LGBTQIA+: what does it mean?
I have always believed in the importance of having an open and honest dialogue about sex, sexuality, and gender. As a mental health practitioner and a queer Latina, I believe it is my responsibility to engage in such dialogue. So in the spirit of Pride Month, I'm going to start by providing some basic information.
I'm sure many of you are familiar with LGBT and LGBTQ. You probably have some idea of what those letters stand for. If not, that's ok, just read on to find out!
L - Lesbian refers to women who are attracted to other women
G - Gay refers to men who are attracted to men. It is often used as an umbrella term for people attracted to same gender.
B - Bisexual refers to a person of any gender who is attracted to people of their own gender and other genders.
T - Trans refers to someone whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth. May also apply to individuals that identify as non-binary or genderfluid.
Q - Queer or Questioning. Queer is an umbrella term for all of those who are not heterosexual and/or cisgender (once used as a pejorative – not everyone feels comfortable with this term). Questioning is the process of exploring and discovering one’s own sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or other gender expression.
I - Intersex refers to a person whose genitals or chromosomes do not fit the typical definitions of male or female. Many different intersex variations exist. It is naturally occurring and not a medical condition/problem.
A - Asexuality or Ally. Asexuality is someone who does not feel sexual attraction to people. An ally is typically a non-queer person who supports and advocates for the queer community. It can also refer to a person within LGBTQIA+ who supports and advocates for other orientations/identities within the community.
+ - The "+" symbol simply stands for all of the other sexualities, sexes, and genders that aren't included in these few letters. This may include pansexual, heterosexual, and demisexual, to name a few.
Other things to note:
Attraction may be emotional, romantic, or sexual.
A person does not need to have any sexual experience to identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, it is the attraction and self-identification that determine orientation.
Transgender people may or may not decide to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically to match their gender identity.
This was just a quick run down of a few different sexual orientations and gender identities. If you would like to know more, I am happy to answer your questions.
You may also find additional information and resources at the links below.