Most of you will have a basic understanding of what the 4 letters stand for in the abbreviation L.G.B.T., but how many of you know what the following letters T.Q.Q.I.A.A.P. stand for or mean? Many folk probably didn’t realise there were so many other letters or find it tricky to understand. I can vouch that even people who identify as one of these letters, can also struggle to know/remember what they all mean.
But that’s ok! If a person defines themselves as something that is new to you, it’s perfectly fine (and important) to enquire what that identity means to them. The biggest thing to remember is to RESPECT how a person chooses to define themselves as well as using the appropriate terminology.
So during this Pride month, I decided to refresh myself and compile the ABC’s of LGBTTQQIAAP for you too. See how many of the letters you know before continuing! No doubt I’ve missed something, but hope that this can at least outline a basic understanding of various ways a person would wish to define themselves.
THE 4 KEY TRAITS
Before we go into each letter of the LGBT+ abbreviation, it’s probably good to understand the 4 key traits which these letters fall under: Biological Sex, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression as these often get mixed up.
is who a person is sexually attracted to either sexually or romantically. Simple understanding: who you love.
is the gender which a person chooses to represent them. Simple understanding: what you feel.
is the physical anatomy of which a person is born. Simple understanding: what you have.
is how a person expresses themselves (behaviour, clothing, voice, mannerisms, etc). Simple understanding: how you look and act.
A woman who is sexually attracted to another woman.
A man who is sexually attracted to another man. It also acts as an umbrella term for a same sex attraction individual.
A person who doesn’t identify mentally or emotionally with their Biological Sex. “Tranny” is considered out-of-date and derogatory term and shouldn’t be used. “Transvestite” is not the same thing as “Transgender”; I have detailed more about that term under “Drag Queen/King”. “Transgender” also acts as an umbrella term for: “Transman” – Man who wasn’t born male (Female to Male), “Transwoman” – Woman who wasn’t born female (Male to Female), and “Transsexual“…
A person who alters themselves physically through surgery or hormone therapies to suit their gender identity. It’s never ok to ask a transperson where they are in their transition; they’ll tell you if they want you to know.
This is an umbrella term which applies to the LGBT+ community as a whole. It’s also a term used if a person doesn’t feel they fit into one specific letter; which is why it’s sometimes paired with “Questioning”.
A person still figuring out their sexual orientation/gender identity, but open to idea of being in the queer community.
A person who is born with both male and female genitalia. The term “Hermaphrodite” is an out-of-date term for Intersex, but is now only used in reference to animals or plants.
Asexual / Ace
A person who doesn’t feel attraction sexually. This doesn’t mean someone who is asexual can’t desire an emotionally intimate relationship with someone. This is not the same as celibacy; in celibacy you choose to withhold from sex for religious reasons. Here are a few common terms which branch from asexuality (but not exclusively associated):
- Heteroromantic people are only romantically interested in the opposite sex
- Homoromantic people are only romantically interested in the same sex
- Biromantic people are romantically interested to people of multiple genders
- Panromantic people are romantically interested to people of all genders.
- Aromantic people are not romantically interested in anyone. They can still be interested in non-romantic relationships such as close friendships.
- AroAce (asexual / aromantic) is someone who doesn’t feel sexual or romantic attraction.
- Demisexual/Grey-A people only experience sexual attraction after making a strong emotional connection.
A person (typically heterosexual/straight) who supports the causes of the LGBT+. This should apply to everyone in the world who don’t identify as queer, but there’s still a long way to go for the LGBT+ community settling in the world.
A broader term than bisexuality. Person finds attraction to another person’s personality.
SOME OTHER COMMON LABELS
A person who fluctuates between traditionally “male” and “female” gender-based behaviours and identities.
A person whose gender identity and biological sex assigned at birth are the same.
Drag Queens / Kings
A person who explores and expresses genders as an art form through crossdressing. This does not reflect their sexual orientation or their gender identity. “Transvestite” is considered an out-of-date and derogatory term; “Crossdresser” is also an appropriate modern day replacement.
Genderqueer / Genderneutral / Non-binary
A person who doesn’t conform to binary of male / female or heterosexuality / homosexuality. Often someone who is Genderqueer prefer to be referred to with pronouns such as them/they/theirs instead of he/she, his/hers or him/her.
A person who is gender fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel more man some days, and more woman other days.
A person attracted to genderqueer of trangender people.
A person who does not identify with either man or woman, but identifies with another gender. This term is a conceptual term meaning different things to different people who use it.
A Native American term. A person who displays male and female qualities (personality, sexuality or gender identity).
Queerplatonic people experience a type of non-romantic relationship where there is an intense emotional connection that goes beyond a traditional friendship.