Definitions for Students & Adults

When children ask questions, they want simple and direct answers.

As an educator or parent, when you answer children's questions, you may fall back on what you learned when you were younger. Since there has been so much silence around LGBT people, especially at the elementary level, people are often at a loss for what to say.

These resources provide a starting point for defining terms for students as well as adults.

  • A Guide to Age-Appropriate Definitions for Students
    These simple, age-appropriate definitions will help you find the words when the need arises. There are two sets of definitions; one for grades K-3, one for grades 4-5.
  • What Does Gay Mean?
    Check out ideas on how you could answer that question. Keep it simple. Understand what the student is asking. Did they hear it as a put down? Did they hear that someone’s dad is gay?
  • Definitions of Key Words for Educators and Parents/Guardians
    These definitions are geared toward adults. They are longer and more detailed than ones you would use with children. They may help you feel more comfortable and clear about the language.
  • Family Definitions  [PDF]
    These family-related terms and definitions will aide in a discussion of all types of families