Saturday, February 24, 2018

LGBT Terms in Japanese

For reference, a couple of LGBT terms.

Common Labels


nonke ノンケ
sutoreeto ストレート
Straight. Heterosexual. (slang)


gei ゲイ
(not to be confused with gai ガイ, which comes from the word "guy" instead.)

bian ビアン
Lesbian person.


bai バイ
Bi. Bisexual.
(also means "bye" as in "bye bye," baibai バイバイ)

bai = otoko no hito mo onna no hito mo OK na hito. バイ=男の人も女の人もOKな人. Phrase from manga Ouran High School Host Club.


toransu-kei トランス系
Trans type. Transgender or transsexual person.
(also refers to the "trance," the music genre.)

tora トラ
"Tra-." Transgender. Transsexual. Transvestite.
(abbreviation for "trans," toransu トランス.)

onee オネエ
Man who uses onee-kotoba and effeminate mannerisms, often but not necessarily gay.


These are terms that should be avoided if possible because they're offensive to some. Unfortunately, they aren't universally offensive to all people so there's some people which are totally okay with them and even use these terms toward themselves, which makes the decision of using them or not like trying to walk across a minefield.

homo ホモ
Gay. Homo.
(offensive to some, sometimes derogatory, use gei ゲイ instead.)

homodachi ホモ達
Homosexual "friend," tomodachi 友達.

rezubian レズビアン
rezu レズ
Lesbian. (offensive to some, use bian ビアン instead..)
(generally associated with lesbian pornography or concept instead of people.)

nyuuhaafu ニューハーフ
Transgender women, generally related to entertainment.
(offensive to some, although some label themselves as this.)

nyuuboi ニューボイ
neohaafu ネオハーフ
Newboy. Neohalf.
The FtM version of newhalf.

okama オカマ
Effeminate gay men, transgender women, etc.
(offensive to some, sometimes used derogatorily, although some label themselves as this.)

onabe オナベ
Female-to-male version of okama.
(offensive to some, better avoid calling people by this word too if you can.)

Worthy of Mention

nekama ネカマ
Guy who pretends to be a girl on the internet.

nenabe ネナベ
Girl who pretends to be a guy on the internet.

otokonoko 男の娘
An anime term for a "boy that looks like a girl." Used in real life by cosplayers, etc.
(not to be confused with otokonoko 男の子, "boy".)

onnanoko 雄んなの子
Female counterpart of the above: "girl that looks like a guy."
(not to be confused with onnanoko 女の子, "girl.")


A couple of noteworthy gay and lesbian slangs used toward appearance. A good number of them weren't included here, see the jargon lists below for further reference.

kuma-kei 熊系
Bear. (literally "bear-type.")

bea ベア
Bear. (see above)

daiku ダイク

bucchi ブッチ

femu フェム

booisshu ボーイッシュ
"Boy-ish." Tomboy.

Other Relevant Words

Gay Bar

gei baa ゲイバー
Gay bar.

okama baa オカマバー
Okama bar. (often features tranvestites and transgender women as entertainers.)

miseko 店子
Someone who works in a gar bar, etc. (mise means "store")

mama ママ
Mama. Manager of a gay or okama bar.

Effeminate Speech

onee-kotoba おネエ言葉
Female and effeminate speech associated with okama.

hogeru ホゲる
To speak in onee-kotoba, or show effeminate mannerisms.


sekumai セクマイ
Sexual minority. (abbreviation.)

seku セク
Sexuality. (abbreviation.)


tachi タチ
Top. Pitcher. Active. Lead in a sexual relationship. Dominant partner. Etc.
(term used in both gay and lesbian relationships)
(not to be mistaken with tachi 達, the pluralizing suffix)

neko ネコ
Bottom. Catcher. Passive. Led in a sexual relationship. Submissive partner. Etc.
(opposite of tachi)
(not to be mistaken with neko 猫, "cat.")

seme セメ. uke ウケ.
Usually synonymous with tachi and neko, respectively.
These two words come from the doujinshi world of gay shipping by fujoshi where they refer to who penetrates and who's penetrated in anal sex.
(note that, technically, as far as gay shipping goes, a character may be both tachi and uke at the same time, if he takes lead sexually in a ship but is also the side being penetrated. Whether this is the case in Real Life™ usage of the words I don't know.)

riba リバ.
ribaashiburu リバーシブル
Switch. Versatile. Can be either tachi or neko. Or either seme or uke.
(literally "reversible.")

tachi 凸. seme 凸.
neko 凹. uke 凹.
riba 回.
In SNS, these kanji are used by gays and lesbians instead to symbolize the respective words. These are artificial readings only relevant in the LGBT context: normally 凸, 凹 and 回 are not read that way.

horu 掘る
To dig. (original meaning.)
To have (gay) anal sex. (to penetrate.)

horareru 掘られる
To be dug. (passive conjugation of horu: to be penetrated.)

