Good to know

A little queer lexicon


Describes people who do not have romantic and sexual relationships exclusively with people of a certain gender.


An idea that emerged from western culture, according to which gender is thought to be exclusively “male” or “female”. See also Third option, Intersex, Heteronormativity.


A person whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. The term has its origin in the Latin “cis-” (on this side), which is the opposite of “trans-” (on the other side, across from). See also Gender, Gender identity.


Homosexual person.


Gender is a sociocultural term and encompasses gender role (including expectations) and gender identity. It differs from biological sex, which refers to all physical sex-specific characteristics.

gender expression

The manner in which gender/gender identity is outwardly embodied. Gender expression goes way beyond a style of dress. It can be found in all the little characteristics and attributes that we attach to gender roles: how someone walks, the vocabulary they use, their posture, the pitch of their voice, how they look after their body and behave socially, etc. See also Gender identity.

gender identity

The gender that a person feels that they belong to – regardless of their actual biological sex. Gender identity may, but does not have to, match the gender assigned at birth. It’s important to understand that everyone has the right to choose their gender identity themselves.


In German, the gender_gap or underscore (e.g. Mitarbeiter_innen = employees) is used within words to create a linguistic gap, making all gender identities visible, beyond male and female. The gender*star was borrowed from programming languages where it stands for a variety of possible endings that can follow a word stem. In this case, for example, transsexual, intersexual or transgender.

You will find a more in-depth description in our HOW TO No. 3: Do you speak LGBT*IQ? A guide to using gender-inclusive and gender-fair language, available at proutatwork.test

genetic characteristics

The number of chromosomes as well as the composition of the chromosome set. Genetics also contribute to diversity: apart from XX and XY chromosome sets, a whole range of combinations is possible, and even cells within the same body can have different chromosome combinations. Likewise, the chromosome combinations XX and XY do not guarantee traditional sex development.

genital characteristics

The external sex organs are biologically related and follow a common development trajectory, irrespective of their final state.

gonadal characteristics

Gonads or sex glands are the sexual organs that produce some sexual hormones and all gametes for reproduction, i.e. testicles and ovaries.


Cultural point of view that defines heterosexuality as well as the gender binary and cisgender system as the social norm and can be the cause of disadvantages and discrimination.


Sexual orientation defined by sexual attraction to persons of the other gender (based on a binary idea of gender).


Fear of, discrimination against and hatred towards homosexual people. See also Interphobia, Transphobia.


Sexual orientation defined by sexual attraction to persons of the same gender.

hormonal characteristics

Sex hormones such as estrogens, gestagens, androgens etc. play a part in gonad development and the expression of sexual characteristics and the sexual function of a human being. Strictly speaking, there are no gender-specific hormones. The differences between the sexes are a result of the amount of sex hormones produced and the corresponding reaction of the body. Hormones, too, have a far-reaching effect on sex development and, depending on the individual genetic make-up, can lead to individuals developing anything from traditionally male to androgynous physical features and hybrid forms all the way to traditionally female physical features – independent of whether the person has an XX or an XY chromosome set.


Fear of, discrimination against and hatred towards intersex people. See also Homophobia, Transphobia.


Intersex is a catch-all term for various self-descriptions such as intergender or intersexual. It serves as an emancipatory and identity-based term denoting the variety of intergender realities.

Describes people with biological characteristics (chromosomal, gonadal, hormonal, anatomical) that contain variations to the purely female or purely male biological characteristics. In some cases, intersex characteristics can be visible at birth, while in others they are not apparent until puberty. Some hormonal/chromosomal variations do not have to be physically visible at all.

Intersexuality refers to biological sex and should be distinguished from sexual orientation or gender identity. An intersex person can be heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual or asexual. They may identify as female, male, as both or neither.


Colloquial term for women who have romantic and sexual relationships with other women.


International abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer.


Gender ascribed to people who feel like something different than just a «man» or a «woman». Non-binary pertains to gender identity and is synonymous with queer. Also see binary, queer, gender identity.

third gender option

Has been applicable under the German Civil Status Act (Personenstandsgesetz – PStG) since January 2019 and offers people who don’t identify with the binary system the opportunity to express their gender instead of having to simply leave the relevant question blank. See also Intersex.


Fear of, discrimination against and hatred towards trans people. See also Homophobia, Interphobia.