The LGBTQIA+ community has become more visible in recent years, but understanding the various terms and definitions can be confusing for some. In this blog post, we will go through the most commonly used terms to help you understand the meaning behind them.
LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual or Ally and the + to symbolise all other non-normative sexual and gender identities. It is an umbrella term used to describe a diverse community of individuals whose gender identity or sexual orientation is different from the majority.
Lesbian refers to people who identify as women who are sexually and/or romantically attracted to other people who identify as women.
Gay refers to people who identify as men who are sexually and/or romantically attracted to other people who identify as men.
Bisexual individuals experience sexual and/or romantic attraction to those who identify as male and those who identify as female. It refers to a person who experiences attraction to some people of their gender and another gender. Bisexual attraction does not have to be equally split, or indicate a level of interest that is the same across the genders an individual may be attracted to
Transgender refers to individuals whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender can refer to those who have transitioned, are currently transitioning, planning on transitioning or those who transition isn’t part of their gender identity future.
Queer or Questioning, Queeris an umbrella term for all those in the LGBTQIA+ community. Queer used to be a slur and for some people still is. A number of the LGBTQIA+ community have reclaimed this word for their self expression. If someone refers to themselves as a queer person it would indicate they identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Questioning is a term used to describe people who are unsure about their sexual orientation or gender identity, they may or may not be exploring this aspect of self..
Intersex refers to individuals whose biological sex characteristics do not fit typical male or female categories. This can manifest in various ways, including differences in chromosomes, hormones, or genitalia. This can be used as the updated term for ‘Hermaphrodite’ which is now an outdated and derogatory term.
Asexual or Ally, Asexuality exists on a continuum from people who experience no sexual attraction or have any desire for sex, to those who experience low levels, or sexual attraction only under specific conditions. Many of these different places on the continuum have their own identity labels Asexual is sometimes abbreviated to “Ace.” , Allies are individuals not in the LGBTQIA+ community who actively support the LGBTQIA+ community.
It's important to note that these terms and definitions are not exhaustive, and individuals may use different terminology to describe their gender identity or sexual orientation. Respectful communication and education can go a long way in creating a more inclusive society for everyone.
Here at Healthbox CIC we are offering all of our staff the opportunity to complete the LGBTQIA+ awareness training to help everyone to better understand the terminology and how to improve our wording when working with clients in the community.
We will soon be rolling this course out to other organisations interested in equipping staff with the information they need to ensure they are respectful to everyone they work with, and to members of the public who would like to understand more about the topic.