Jargon Lists

The Wikipedia in Japanese has two articles listing gay and lesbian "jargon," yougo 用語, that contain terms not found in this post. In case you want to take a look:

Terms Containing Letters

LGBT-related terms containing letters and their pronunciations in Japanese. Many of these are used in English too.

eru-jii-bii-thii エル・ジー・ビー・ティー
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender.


Some of the terms below may refer to people, specially when used with honorifics. For example, in English you say "the woman jumped," but you don't say "the MtF jumped." In Japanese, it's possible to refer to an MtF person by adding san さん to the word:
  • emu-thii-efu-san MtFさん
    An MtF person.

thii ティー

thii-jii ティー・ジー

thii-esu ティー・エス

thii-vii ティー・ヴィー

shii-dhii シー・ディー

emu-thii-efu エム・ティー・エフ
Male-to-female. Transgender woman.

efu-thii-emu エフ・ティー・エム
Female-to-male. Transgender man.

emu-thii-ekkusu エム・ティー・エックス
Male-to-X. An x-gender person assigned male at birth.

efu-thii-ekkusu エフ・ティー・エックス
Female-to-X. An x-gender person assigned female at birth.

jii-ai-dhii ジー・アイ・ディー
Gender Identity Disorder.

aseukusharu アセクシャル
eisekusharu エイセクシャル
Asexual. (aromantic)
(for romantic asexuality, the term "nonsexual" is used in Japanese instead.)


ei-jii エイ・ジー
Autoandrophilia. (sometimes used like this by mistake, probably because most people don't know AG is only MtF, and the FtM abbreviation would be AA.)

esu-aru-esu エス・アール・エス
Sex reassignment surgery.

esu-enu-esu エス・エヌ・エス
Social networking service. (dating sites, etc.)

Closet & Coming Out

These terms are related to hiding and exposing one's sexual orientation or gender identity.

kuroozetto クローゼット
Hiding one's sexual orientation. "Closet."

kuroozetto suru クローゼットする
To hide one's sexual orientation.

kamingu-auto カミングアウト
Coming out [of the closet].
For someone who's hiding their sexual orientation to expose it to their family, friends, etc.

kamingu-auto suru カミングアウトする
To come out. (literally "to comming-out.")

authingu アウティング
For someone who's in the "closet" to be exposed without their consent. (for example, only your best friend know you're gay, then he posts it on Facebook.)


Some of these are terms loaned from English LGBT.

"Makeup can make a fifty year old father a pretty high school girl." A haiku about what's shown in the manga JK Oyaji JKおやじ

pasu パス. pasu suru パスする.
Pass. To pass.
To be perceived as the desired gender.
(to "pass" as a woman, etc.)

passhingu パッシング

riido リード. riido sareru リードされる
Read. To be read.
For someone to notice you're transgender.
(in other words: failure to pass.)
(note that riido リード also means "to lead" most of the time.)

pasu-do パス度
Pass-rate. Pass-degree. Pass-level.
How good you're at passing as the desired gender.
(this term appears in videos, websites, etc. resources that teach people how to pass.)

hikui pasu-do 低いパス度
Low pass-level. (gets read more often)

takai pasu-do 高いパス度
High pass level. (passes more often)

kouji 工事
Any transgender-related surgery, including sex-reassignment, plastics, implants, etc. (slang)
(the non-slang use of the word means "construction work," as in painting buildings, etc.)

furu-pasu フルパス
Someone who underwent sex reassignment surgery (SRS).


iseisou 異性装
Crossdressing. (generic, less common word.)

josou 女装
Male-to-female crossdressing.
(Men) wearing women's clothes.

dansou 男装
Female-to-male crossdressing.
(Women) wearing men's clothes.

josoko 女装子
josouka 女装家
Male crossdresser (specially those who work as crossdressers, TV personalities, etc.)

dansouko 男装子
dansouka 男装家
Female crossdresser. (counterpart to above)

kurosudoressaa クロスドレッサー

toransuvesutaito トランスヴェスタイト


Sex. Gender. Nature.

sei no tayousei 性の多様性
Diversity of gender.
(literally the diverse-natures-of-gender.)

seibetsu 性別
Gender. (male, female, etc.)

seibutsugaku-teki sei 生物学的性
Biological sex.

sei-jinin 性自認
Identifying with a gender. "Gender self-acknowledgement."

seiteki-shikou 性的指向
Sexual orientation.

