LESBIAN 

A woman whose enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction is to other women. Some lesbians may prefer to identify as gay or as gay women.

GAY 

The adjective describes people whose enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attractions are to people of the same sex. Sometimes lesbian is the preferred term for women.

BISEXUAL 

A person who can form enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attractions to those of the same gender or more than one gender. People may experience this attraction in differing ways and degrees over their lifetime. Bisexual people need not have had specific sexual experiences to be bisexual; they need not have had any sexual experience at all to identify as bisexual.

TRANSGENDER 

An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. People under the transgender umbrella may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms— including transgender or nonbinary. Some transgender people are prescribed hormones by their doctors to bring their bodies into alignment with their gender identity. Some undergo surgery as well. But not all transgender people can or will take those steps, and a transgender identity is not dependent upon physical appearance or medical procedures.

QUEER        

An adjective used by some people whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual or straight. This umbrella term includes people who have nonbinary, gender-fluid, or gender nonconforming identities. Once considered a pejorative term, queer has been reclaimed by some LGBTQIA+ people to describe themselves; however, it is not a universally accepted term even within the LGBTQIA+ community.

QUESTIONING

Sometimes, when the Q is seen at the end of LGBT, it can also mean questioning. This term describes someone who is questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity.

INTERSEX 

An adjective used to describe a person with one or more innate sex characteristics, including genitals, internal reproductive organs, and chromosomes, that fall outside of traditional conceptions of male or female bodies. Do not confuse having an intersex trait with being transgender. Intersex people are assigned a sex at birth — either male or female — and that decision by medical providers and parents may not match the gender identity of the child. Not all intersex folks identify as being part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

ASEXUAL  

The adjective describes a person who does not experience sexual attraction. Sometimes shortened to “ace,” it is an umbrella term that can also include people who are demisexual, meaning they do experience some sexual attraction; graysexual, meaning those who may not fit the strictest definition of the word asexual; and aromantic, meaning they experience little to no romantic attraction and/or has little to no desire to form romantic relationships.

+ PLUS 

The ‘plus’ is used to signify all of the gender identities and sexual orientations that letters and words cannot yet fully describe.

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