“LGBT… LGBTQ… LGBTTIQQ2SA… What do these acronyms even mean?”
Ever feel like people are speaking a different language when they talk about sexual orientation and gender identity? You’re not alone! It’s a complex topic, and it’s ok if you’re not sure where to start.
Feeling acronym overload? It can feel like a lot to remember, but there’s no consensus over which acronym is “right.” If someone uses an unfamiliar acronym and you don’t know what it means, don’t be afraid to ask. As always, the most important thing is to be respectful and open-minded.
Confused about where pronouns come into play? We’ve got a handy primer on that, too!
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If you’d rather read the video transcript, we’ve got you covered:
Acronyms and words, words, words – everybody sees them, not everyone knows what they mean. For example: What does this acronym stand for? And is there an easier way to say this?
Let’s break it down:
-Lesbian: A woman who is attracted to other women
-Gay: Refers to a man who is attracted to other men; this term is also used for anyone who is attracted to another person with the same gender identity.
-Bisexual: Refers to a person who is attracted to both men and women
-Transgender: Refers to a person whose gender identity (the sense of gender that every person feels inside) or gender expression is different from the sex that was assigned to them at birth.
-Queer: An umbrella term sometimes used to refer to a person whose attraction and/or identity goes beyond the traditional definitions associated with sexual orientation and gender identity. Different people use this term to mean different things.
-Questioning: Refers to a person who is questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity
-Intersex: Refers to a person whose sexual anatomy or chromosomes do not fit with the traditional markers of “female” or “male”
-Pansexual: Refers to a person who is sexually or emotionally attracted to people of any sex or gender identity.
-2-Spirit: A tradition in many First Nations that considers sexual minorities to have both male and female spirits
-Asexual: Refers to a person who does not identify with any sexual orientation
-Ally: A straight and cisgender person who supports equality for all.
These words mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people.
You may come across acronyms that include different combinations of these terms, including:
It’s important to keep in mind that there is no consensus over which acronym to use, so if someone uses an acronym and you don’t know what it means, don’t be afraid to ask.
Okay, so now that we are informed about what all those terms mean, is there an easier way to refer to the LGBTQQIP2SAA community? I mean it just took me at least one whole minute to say that acronym! Here at the True Colors Fund we vary the terms we use depending on the audience we are trying to reach. For the purposes of our online training materials we have opted to use the term LGBT community while also still recognizing that sexual orientation and gender identity are deeply complex.