The acronym LGBTQIA+ is an umbrella term that highlights a range of the identities, orientations, and gender expressions.
The letters stand for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual. Additionally, the “+” symbol is often added to include even more diverse identities and expressions.
As this is a widely used umbrella term there are many other sexualities and identities that, while valid and important, are not included.
SO, here’s a more complete list of the LGBTQIA+ ABC’s!
Abro (sexual and romantic): A word used to describe people who have a fluid sexual and/or romantic orientation which changes over time, or the course of their life. They may use different terms to describe themselves over time.
Ace: An umbrella term used specifically to describe a lack of, varying, or occasional experiences of sexual attraction. This encompasses asexual people as well as those who identify as demisexual and grey-sexual. Ace people who experience romantic attraction or occasional sexual attraction might also use terms such as gay, bi, lesbian, straight and queer in conjunction with asexual to describe the direction of their romantic or sexual attraction.
Ace and aro/ace and aro spectrum: Umbrella terms used to describe the wide group of people who experience a lack of, varying, or occasional experiences of romantic and/or sexual attraction, including a lack of attraction. People who identify under these umbrella terms may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including, but not limited to, asexual, ace, aromantic, aro, demi, grey, and abro. People may also use terms such as gay, bi, lesbian, straight and queer in conjunction with ace and aro to explain the direction of romantic or sexual attraction if and when they experience it.
Ace flux: This describes someone whose sexual attraction varies over time. Someone who is ace flux, for example may feel very strongly asexual one day (definitely not feeling any sexual attraction to anyone), but less strongly asexual (maybe feeling weak sexual attraction) another day.
Agender: Agender is a term which can be literally translated as without gender. It can be seen either as a non-binary gender identity or as a statement of not having a gender identity.
Akio sexual/Akio romantic: This refers to a person who experiences sexual/romantic attraction, but their feelings fade if this is reciprocated.
Allies: Allies are people who support and advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, even if they do not identify as LGBTQ+ themselves.
Allo (sexual and romantic): Allo people experience sexual and romantic attraction, and do not identify as on the ace or aro spectrum. Allo is to ace and aro spectrum identities, as straight is to LGB+ spectrum identities. It is important to use words that equalise experience, otherwise the opposite to ace and aro becomes ‘normal’ which is stigmatising.
Aro: An umbrella term used specifically to describe a lack of, varying, or occasional experiences of romantic attraction. This encompasses aromantic people as well as those who identify as demiromantic and grey-romantic. Aro people who experience sexual attraction or occasional romantic attraction might also use terms such as gay, bi, lesbian, straight and queer in conjunction with asexual to describe the direction of their attraction.
Aromantic: A person who does not experience romantic attraction. Some aromantic people experience sexual attraction, while others do not. Aromantic people who experience sexual attraction or occasional romantic attraction might also use terms such as gay, bi, lesbian, straight and queer in conjunction with asexual to describe the direction of their attraction.
Asexual: A person who does not experience sexual attraction towards others, or experiences it in a limited or conditional way.
Assigned male or female at birth, also written amab or afab: This refers to the sex/gender as categorised at birth and recorded on one’s birth certificate.
Bigender: Bigender refers to a person who has two gender identities or a combination of two gender identities, e.g., identifying as both male and female or identifying as agender and female. It’s not to be confused with bisexuality, where a person experiences romantic, emotional, or sexual attraction to two genders.
Binding: This is used by some (but not all) trans masculine people to compress their chests and create a more conventionally masculine shape.
Biphobia: The fear or dislike of someone who identifies as bi based on prejudice or negative attitudes, beliefs or views about bi people. Biphobic bullying may be targeted at people who are, or who are perceived to be, bi.
Bisexual: A person who is emotionally, romantically, and/or sexually attracted to people of more than one gender. The includes pansexual, fluid, queer people.
Blockers, hormone blockers or puberty blockers: This is a type of medication which temporarily stops the production of the natural hormones which progress puberty. They are considered by the NHS Gender Identity Development Service and a body of international research to be a physically reversible intervention: if the young person stops taking the blocker their body will begin developing as it would have done without medical intervention.
Butch: Butch is a term used in LBT culture to describe someone who expresses themselves in a typically masculine way. There are other identities within the scope of butch, such as ‘soft butch’ and ‘stone butch’. You shouldn’t use these terms about someone unless you know they identify with them.
Cisgender: Refers to individuals whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Cisnormativity: This is the assumption that all, or almost all, individuals are cisgender.
Cissexism: This term is used to describe the belief that transgender people are inherently inferior to cisgender people. Examples of cissexist behaviours include dismissing transgenderism as a phase, mental illness, or cry for attention, or considering transgender people to be “freaks,” delusional, or sexual deviants.
Coming Out: Coming out refers to the process of an LGBTQ+ individual disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity to others.
Deadnaming: Calling someone by their birth name after they have changed their name. This term is often associated with trans people who have changed their name as part of their transition.
Demi (sexual and romantic): An umbrella term used to describe people who may only feel sexually or romantically attracted to people with whom they have formed an emotional bond. People may also use terms such as gay, bi, lesbian, straight and queer in conjunction with demi to explain the direction of romantic or sexual attraction as they experience it.
Demigirl: Demigirl (also called a Demiwoman, Demifemale or a Demilady) is a gender identity describing someone who partially identifies as a woman or girl, and partially another gender(s).
Demiboy: Demiboy (also called Demiguy, Demiman, or Demidude), is a gender identity in which one’s gender is partially male, and partially another gender(s).
Drag: Drag is a form of entertainment where individuals, often men, dress up in clothing traditionally associated with the opposite gender.
Equality: Equality is the idea that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should have the same rights and opportunities.
