Safe Harbor is conducting a series of conversations (both in person and online) to gain input and insight on how to provide more comprehensive, sensitive and appropriate services to members of the LGTBQ community. This was identified in our strategic plan as an area of focus.

While research shows that sexual and intimate partner violence happens at approximately the same rates in the LGBTQ community as in the straight/cisgender community, Safe Harbor is not serving LGBTQ individuals at the same rates.

Please read the following information prior to completing the survey at bottom of article. We appreciate your willingness to participate. Survey results are confidential and will help us shape our services. THANK YOU!!!

LGBTQ Definitions and Information 

Gender: The set of meanings assigned by a culture or society to someone’s perceived biological sex.  Gender is not static and can shift over time.  Gender has at least three parts:

a) Physical Markers – Aspects of the human body that are considered to determine sex and/or gender for a given culture or society, including genitalia, chromosomes, hormones, secondary sex characteristics, and internal reproductive organs.

b) Role/Expression – Aspects of behavior and outward presentation that may (intentionally or unintentionally) communicate gender to others in a given culture or society, including clothing, body language, hairstyles, voice, socialization, relationships, career choices, interests, and presence in gendered spaces (restrooms, places of worship, etc).

c) Identity – An individual’s internal view of their gender.  Their own innermost sense of themselves as a gendered being and/or as masculine, feminine, androgynous, etc.  This will often influence name and pronoun preference.

Sex: 1. Verb: Consensual, intimate physical contact between adults.   2.  Noun: Biologically based and socially constructed determination of a person’s label of “female” or “male.”  Often based on a doctor’s visual assessment of a baby’s genitalia.

Sexual Orientation: The culturally-defined set of meanings through which people describe their sexual attractions.  Sexual orientation is not static and can shift over time.  Sexual orientation has at least three parts:

a) Attraction – Ones own feelings or self-perception about to which gender(s) one feels drawn.  Can be sexual, emotional, spiritual, psychological, and/or political.

b) Behavior – What one does sexually and/or with whom.

c) Sexual Identity – The language and terms one uses to refer to their sexual orientation. It may or may not be based on either of the above and can also be influenced by family, culture, and community.

LGBT: Common abbreviation for (L)esbian, (G)ay, (B)isexual, and (T)ransgender.

Lesbian: Term most commonly used by female-identified people who are primarily or exclusively attracted to other female identified people.  Preferred self-identifier for many homosexual women.  Can also refer to the community and culture of women who love/are attracted to other women.

Gay: Term most commonly used by male-identified people who are primarily or exclusively attracted to other male identified people.  Preferred self-identifier for many homosexual men and women.  Also a term used to describe the LGBT community.  Some men who have sex with men do not identify as gay.

Bisexual: A term used to indicate attraction or potential for attraction to more than one gender.

Transgender: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth, including, but not limited to transsexuals, cross-dressers, individuals who are androgynous, genderqueers, and gender non-conforming people.   Transgender is a broad term and is good for providers to use.

Cisgender: A term for people who have a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal identity.

Queer: A political and sometimes controversial term that some LGBT people have reclaimed, while others still consider it derogatory. Used most frequently by younger LGBT people, activists, and academics, the term can refer to either to gender identity, sexual orientation, or both and can be used by any gender.

Heterosexual: Type of sexual orientation in which a person is emotionally and sexually attracted to the ‘opposite’ sex (males attracted to females, females attracted to males).

Homosexual: Type of sexual orientation in which a person is attracted to the same sex (males attracted to males, females attracted to females).  A term originally used by the medical community to “diagnose” people who were not heterosexual.  Considered a derogative term to some people who prefer the terms “gay”, “lesbian”, or queer”. 

Straight Ally: Someone who is not LGBT, but advocates for the fair treatment of individuals who are.

Thank you for taking the time to review these terms. We would greatly appreciate if you now complete this survey:

Extra special thanks to an amazing group of folks who worked diligently to create these definitions: 2006 National Domestic Violence Report (NCAVP), the Wingspan Anti-Violence Project, and Transitioning Our Shelters published by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute; National Coalition for the Homeless.