Ready for the ABC’s of LGBTQIA+? Get out your rainbow-colored highlighters, everyone! It’s time for gay glossary, lesbian lexicon, trans thesaurus, womens’ wordlist, and vulva-owner’s vocab! And of course, everything in between!
If you’re someone who looks at the acronym “LGBTQIA+” like, OMG WTF IDK what all of this means…. Then you are in the right place! As the world changes, it can be difficult keeping up with the latest terminology. However, if you aren’t up to speed, it can be very hurtful to the recipient of your potential misstep.
These days, it seems like some shy away from talking about sex, sexual orientation, or gender. Maybe they think it’s just easier that way. Easier for who, though?! We all need to do our part and learn from each other and grow together as a society.
Ready to rock? Let’s make some progress on being progressive and get down to business. Here’s a few, but definitely not all, terms that may be helpful to brush up on. This one’s for you, babycakes.
Our friends! Our family! The people we love, who love us back. Thank you for sharing your support for our community. Allies can be straight, cisgender, or within the LGBTQ+ community itself. For example, someone who identifies as bisexual can be an ally to the trans community.
Also known as “Ace”, this term refers to a low level, or complete lack of, sexual attraction to others. Like so many aspects of life, this can vary and is on a spectrum.
Bisexuality refers to a romantic or sexual attraction to both men and women, or to more than one gender. According to the American Psychological Association, bisexuals may make up the largest group of people within the LGBTQ+ community.
This term refers to someone whose gender identity aligns with their sex assigned at birth. For example, I was born with a vagina. I identify as female. I happen to be cis!
Happy! Gay means happy. And gay people make me happy. Gay also refers to those who are sexually or romantically attracted to those of the same gender. While this term is commonly used amongst men, women and non-binary people may use this term to describe themselves, as well.
Wondering what the difference between sex and gender is? Gender is how you identify. This does not have to coincide with your sex that was assigned at birth. It also isn’t cut and dried. Gender can be fluid. Maybe you see yourself as male or female. Maybe both! Maybe neither! It’s okay to not fit into a category. In fact, many people identify as gender non-conforming.
Intersex is a broad term for a variety of situations regarding how a person is born, and their reproductive and sexual anatomy. When born, some people have overlapping female/male traits. Because doctors assign babies a legal sex (male or female, in most states), this can be extremely problematic. Surgeries are typically performed, and hormones are usually dispensed.
There are a ton of different labels when it comes to the lesbian community. You’ve probably heard of lipstick lesbians, butch lesbians, and women who identify as dykes. Stereotypes aside, a lesbian is a woman who is attracted to other women. Non-binary people also use this term.
Speaking of non-binary, this phrase refers to someone who does not exclusively identify as male or female. Maybe you identify as both. Maybe neither. In many cases, a non-binary person also identifies as transgender, but not always. If you’ve heard terms like genderqueer, gender fluid, bigender, or agender, non-binary is right there with ‘em.
Out can mean a few things. Out can mean you’re out of the closet… you’re openly gay (or however you identify). Or, out can mean “outed” – as in, someone exposed that you were queer without your permission. Oh wait…. Like my uncle did to me! Yep, he saw me kissing my now-wife, told my grandma, my grandma told my mom… and the moment was stolen away from me, just like that.
Pansexual is used for those who have sexual or romantic attraction to anyone of any sex or gender. This attraction doesn’t necessarily have to be equal across all genders. Many say that they are “gender-blind”, and do not see sex or gender as a factor when it comes to attraction. The difference between “bi” and “pan” is that “bi” means two (genders), and “pan” means all.
The “+” in LGBTQIA+ is the icing on the cake. The cherry on the sundae. It’s all about love and acceptance. According to Louis Ortz-Fonesca, with LGBTQ Health and Rights with Advocates for Youth, the “plus” represents inclusion. Adding the “+” helps support an extremely diverse community, and becomes even more all encompassing. All are welcome here!
Overall, the most known pronouns are she/her and he/him. They/them has definitely become more popular, and thanks to popular media, is gaining visibility. In fact, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary named “they” the word of the year in 2019. They/them is commonly used amongst nonbinary and trans people.
But wait… there’s more! Lots more, and it’s freakin’ awesome. Check out this pronoun chart below. Gender-neutral pronouns are on the rise!
Queer is kind of like a “catchall” term for many aspects of the LGBTQ+ community. Essentially, it describes both gender and sexual identities that fall outside of “cis” and straight. Anyone can identify as queer. This word has been used in a poor manner in the past, but has been reclaimed by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and other queer folks in recent years.
We know what you’re thinking… Sex is all about getting it on. Well, sex also refers to the anatomy you are born with! Sex is different from gender, which is how you identify.
Trans people typically have gender identities outside of their sex assigned at birth. Many transgendered people choose to go through gender transition, which makes them able to live their life in the gender they identify as. Transitioning means different things for different people, and can be an internal, social, legal, and physical process. It’s important to note that not all trans people choose to transition.
Sport your pride
Whether you fall somewhere on the spectrum, or are a parent, friend, or ally… Grab a decorative house flag to rock your support! Queer house flags for queer folks, and beyond. Galfie was founded by wife-duo Hannah and Jade Sullivan, and their goal is to rep the community as much as possible. Grab some pride-centric house flags for yourself and your neighbors!
Shop the Smiley Progress Pride Flag
Shop the “QUEER!” Flag
Shop the “Gay All Day” Flag
Shop the “OK to be Gay” Flag