Glossary of Terms

cisgender: not trans; you identify as the gender on your birth certificate; if you’re reading this, and didn’t know what cisgender means, you’re probably cisgender.

queer: an umbrella term (at least, as I use it) for the range of non-cisgender, non-heterosexual people. A reclaimed slur; some folks still don’t like it, but I do. Also sometimes referred to as LGBT (and other acronyms that start with those letters, and then have other letters afterwards) or QUILTBAG. Disclaimer: I think I used “gay” occasionally as a quasi-umbrella term to function like the word queer, but sometimes to represent cisgender homosexual males. I’m confusing, I know.

active (in Mormon parlance): you go to Mormon church services regularly, and generally do the things Mormons do, and don’t do the things Mormons don’t do. Opposite of “inactive” or “less active”.

temple recommend: a piece of paper signed by two levels of local leadership that allows you to enter our temples, which are buildings bigger than our churches where we do super special Mormon things like marriages and proxy baptisms. Often used as a sort of marker of being a “member in good standing” among Mormons.

bisexual: generally, it means you’re attracted to both men and women romantically and sexually, often (but not always) fairly equally.

straight-presenting: outwardly looks straight

LDS: generally used interchangeably with “Mormon”, so, a member of my church. Our church’s full name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS = Latter-day Saints), and many Mormons prefer this term to “Mormon”.

bears (queer usage): generally, a hairy, large gay man, who often hews pretty close to traditional masculine roles and habits.

Mama Dragons: a group of Mormon and ex-Mormon women whose kids are queer, and who try to promote acceptance of queer folks within Mormondom

transgender (trans): people who don’t identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. An umbrella terms for many different non-cisgender identities.

Jello Belt: a demographic term to describe the most heavily Mormon areas of the US that generally run from north to south from ID and WY in the north, through Utah, and perhaps include parts of AZ.

BYU: Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, a large, private university owned and operated by the church with strict religious rules.

bishop (Mormon usage): the title of the leader of most Mormon congregations, and, like most Mormon leaders, a lay clergyman.

teh gayz: an intentional misspelling of “the gays”, used sarcastically to describe the way we’re talked about by those who oppose the “gay agenda”.

Exclusion Policy: leaked church policy after nationwide legalization of gay marriage in the US that mandates church discipline for those who enter into a non-straight marriage or have non-heterosexual sex, bars children of the same people from becoming members of the church until they turn 18 and disavow the “lifestyle” of their parents, and other fun surprises.

heteronormative: describes a worldview and/or condition in which heterosexuality and being cisgender is not only the norm, but is the world as it should be.

beard (queer usage): a straight woman that a gay man is dating or married to, at least partially in order to appear straight

branch president: like a bishop, but for a smaller congregation

Seventy: high-level LDS church leader, just below our twelve apostles and first presidency (the three highest-level leaders, the highest of whom we consider a prophet) in rank. Confusingly, there are more than 70 of these guys.

Doctrine and Covenants: one of the books of scripture Mormons have in addition to the bible. The D&C, as it is commonly known, is a collection of revelations given when the church was being organized and new, so in the early to mid-1800’s.

Elder: a church office that almost all adult males in good standing hold; a title for full-time male missionaries; and a title for many of our high-level leaders.

black priesthood ban: an LDS church practice of not allowing black male members of the church all the same rights and offices as non-black male members, which lasted from at least the late 1800’s until 1978.

Temple Square: an area that describes a collection of important church building in Salt Lake City, including the well-known Salt Lake Temple.