What does LGBTQ mean?
LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning. The term does not include everyone, but it’s a starting point for talking about different types of romantic attraction and gender identities.
These terms describe some people’s sexual orientations. Someone’s sexual orientation refers to the people that they are sexually attracted to.
- Heterosexual (or straight) refers to a person who is sexually attracted to people of the opposite gender.
- Homosexual (or gay) refers to a someone who is sexually attracted to people of the same gender.
- Lesbian refers specifically to a woman who is sexually attracted to other women.
- Bisexual refers to a person who is sexually attracted to both men and women.
- Pansexual refers to a person who is sexually attracted to people of any gender identity or sexual orientation.
- Asexual refers to a person with a lack of sexual or romantic attraction for anyone, or with low interest in sexual activity.
Just like with differences in race, ethnicity, religion, or cultural background, it’s important to remember that just because someone is different than you doesn’t mean they’re weird, bad or wrong. Always treat everyone with respect and understanding no matter who they are or how they live their life.
What should I do if I need help?
Sex is a spectrum
It is important to remember that gender identity, sexual orientation, biological sex and gender expression are all on a spectrum. This means that some people aren’t always one thing or another – they can be somewhere in between.
- A person who is transgender can identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or anywhere in between.
- A person who identifies as a woman and is biologically female may choose to express their gender on the scale of masculine, feminine or somewhere in between.
- A person whose biological sex is male can have a woman’s gender identity.
Growing up LGBTQ
A recent report by the Human Rights Campaign, “Growing Up LGBT in America,” surveyed more than 10,000 LGBT-identified youth ages 13 – 17. It provides a stark picture of the difficulties they face.
The reports shows that 42% of LGBTQ youth say the community in which they live is not accepting of LGBTQ people. But 75% of LGBTQ youth say their peers do not have a problem with their identity as LGBTQ.
What does biological sex mean?
Biological sex refers to the anatomy that defines us as male, female or intersex. This includes the internal and external sex organs in addition to chromosomes and hormones as well.
Here’s some important info to know about biological sex:
- A person with two XX chromosomes is a biological female.
- A person with XY chromosomes is a biological male.
- Intersex refers to an individual who has a chromosome set different from biological males or females. This individual may develop sex or reproductive organs that are ambiguous or may develop sex characteristics of both males and females.
What does gender identity mean?
Gender identity refers to how people see themselves in terms of gender – masculine (like a male), feminine (like a female) or somewhere in between. Just because someone is a biological male doesn’t mean that they identify with being a man.
Gender expression is a person’s outward expression of their gender. Things like your clothes, your haircut and your voice all contribute to how you express your gender.
Here are some important terms to know about gender identity:
- Cisgender refers to a person whose gender identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex.
- Genderqueer refers to a person whose gender identity does not strictly confirm to being either a man or a woman.
- Transgender refers to a person whose gender identity does not correspond to their biological sex.