While LGBT is still a popular term used to describe the queer community, it has grown to LGBTQQIP2SAA. For this reason, I will often simply use LGBT+ or LGBTQ+ in my writing as a way to be inclusive of everyone. But just what DO all of those letters stand for?
L – Lesbian: Female identified person who is romantically and/or sexually attracted to other women.
G – Gay: Male identified person who is romantically and/or sexually attracted to other men. Gay has also been adopted by some people as a general term referring to themselves as LGBTQ+ in some way, especially among younger generations.
B – Bisexual: Once defined as romantically and/or sexually attracted to both men and women, many bisexuals today say they can be attracted to all genders and/or sexes.
T – Transgender: A person whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.
Q – Queer: An umbrella term that includes all sexual and gender minorities, including those who do not fit into, or reach beyond the LGBT terms… used to be a slur, and may still be used as such. One should not use that term to refer to someone unless that’s how they have explicitly said they identify.
Q – Questioning: Someone who is exploring their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
I – Intersex: People born with anatomy or chromosomal makeup that doesn’t correspond to male or female.
P – Pansexual: Can be attracted to members of all gender identities and biological sexes.
SS – 2 Spirit: A term used by many indigenous groups to describe the gender, sexual, or spiritual identity of those not identifying fully as either male or female.
A – Asexual: Experiences little to no sexual attraction, but can have romantic, emotional, or aesthetic attraction to another person. Asexuality is a spectrum. For instance, some may only experience sexual attraction to people they already have a strong romantic bond to.
A – Ally: Does not identify as LGBTQ but supports the rights and safety of those who do.
Kristi Jackson is a Newport News high school Spanish teacher and single mom to a 16 year old transgender son, Charlie. Through her experience with Charlie’s transition she has become an advocate and an activist for LGBTQ+ youth. She sponsors one of the largest and most active GSAs in Hampton Roads and founded Hampton Roads PTK, a support group for parents of Trans and Gender Nonconforming youth. This article is adapted from her blog.