be referred to with gender-neutral terminology.


These are people who are born with atypical physical sexual characteristics. Intersex has replaced the old term hermaphrodite. Being born with male and female genitalia confuses initial sex assignment and often leads to involuntary or coerced medical treatment. Early surgery (usually chosen by parents) may impose a sexual assignment which would not be the individual’s preferred choice later on. About 1 in 1500 to 2000 are born with these characteristics. Even more people are born with subtler forms of anitomical variations, some of which won’t develop until later in life.

Lesbian or homosexual

a woman who is primarily sexually attracted to women.

Pangender people identify as all genders and overlap with genderqueer and trigender. They feel an all-encompassing sexual nature. Preferred pronoun terminology usage varies with individuals who identify as pangender. Pangender persons generally express the desire to include aspects of all genders in their lives. Some people who identify as pangender seek to transition.


Transgender persons are also referred to as Gender Non-Conforming. Transgender (TG)  a person whose behavior, appearance, or identity cross, transcend, or do not conform to their biological or assigned sex. This is the medical condition of a woman being “trapped” in a man’s body or a man “trapped” in a woman’s body. One of the biggest decisions a transgender person faces is making a plan for Sexual Reassignment Surgery preceded by hormone therapy and counselling. In these procedures, sexual organs are removed or added to change a person’s body into that of the opposite sex. Some individuals are Dual gender: presenting themselves as one or the other sex alternately.


Transsexual people are transgender persons who have transitioned from one sex to another.


This is a general category which includes genderqueer or androgyny; identity that goes beyond the normal binary gender system (male and female) and tends to be a catch-all place for other gender identities.


Transvestites are persons of either sex, generally males, who publicly and often flamboyantly use make up, dress in the clothing of, and act in the manner of the opposite sex. They are also called Drag Queens or Kings. They typically do not identify as the gender opposite that assigned at birth and do not intend to transition.