As our understanding of gender, sexual orientation and identity expands with every passing day, so does the vocabulary we use to describe them. What started as LGBT, has now expanded to LGBTQIA+ to be more inclusive.
The LGBTQIA+ community is all about equality and embracing your true self. For years now, people from the community all over the world have been discriminated against, faced violence, aggression, othering and hurdles every step of the way. It’s time to ensure that all spaces are safe spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Our openness to learn and understand the different terms used is an important step to being an LGBTQIA+ ally all year long. This might seem like a small step, but nonetheless, its significance goes far beyond knowing these terms — it’s about acceptance, inclusion and respect.
These definitions are evolving and the list does not claim to be conclusive.
Lesbian: a woman who is sexually and/or emotionally attracted to other women.
Gay: a man who is sexually and/or emotionally attracted to other men.
Bisexual: This term used to be exclusively for those attracted to men and women, however, now it’s used for a person who is sexually and/or emotionally attracted to more than one gender. This can include people of the person’s gender identity or other gender identities.
Transgender: People whose gender identity/expression is different from the biological sex they were assigned at birth. The term encompasses different gender identities and the people have different sexual orientations.
Queer: This is an umbrella term used to refer to anyone who is not cisgender (whose gender identity/expression matches the sex they were assigned at birth) and straight.
Intersex: Someone who is born with biological sex characteristics that aren’t associated with what is typically identified as male and female bodies. It does not refer to a sexual orientation or gender identity.
Asexual: Someone who experiences low or no sexual attraction. People of different sexual orientations and gender identities can be asexual.
Pansexual: A person who is sexually/romantically/emotionally attracted to people regardless of their sex or gender identity.
Demisexual: A person who only experiences sexual attraction when they have formed a strong emotional bond with someone.
Graysexual: A person who only occasionally experiences sexual attraction, but usually doesn’t.
This only begins to scratch the surface of everything we know and continue to learn about the gender and sexuality spectrum.