sei-hyougen 性表現
Gender expression.


karada no sei 体の性
"Body's gender."

kokoro no sei 心の性
Gender. Identity.
"Heart's gender." "Soul's gender." "Mind's gender. Etc."
(gender one identifies with.)

suki ni naru sei 好きになる性
Attraction. Sexual orientation.
"Gender one likes."

jinin-suru sei 自認する性
Gender [one's] identified with.

karada to kokoro 体と心
Body and mind. (often used when speaking about transgender.)


kuesuchoningu クエスチョニング


sekushuaru mainorithi セクシュアル・マイノリティ
sekusharu mainorithi セクシャル・マイノリティ
seiteki-shousuu-sha 性的少数者
Sexual minority.

Gender & Sex


shisujenda シスジェンダー


dansei 男性
Male. Men.

josei 女性
Female. Women.


toransujendaa トランスジェンダー

seibetsu-ekkyou-sha 性別越境者
Transgender. (literally "gender-border-transgressor")

seibetsu-ikou-sha 性別移行者
Transgender. (literally "gender-transitioner.")

sei-douitsusei-shougai 性同一性障害
Gender Identity Disorder.
(sei, "sex/gender," douitsu-sei, "identity," shougai, "disorder")

seibetsu-iwa 性別違和
Gender dysphoria.

seibetsu-ikou 性別移行
Transitioning. "Gender transitioning."

jiko-joseika-seiai 自己女性化性愛
ootogainefiria オートガイネフィリア
Autogynephilia. ("self-female-ization-sexual-attraction.")

jiko-danseika-seiai 自己女性化性愛
ootoandorofiria オートアンドロフィリア
Autoandrophilia. (see above.)


toransekushuaru トランスセクシュアル
toransekusharu トランスセクシャル

seitenkan 性転換
Sex change.

seitenkan-shou 性転換症
Transsexualism. "Sex-change syndrome."


qia クィア

jendaaqia ジェンダークィア


ekkusujendaa エックスジェンダー
X-gender. Someone who identifies as neither male nor female exactly.
(sometimes erroneously read as "crossgender," kurosujendaa クロスジェンダー instead.)


These terms are used as labels by x-gender people. They only have following meaning in the x-gender context, and probably mean something else when used elsewhere.

chuusei 中性
Gender-neutral. "Middle-gender."
Someone who identifies as something between male and female.
(also means androgynous.)

ryousei 両性
Bi-gender. "Both genders."
Someone who identifies as both male and female.
(also means "bisexual")

futeisei 不定性
Gender-fluid. "Inconstant gender."
Someone whose gender varies with time.

musei 無性
Agender. "No gender." "Genderless."
Someone who doesn't identify with any gender.


In Japan, this a fashion style and has nothing to do with one's gender identity.

jendaaresu ジェンダーレス
Androgynous outfits, basically.
Seeks to diminish the gap between genders, apparently by mixing stuff up.

Oxymorons Lost in Translation

jendaaresu dansei ジェンダーレス男性
Genderless guy.

jendaaresu josei ジェンダーレス女性
Genderless girl.


intaasekkusu インターセックス

han'in'you 半陰陽

shiyuudoutai 雌雄同体
Hermaphroditism. "Female-male-same-body."
(generally used toward animals.)

futanari 二成
(historically a medical term, but recently it's used mostly in fiction)

Sexual Orientation

For the most part, you can guess the meaning of these words from their kanji.


isei 異性
Heterosexual (adjective). "Different sex."

iseiai 異性愛
Heterosexuality. "Heterosexual love." Heterosexual sexuality.

iseiaisha 異性愛者
Heterosexual person. "Heterosexualitist." Different-sex-lover.

heterosekushuaru ヘテロセクシュアル
heterosekusharu ヘテロセクシャル


dousei 同性
Homosexual (adjective). "Same sex."

douseiai 同性愛
Homosexuality. "Homosexual love." Homosexual sexuality.

douseiaisha 同性愛者
Homosexual person. "Homosexualitist." Same-sex-lover.

homosekushuaru ホモセクシュアル
homosekusharu ホモセクシャル

saffizumu サッフィズム
safizumu サフィズム


dansei-douseiaisha 男性同性愛者
Gay. Male homosexual person.


josei-douseiaisha 女性同性愛者
Lesbian. Female homosexual person.


ryousei 両性
Bisexual (adjective). "Both sexes."

ryouseiai 両性愛
Bisexuality. "Bisexual love." Bisexual sexuality.

ryouseiaisha 両性愛者
Bisexual person. "Bisexualitist." Both-sexes-lover.

