There are lots of terms under the LGBT+ umbrella (that’s what the plus is for!) and while it can be a little confusing, the best thing you can do is to educate yourself. Understanding all the terms can help you better understand your identity and help you be a better ally (supportive friend) to any of your loved ones who identify anywhere on the LGBT+ spectrum.
We’re taking a look at everything from the well-known to the not so known terms. (Okay so it’s more like A to T!)
Aromantic: This is a person who experiences a lack of romantic attraction or a lack of interest in forming romantic relationships.
Asexual: Sometimes called Ace, this is an individual who does not experience sexual attraction or experiences such a low level of sexual attraction that they do not consider it to be notable. Like any other sexuality, asexuality is diverse, and each individual may experience asexuality differently. Asexuality exists on a spectrum which means that it includes people who experience no sexual attraction to those who experience low levels and only after significant amounts of time.
Bisexual: You’ve probably heard a lot about bisexuality. Most commonly, bisexuality is seen as an attraction to two genders, usually male and female. Some individuals who identify as bisexual are sexually and/or emotionally attracted to more than one gender but only form relationships with one. Another commonly used definition is that bisexuality is a sexual attraction towards the same gender, and gender(s) different than your own. This attraction does not have to be equally split or indicate a level of interest that is the same across the genders or sexes an individual may be attracted to. Many celebs including Lady Gaga and Megan Fox are openly bisexual.
Cisgender: This is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. Someone who is not transgender or non-binary, this is sometimes referred to as Cis.
Gay: Gay is used as an umbrella for anyone who is sexually or romantically attracted to someone of the same gender. The second definition is used to exclusively refer to someone who is male-identified, who is romantically or sexually attracted to other male-identified individuals.
Heterosexuality: This is a sexual attraction to the ‘opposing’ sex/gender. Typically this means a female/women attracted to male/men, and vice versa. Also known as straight.
Intersex: People who are born with variations in their sexual anatomy or their hormonal patterns, variations that are not seen as fitting in with typical male or female bodies.
Lesbian: A female-identified person who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to other female-identified individuals.
Non-binary: People whose gender identity is not exclusively male or female. Some non-binary people use they/them pronouns. Sam Smith recently spoke out about being non-binary and uses they/them pronouns.
Pansexual: Pansexuality is a sexual orientation used to describe an individual who feels they are sexually and/or romantically attracted to all genders, based on an individual’s personality. Miley Cyrus has regularly spoken out about being pansexual. Kesha and Bella Thorne are also pansexual.
Queer: This is an umbrella term for anyone who is not heterosexual, gender-binary and/or heteronormative.
Questioning: an individual who is unsure about or is exploring their own sexual orientation or gender identity.
Transgender: People whose gender identity differs from the sex they were given at birth. Trans+ includes non-binary people. Well-known trans people include Orange Is The New Black actress Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner and Theo Germaine from Netflix show The Politician.
Of course, the LGBT+ spectrum includes many more identities and some people may feel they belong to one catergory and later feel more comfortable with a different.