When you’re part of a group that’s been defined by others throughout history, you probably want to define yourself. Using specific expressions, terms and pronouns are part of one’s identity, and should be treated as such. Now, most of us know what LGBT means, but how about LGBTQIA2S+? Here’s a not-so-short explanation.
LGBTQIA2S+ : Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, and the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify.
Now let’s dive into this vocab. The definitions we are talking about here are inevitable simplifications and one could write numerous things about each topic alone. Our goal is to provide the most inclusive definitions possible.
The new Pride flag, designed by Daniel Quasar, also includes POC and transgenders who are some of the most marginalized people in the community.
Asexual: Someone that doesn’t experience sexual attraction to someone else. Unlike celibacy, being asexual is part of who you are, like just any other gender. There is some diversity within the community in the needs and experiences associated with sexuality. Some asexuals desire romantic relationships, experience attraction, and arousal, while others don’t. It’s a mistake to think they don’t have emotional needs as everybody else. Learn more about asexuality here.
Queer: It’s a broad term used by many people in the community. It can use to describe a broad spectrum of identities related to sex, gender and attraction. It’s used by any person that is not heterosexual or cisgender. How people understand the word can be different tho - check this article where 9 people explain what it means to them.
Two-Spirit: Someone who identifies as having a masculine and feminine spirit. It’s used mostly by Indigenous people to describe their sexual, gender and/or spiritual identity. The term was created by Albert McLeod, who propose it during the 3rd Annual Inter-Tribal Native American, First Nations, Gay and Lesbian American Conference, in 1990. Two-spirited is translated from the term niizh manidoowag.
Demisexual: Someone that experiences sexual attraction only after having an emotional attraction to that person. The type of emotional bond varies from person to person, and emotional intimacy is a popular component. Having an emotional bond doesn't mean they will have sexual attraction for that person, it's rather a prerequisite for it to occur. Check out some of the myths involving demisexuals.
Intersex: Someone that has different sexual (penis and vulva) and reproductive (testes and ovaries) anatomy from what’s typically consider male or female. An intersex person may have one genitalia on the outside and another on the inside; they may have ambiguous genitalia, such as a girl with a noticeably large clitoris, or lacking a vaginal opening. Learn more about Intersexuality here.
Transgender: Someone whose gender identity doesn’t correspond to their sex assigned at birth.
Gender fluid: Someone that has an identity that varies over time, experiencing a spectrum of different genders. They fluctuate between having more than one gender, or between having a gender and not having one.
Cisgender: Someone that has the same gender identity as their sex assigned at birth. The prefix cis means “on the same side as” and the term was created by transgender activists in the 90s to have a better way to describe people who weren’t transgender.
Bisexual: Someone that is attracted to people of the same gender and of the others. Most bisexuals have attraction to the female and male gender.
Pansexual: Someone that is attracted to people regardless of their gender. While there are some similarities to being bisexual, pansexuality “doesn’t see gender”. What comes into play is the energy of the person, physical attraction, and other unique factors that can vary from each person.
Gay: Someone that is attracted to people of the same gender. Gay can be used by a folks of a diversity of genders or specifically by men who are attracted to other men.
Lesbian: Someone that identifies as a woman and it’s attracted to other women.
Drag: Is an artistic practice where someone adopts an exaggerated gender expression, usually to an opposite to their own. When the expression, most common, is feminine, we call it a drag queen; when the expression is masculine, we call it drag kings.