baisekushuaru バイセクシュアル
baisekusharu バイセクシャル



musei 無性
Aromantic asexual (adjective). "No sex."

museiai 無性愛
Aromantic asexuality. Aromantic asexual sexuality.

museiaisha 無性愛者
Aromantic asexual person. "Aromantic asexualitist."

eisekushuaru エイセクシュアル
eisekusharu エイセクシャル
Aromantic asexual.


hisei 非性
Romantic asexual (adjective). "Without sex."

hiseiai 非性愛
Romantic asexuality.

hiseiaisha 無性愛者
Romantic asexual person. "Romantic asexualitist."

nonsekushuaru ノンセクシュアル
nonsekusharu ノンセクシャル
Romantic asexual person. "Non-sexual."


tansei 単性
Monosexual (adjective). "Single sex."

tanseiai 単性愛
Monosexuality. "Monosexual love." Monosexual sexuality.

tanseiaisha 単性愛者
Monosexual person. "Monosexualist." Single-sex-lover.

monosekushuaru モノセクシュアル
monosekusharu モノセクシャル


tasei 多性
Polysexual (adjective). "Multiple sexes."

taseiai 多性愛
Polysexuality. "Polysexual love." Polysexual sexuality.

taseiaisha 全性愛者
Polysexual person. "Polysexualitist." Multiple-sex-lover.

porisekushuaru ポリセクシュアル
porisekusharu ポリセクシャル


zensei 全性
Pansexual (adjective). "All sexes."

zenseiai 全性愛
Pansexuality. "Pansexual love." Pansexual sexuality.

zenseiaisha 全性愛者
Pansexual person. "Pansexualitist." All-sex-lover.

pansekushuaru パンセクシュアル
pansekusharu パンセクシャル

omunisekushuaru オムニセクシュアル
omunisekusharu オムニセクシャル


sabetsu 差別

seisabetsu 性差別
Sexual discrimination. Sexism.


douseiai-ken'o 同性愛嫌悪
douseiaisha-ken'o 同性愛者嫌悪
Hate (or disgust) toward homosexuality (or homosexuals, in the second case.)
(literally "same-sex-love-hate," which, imho, makes a lot more sense than "phobia.")

homofobia ホモフォビア
douseiai-kyoufushou 同性愛恐怖症
Homophobia. (literally homosexuality-phobia.)

homofobikku ホモフォビック

douseiai-ken'osha 同性愛嫌悪者
douseiaisha-ken'osha 同性愛者嫌悪者
homofoobu ホモフォーブ
Homophobe. Homophobic person.
(the second one is literally same-sex-lover-hater...)


toransufobia トランスフォビア

toransuphobikku トランスフォビック

Fiction Genres

Since this is still technically an anime blog, here's some LGBT fiction terms.

Homosexual fiction

bii-eru ビー・エル
Primarily gay fiction made by and for straight women (see: fujoshi.)
From the phrase "boys' love" in English.

Yaoi ヤオイ (801)
The more pornographic version of BL, historically.
The term yaoi is more popular outside of Japan than in Japan. In Japan, BL is used instead.
Sometimes yaoi is spelled with numbers, as 801 instead.
The word yaoi comes from the title of a doujinshi.

Bara バラ
Gay fiction by gay men.
This word means "rose," and comes from the name of a gay magazine that had it in its name because in the Greek mythology King Laius had gay sex under rose trees because of reasons you're better off not knowing.

jii-eru ジー・エル
The lesbian counterpart of BL.
Comes from the phrase "girls' love" in English.

Yuri 百合
Lesbian fiction.
This word means "lily" and comes from the same magazine as bara. The flower was chosen because it represents narcissism, apparently.

Shounen-ai 少年愛
In Japan: pederasty. (synonymous with shotakon)
In the west: non-pornographic (not hentai) gay fiction.
In Japan, long ago: a genre featuring platonic love between high school boys. (they've since stopped using this word as a genre. The term BL is used instead, as it applies to non-pornographic gay fiction too.)

Shoujo-ai 少女愛
In Japan: pedophilia. (synonymous with rorikon)
In the west: non-pornographic lesbian fiction.
In Japan, long ago: still only pedophilia. (this word was made-up outside of Japan as a counterpart for the shounen-ai genre, the term shoujo-ai never referred to lesbian fiction in Japan of any sort. By the way, yuri is also used to refer to non-pornographic lesbian fiction in Japan.)

Transgender Fiction

thii-esu-efu ティー・エス・エフ
Transsexual fiction.

(relevant: overview of gender-bender terms.)

futanari ふたなり

nyotaika 女体化
Gender-switch, male-to-female.

nanataika 男体化
Gender-switch, female-to-male.

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