What is the meaning of LGBTQ+? Complete Glossary!

While we may have heard on the news or people talking about LGBT or LGBTQ or LGBTQ+ community, we might not be really sure about what is the exact meaning of these letters.

Initially, there were only four letters commonly used to group various sexual and gender minorities: L, G, B and T.

These letters were an evolution toward inclusion and an expansion of the language used to represent a disparate group that had often just been called “the gay community.”

Meaning of LGBTQ

As times and attitudes changed, and the language used to discuss sexual orientation and gender identity has also changed.

As a result, the established L.G.B.T. abbreviation has acquired a few extra letters, and a cluster of ancillary terminology around both sexuality and gender.

Not everyone has adopted them yet. Take, for example, the addition of “Q” that became increasingly popular as the 20th century turned into the 21st.

Some insisted this stood for “questioning,” whereas others declared it was for “queer”. The meaning of LGBTQ is still a hot topic of discussion for many.

LGBTQIA+ is an acronym that stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and + (plus) sign covers anyone else who is not included.

Glossary to Terminologies of Gender and Sexual Identity Expression

L — Lesbian

A woman or a female-identifying person who is sexually and emotionally attracted to people of the same gender.

G — Gay

A man or a male-identifying person who is sexually and emotionally attracted to people of same gender.

It is also used as a broad term for attraction toward people of the same gender.

B — Bisexual

An individual who is sexually or emotionally attracted to individuals irrespective of their gender.

T — Transgender

An umbrella term that is used to describe an individual whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned to them at birth.

Q — Questioning / Queer

Questioning: A term used for individuals who are exploring or questioning aspects of his or her sexual orientation.

Queer: A reclaimed term, often used positively by members of the LGBTQIA community, as a form of self-identification or as an umbrella term for all LGBTQIA people. Queer has shed its derogatory origins and is gaining acceptance.

A — Asexual

An individual who generally does not feel sexual desire or attraction to any group of people. It is a spectrum, so there are no strict definitions for it.

+ (Plus)

A symbol used for the multiplicity of identities that get left out of the acronym. Some of such terms are:

Ally– A person not belonging to LGBTQIA+ community, who supports and advocates for queer community.

Agender– A person with no (or very little) connection to gender, no personal alignment with the concepts to the gender of man or woman, and/or someone who sees themselves as existing without gender.

Bigender- A person whose gender identity is a combination of or alternation between two genders.

Non-Binary or Enby– A person whose gender identity does not fall within binary genders of man or woman.

Gender Fluid– A person who does not identify with the gender binary and move within genders and gender stereotypes.

Aromantic– A person who has little or no romantic attraction to others and/or has a lack of interest in romantic relationships.

Pansexual– A person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction for members of all gender identities/expressions.

Stud– A term originating within communities of color to describe a masculine identifying person who was assigned female at birth.

Androgynous– An individual with a combination of masculine and feminine characteristics in an ambiguous form.

Few more relevant terms and their meanings

Biphobia — Direct negative attitudes toward and unfair treatment of bisexual people.

Gender Dysphoria (GD) — Discomfort or distress caused by the assigned sex and the desire to change the characteristics that are the source.

Homophobia — Direct negative attitudes toward and unfair treatment of people who identify or are perceived as non­heterosexual, including the fear of being read as part of the LGBT community.

Transphobia — Direct negative attitudes toward and unfair treatment of those who are transgender or gender non­conforming. Transphobic behavior can range from ridiculing trans* people to verbal abuse, to acts of physical violence, often including murder.

Coming out- The process in which a person first acknowledges, accepts and appreciates their sexual orientation or gender identity and begins to share that with others.

At times, it is difficult for us to differentiate between certain concepts because we are not clear with the terminologies and often use them interchangeably. Let me take you through the basic terms to help get a thorough understanding of the significance of these terms.

Biological Sex refers to biology and includes male, female, and intersex, (i.e., having some biological characteristics of both male and female)

Gender Identity refers to the gender with which someone identifies, regardless of the biological sex label assigned at birth.

Gender identity is psychological sensing of gender, whereas biological sex refers to biology. Examples of gender identity may include man, woman, or genderqueer (i.e., does not identify with any gender label).

Gender identity is expressed in a range of ways: such as dress, behavior, speech, appearance, among others. Nonconforming gender behavior in children can be confusing to everyone and may or may not reflect the gender identity or sexual orientation.

Gender Expression is the external representation of gender identity through how one presents or communicates their gender to others. Gender expression may be congruent or incongruent with gender identity.

Transgender is an umbrella term that describes someone whose gender identity or gender expression differs from expectations associated with the sex assigned to them at birth.

It is not dependent on having sex reassignment surgery. Genital status — whether one has had surgery or not — does not determine the gender for the purposes of social behavior, service provision, or legal status.

Transsexual is an outdated term that originated in the medical and psychological communities for people who have permanently changed their gender identity through surgery and hormones.

Sexual Orientation describes the gender of the person to whom someone is attracted emotionally, romantically, sexually, and intimately.

Sexual orientation exists on a continuum and is NOT necessarily congruent with behavior. Examples of sexual -orientation include lesbian, gay, bisexual, or heterosexual. Sexual orientation involves a process of discovery over time.

I hope this helps you understand the meaning of LGBTQ terms. We should all make ourselves aware of the definitions because the need today is to normalize and understand this.

Originally published at Self First

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