An Ally's Guide to Terminology

July 2011 | Movement Advancement Project and GLAAD

Download PDF Go to Web Site

“"Parenting and adoption are about providing security, love and protection for kids. Discussions about parenting and adoption should not focus on “rights” - but rather on how loving, caring LGBT parents can provide children with the love, stability, protection, security and guidance they need to thrive and succeed."”

The words that are used to talk about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and issues can have a powerful impact on conversations. The right words can help open people’s hearts and minds, while others can create distance or confusion. For example, the abbreviation “LGBT” is commonly used within the movement for lesbian, gay, bi and transgender equality, but it can be confusing and alienating to people who don’t understand what it means. Designed for new allies who want to support LGBT Americans but often face an array of confusing terminology and language, this short guide offers an overview of essential vocabulary, terms to avoid, and a few key messages for talking about various issues.