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Your Complete Guide To What LGBTQ+ Terms Mean

From 'non-binary' to 'intersex.'
PHOTO: Getty Images

Wondering what LGBTQ+ means, what each letter stands for, and what the terminology around it is all about? Here's Stonewall's guide to the LGBTQ+ acronym, and the other relevant terms.

A

Ally (or allies): Usually a straight and/or non-trans person who supports the LGBTQ+ community.

Asexual: A person who doesn't feel sexual attraction.

B

Bisexual (or bi): An umbrella term that describes an emotional, romantic and/or sexual orientation towards more than one gender.

Biphobia: The fear or dislike of a person who identifies as (or is perceived to be) bisexual based on prejudice or negative attitudes, beliefs or views about bi people.

C

Cisgender (or cis, or non-trans): A person whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth.

Coming out: When a person tells someone about their LGBTQ+ identity.

D

Deadnaming: When a trans person who has changed their name as part of their transition is called by their birth name.

G

Gay: A man who has an emotional, romantic, and/or sexual orientation towards men. It's also used as a generic term for lesbian and gay sexuality. And, some women define themselves as gay, rather than lesbian.

Gender dysphoria: When a person experiences discomfort or distress because there's a mismatch between their sex assigned at birth and their gender identity. It's also a clinical diagnosis for someone who doesn't feel comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth.

Gender expression: How a person chooses to outwardly express their gender, within the context of societal expectations of gender. A person who does not conform to societal expectations of gender may not, however, identify as trans.

Gender identity: A person's innate sense of their own gender, whether male, female, non-binary (see below), or something else. This may or may not correspond to the sex assigned at birth.

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Gender reassignment (or gender confirmation): A way of describing a person's transition, usually meaning to undergo some sort of medical intervention. It can also mean changing names, pronouns, dressing differently, and living in their self-identified gender.

H

Heterosexual (or straight): A person who has an emotional, romantic, and/or sexual orientation towards people of the opposite gender.

Homosexual: Largely considered a more medical term used to describe someone who has an emotional, romantic, and/or sexual orientation towards someone of the same gender. "Gay" is now more generally used.

Homophobia: The fear or dislike of someone who identifies as (or is perceived to be)lesbian, gay, or bi, based on prejudice or negative attitudes, beliefs, or views about lesbian, gay or bi people.

I

Intersex: Used to describe a person who may have the biological attributes of both sexes, or whose biological attributes do not fit with societal assumptions about what constitutes male or female. Intersex people may identify as male, female, or non-binary.

L

LGBT: The acronym for lesbian, gay, bi, and trans.

LGBTQ+: The acronym for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, and other identities.

Lesbian: A woman who has an emotional, romantic, and/or sexual orientation towards women.

N

Non-binary: An umbrella term for a person who does not identify as only male or only female, or who may identify as both.

O

Outed: When a lesbian, gay, bi, or trans person's sexual orientation or gender identity is disclosed to someone else, without that person's consent.

P

Pansexual: A person whose emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attraction towards others is not limited by biological sex, gender, or gender identity.

Pronoun (or gender pronouns): Words used to refer to people's gender in conversationlike, "he" or "she." Some people may prefer others to refer to them in gender-neutral language and use pronouns such as they/their and ze/zir.

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Q

Queer: In the past, it was a derogatory term for LGBTQ+ individuals. It's now been reclaimed by LGBTQ+ people who don’t identify with traditional categories around gender identity and sexual orientation. But, it's still viewed as derogatory by some.

Questioning: The process of exploring your own sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

S

Sexual orientation: A person’s emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attraction to another person.

T

Trans: An umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to) transgender, transsexual, gender-queer (GQ), gender-fluid, non-binary, gender-variant, crossdresser, genderless, agender, nongender, third gender, two-spirit, bi-gender, trans man, trans woman, trans masculine, trans feminine, and neutrois.

Transgender man: Used to describe someone who is assigned female at birth, but identifies and lives as a man. This may be shortened to trans man, or FTM, an abbreviation for female-to-male.

Transgender woman: Used to describe someone who is assigned male at birth, but identifies and lives as a woman. This may be shortened to trans woman, or MTF, an abbreviation for male-to-female.

Transitioning: The steps a trans person may take to live in the gender with which they identify. Each person’s transition will involve different things. For some, this involves medical intervention (such as hormone therapy and surgeries), but not all trans people want or are able to have this. Transitioning also might involve things like telling friends and family, dressing differently, and changing official documents.

Transphobia: The fear or dislike of someone based on the fact they are trans, including the denial/refusal to accept their gender identity (or use their correct pronouns).

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Transsexual: Used in the past as a more medical term (similarly to homosexual) to refer to someone who transitioned to live in the "opposite" gender to the one assigned at birth. It's still used by some, although many people prefer trans or transgender.

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.