LGBT History Month: Terminology and Identities

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in News on 11th February, 2019

LGBT history month is a fantastic opportunity to share the different terminologies and identities that individuals may use to describe their gender and sexual orientation. There are lots of different identities and terminologies a person may use. When addressing them, people would like the correct name and pronouns to be used, however, if you are unsure of how someone would like to be addressed you can ask them politely without worry.

The most commonly known acronym is LGBT+, but what does the acronym LGBT+ mean?

The acronyms L, G and B refer to sexual orientations:

  • Lesbian (a woman who is sexually attracted to other women)
  • Gay (a person who is sexually attracted to people of the same gender – the term gay is used for men attracted to other men or women attracted to other women)
  • Bisexual (a person who is attracted to people of their own gender and other genders)

The acronyms T and + refer to gender identities:

  • Trans (a person who identifies mentally and emotionally with a gender that does not match their biological gender)
  • + (plus other related identities*)

Aside from the most commonly known acronyms above, there are also many other gender identities and sexual orientations that people may identify with. The Proud Trust provides information about other gender terminologies (such as pansexual, asexual and intersex) here.

*The LGBT+ acronym is a shortened version of a longer acronym, LGBTQQIP2SAA (or similar variations). This video provides a brief overview of all of the letters in the acronym and what they mean.

Gender is experienced differently across the world as people are socialised differently based on their cultures, faiths and backgrounds. Everyone has the right to self-identify without fear of discrimination, victimisation or abuse.

“We are all assigned a gender at birth. Sometimes that assignment doesn’t match our inner truth, and there needs to be a new place – a place for self-identification. I was not born a boy, I was assigned boy at birth. Understanding the difference between the two is crucial to our culture and society moving forward in in the way we treat – and talk about – transgender individuals … In today’s globally connected and ever-diversifying world, culture is now more fluid and more flexible than ever – and so too should be our understanding and perception of gender.” - Geena Rocero: transgender rights advocate, model and TED speaker. In 2014, Rocero came out as a transgender woman.