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....Some Common Terms with meanings ...

| Hijra | Gays | Bisexuals | Eunuchs | Transgender | Lesbians |  MSM  |  Transvestite | LGBT | Male Condom | Female Condom | Transsexuals | Cross-Dresser | Queer | Kothi | Panthi | Straight | Homosexual | HIV | AIDS | STI | CSW | FSW | MSW | Sexuality Minorities | Sexuality Identity | Sexual Health | Red Ribbon | Counselling | Support Group |  Safer SEX |

Castrated Males (eunuchs) of India who are part of a large cultural community.

Men who are attracted to other men and prefer men as partners.

People attracted to both men and women preferring partners of either.

Castrated males. Often used derogatarily.

Literally, people who have ‘crossed gender’ e.g., Transvestites, Transsexuals, Hijras, Cross-Dressers, etc.

Women attracted to other women and prefer women as partners.

Males who have Sex with Males. A category initiated to look at a large section of men who, while they have sexual contacts with other men, do not wish to identify as homosexual, gay or any identity. Indeed, some may identify as heterosexual.

A person who prefers wearing clothes of the other gender (men who wear what are traditionally represented as women's clothes and vice versa).

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender people.

Male Condom:
Latex based protection worn on the erect penis to avoid transmitting or receiving sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.

Female Condom:
Polyurethane based condom worn inside the vagina to avoid pregnancy and / or transmitting and receiving sexually transmitted infections.

A person who has undergone surgical operation (sex reassignment surgery) to change gender.


A person who gains pleasure (sexual or otherwise) in dressing up in the clothes of the other gender.

A political identity adopted by many LGBT people to counter the original negative connotation of the word 'queer'.

An identity accepted by many MSM in India, usually denoting an effeminate man who is penetrated in the sexual act. Another popular definition is that of ‘feminized MSM’.

A label given by ‘Kothis’ to their lovers, usually indicating a man who penetrates in the sexual act. Also looked on as ‘straight’ men (heterosexual men).

A heterosexual person. A person attracted only to the other gender.


A term for people attracted to their own sex. Covers both genders. First coined in late 19th Century.

Human Immuno Deficiency Virus, the virus which attacks the body's immune system. The immune system is the defence mechanism by which our body fights off infections and diseases. HIV slowly damages this defense system, leaving the body incapable of defending itself against common diseases. It may take several years for this stage to be reached. So people who are infected with HIV may look healthy and not even know that they are infected, but they can still pass on the virus to others. Having HIV does not mean that you have AIDS or that you will become seriously ill immediately.

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is caused by HIV. AIDS is not a single disease, it is a collection of diseases. Doctors have a list of 'AIDS defining conditions' which include illnesses which are quite harmless to a person with a healthy immune system. To a person whose immune system has been badly damaged, these diseases can cause severe illness or even death.


Sexually Transmitted Infections, also STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). To denote infections that are transmitted through sexual contact. Genital Herpes, Genital Warts, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and others are some examples of STIs. HIV is also spread through sexual contact and is therefore an STI.

Commercial Sex Worker. A person who sells sex for money.

Female Sex Worker. A woman who sells sex for money.

Male Sex Worker. A man who sells sex for money.

Sexuality Minorities:
A term commonly used to refer to LGBT people.

Sexuality Identity:
The identity adopted by a person to signify their sexual orientation, such as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual etc.

Sexual Health:
The overall sexual well-being of a person.


Red Ribbon:
The AIDS Awareness Ribbon, or Red Ribbon, is commonly seen adorning jacket lapels and other articles of clothing as a symbol of solidarity and a commitment to the fight against AIDS.

A supportive process where a counselor helps create awareness about a problem issue (for e.g., HIV status, homosexual identity, STIs, marriage issues, and so on) and change attitudes and behaviours of the counselee in reacting to these issues (for e.g., helping cope with HIV status, become comfortable with the homosexual identity, seek treatment for STIs, seek marriage counseling, etc.).

Support Group:
A term used here to refer to LGBT groups that provide support to LGBT people. The groups, like Good As You, are places for LGBT people to become comfortable with their identities and interact with others.

Safer Sex:
Sexual practices that help avoid exchange of bodily fluids is commonly referred to as Safer Sex. Safer Sex is adopted for two reasons: One, to avoid pregnancies and two, to avoid sexually transmitted infections. Safer Sex to avoid pregnancy can be adopted using various methods like using male or female condoms, contraceptive pills used by the women and more. To avoid sexually transmitted infections, condoms should be used. Other safer sex practices include non-penetrative sexual activities like mutual masturbation, hugging, kissing, and others. Of course the safest is abstinence (not having sex).