LGBTQ+: An Explanation of Several Sexualities and Genders

 

LGBTQ_Symbols.jpg
Courtesy of Louisiana State University

Though many people are aware of the LGBTQ+ community, many more still don’t really know what the acronym stands for. They might not be aware of the various sexualities and genders each letter stands for, or that there are more sexualities and genders than letters. The spectrum of sexuality and gender is ever-growing and evolving, but in the continued interest of promoting understanding of and within the LGBTQ+ community, the following is a list of a few terms related to the community, in alphabetical order:

 

Asexual/Aromantic: A person who doesn’t feel any sexual/romantic attraction whatsoever. Sometimes, the terms are shortened to “Ace” or “Aro”.  It is important to note that it is possible that someone is one but not the other, so an Ace person might have romantic tendencies or an Aro person might be sexually active.

Androgynous: A person who physically exhibits both masculine and feminine traits.

Ally: A heterosexual person who supports the LGBTQ+ community.  The acronym of LGBTQ can also be seen as LGBTQIA+, however the “A” in “LGBTQIA+” does not stand for ally. Allies are in no way a member of the community; they are just supporters of it.

Bisexual/Biromantic: A person who is sexually/romantically attracted to two or more genders. The term can be shortened to “Bi”. There is a common misconception that someone who is Bi does not believe there are more than two genders (though many identify with those out of the typical “he, she”), but that misconception should not be included in any perception of someone under this category, especially as bi does not specifically refer to male and female.

Demisexual/Demiromantic: A person who only feels sexual/romantic attraction to someone with whom they have emotionally bonded.

Gender Dysphoria: The feeling a person gets when they are uncomfortable in their body because their biological sex doesn’t match their gender. Gender dysphoria does not require the person to be transgender. It is a state that many, not all, experience.

Genderfluid: A person whose gender identity changes. The time period between changes can be days, hours, or even minutes. Sometimes they are a boy, sometimes a girl, sometimes both, and sometimes neither.

Homosexual/Homoromantic: A person who is sexually/romantically attracted to someone who is the same gender as they are.  A woman who is attracted to women is often called a lesbian, whereas “gay” refers to a man who is attracted to men or is used as an umbrella term for all homosexual people. Note: shipping a gay or lesbian couple is NOT a form of LGBTQ+ activism.

Intersex: A person who is born with a mix of female and male biological traits.

Non-Binary:  A person who doesn’t identify as a male or a female.

Pansexual/Panromantic: A person who can be sexually/romantically attracted to all people, regardless of gender.  Note: This is different from bisexuality because pansexuals and panromantics are attracted to people based on factors regardless of gender, whereas bisexuals and biromantics can only be attracted to certain genders.  

Note that the “P” in the acronym (when read as LGBTQP+) does not, in any measure, stand for pedophelia. Pedophiles often abuse the acronym and the LGBTQ+ community for their own twisted beliefs, and that is unacceptable. They do not, and never will, have a place in the community.

Queer: An umbrella term for the LGBTQ+ community. This term is sometimes connoted as a slur, however it has been reclaimed by many members. Ask members of the LGBTQ+ community if they are personally comfortable before using this term.

Transgender: A person born into a body/sex that does not align with their gender. Many believe that one only becomes transgender after they make a biologic change, but the truth is that someone who is transgender was born with the gender they feel right with. Many do not even go through an operation to permanently change a part of themselves due to any number of factors, from economic status to how they feel they will be accepted by their family/community.

 

As goes for all things, understanding the terms and facets of the LGBTQ+ community is crucial to fostering acceptance. We must dissolve ignorance surrounding community members, and that only begins with acknowledging the nuances of the sexualities and genders that make up the spectrum. The members of the LGBTQ+ community are real. They are valid. And it’s time we start treating them as such.

 

-Elise Hsu