Femme: Femme is a term used in LGBT culture to describe someone who expresses themselves in a typically feminine way. There are other identities within the scope of femme, such as ‘low femme’, ‘high femme’, and ‘hard femme’. You shouldn’t use these terms about someone unless you know they identify with them.
Fluid: Fluid refers to individuals who do not identify as having a fixed sexual orientation or gender identity.
FTM or MTF: These acronyms stand for ‘female-to-male’ and ‘male to female’, respectively, to indicate people assigned female at birth who transition to be a man, and vice versa. Many trans people still use these terms to describe themselves, although these terms have also been criticised for implying that trans people ‘change’ from one sex into another.
Gay: A term often used to describe men who are emotionally, romantically, and/or sexually attracted to other men. It is also used as an umbrella term for all individuals who identify as a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Gender: Often expressed in terms of masculinity and femininity, gender is largely culturally determined and is assumed from the sex assigned at birth.
Gender-diverse: This term describes anyone with a non-cis gender identity; an inclusive term covering non-binary as well as trans identities.
Gender dysphoria: Used to describe when a person experiences discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between their sex assigned at birth and their gender identity. This is also the clinical diagnosis for someone who doesn’t feel comfortable with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Gender expression: How a person chooses to outwardly express their gender, within the context of societal expectations of gender. A person who does not conform to societal expectations of gender may not, however, identify as trans.
Gender fluid: This term is used to describe someone who moves between genders or has a fluctuating gender identity.
Gender identity: A person’s innate sense of their own gender, whether male, female or something else (see non-binary below), which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned at birth.
Gender Identity Clinics, or GIC: NHS clinics that provide support around gender identity to people over 18. (People may be referred from the age of 17.) They are able to provide speech and language therapy, counselling and hormones. They will also make referrals for some affirmative surgeries.
Gender Identity Development Service, or GIDS: This is also known as The Tavistock: NHS service in England and Wales that provides support around gender identity for people under 18. Run by psychotherapists, they explore a young person’s gender, offer support for emotional and relationship difficulties and may refer young people on for affirmative healthcare. It is also referred to as ‘the Tavistock’ as the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust are the providers of GIDS.
Gender non-confirming: This term is used to describe someone who does not conform to socially accepted or stereotypical gender norms.
Gender queer: This term is used when a person does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.
Gender reassignment: Another way of describing a person’s transition. To undergo gender reassignment usually means to undergo some sort of medical intervention, but it can also mean changing names, pronouns, dressing differently and living in their self-identified gender. Gender reassignment is a characteristic that is protected by the Equality Act 2010, and it is further interpreted in the Equality Act 2010 approved code of practice. It is a term of much contention and is one that Stonewall’s Trans Advisory Group feels should be reviewed.
Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC): This enables trans people to be legally recognised in their affirmed gender and to be issued with a new birth certificate. Not all trans people will apply for a GRC and you currently have to be over 18 to apply. You do not need a GRC to change your gender markers at work or to legally change your gender on other documents such as your passport.
Gillick competence: A term used in medical law to decide whether a child (under 16 years of age) is able to consent to their own medical treatment, without the need for parental permission or knowledge.
Grey (sexual and romantic): Also known as grey-A, this is an umbrella term which describes people who experience attraction occasionally, rarely, or only under certain conditions. People may also use terms such as gay, bi, lesbian, straight and queer in conjunction with grey to explain the direction of romantic or sexual attraction as they experience it.
GRSD: This acronym stands for gender, sexual, and relationship diversity
Heteronormativity: The belief or assumption that all people are heterosexual, or that heterosexuality is the default or “normal” state of human being.
Heterosexism: The idea that heterosexuality is a normal, natural, or superior state of human sexual orientation, and the system of oppression based on that belief. It is very closely related to homophobia and the two ideas tend to coexist.
Heterosexual: Refers to individuals who are attracted to people of the opposite gender.
Homophobia: Homophobia is the fear or hatred of individuals who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
Homosexual: This might be considered a more medical term used to describe someone who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards someone of the same gender. The term ‘gay’ is now more generally used.
Intersex: A person who is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit the typical definitions of male or female.
Journey: Journey refers to the personal process of self-discovery and acceptance that many LGBTQ+ individuals go through.
Just Coming Out: Refers to individuals who have recently come out as LGBTQ+.
Kinsey Scale: The Kinsey Scale is a continuum used to describe an individual’s sexual orientation, with 0 being exclusively heterosexual and 6 being exclusively homosexual.
Lesbian: A woman who is emotionally, romantically, and/or sexually attracted to other women.
Lesbophobia: The fear or dislike of someone because they are or are perceived to be a lesbian.
Mental Health: Some things LGBTIQIA+ people go through can affect their mental health, such as discrimination, homophobia or transphobia, social isolation, rejection, and difficult experiences of coming out.
Microaggression: This term describes comments or actions that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalised group.
Misgender, or mispronoun: This means using a pronoun or other language which is different to someone’s way of describing themselves. Understood to mean someone’s identity has not been recognised.
Neutrois: Refers to individuals who do not identify with any gender.
Non-Binary: Refers to individuals who do not identify as exclusively male or female.
Omnisexual: Refers to individuals who experience attraction to all genders.
Orientation: Orientation is an umbrella term describing a person’s attraction to other people. This attraction may be sexual (sexual orientation) and/or romantic (romantic orientation). These terms refers to a person’s sense of identity based on their attractions, or lack thereof. Orientations include, but are not limited to, lesbian, gay, bi, ace and straight.
Out: Out refers to individuals who are openly LGBTQ+.
Outed: When a lesbian, gay, bi or trans person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is disclosed to someone else without their consent.
Pansexual: Refers to individuals who are attracted to people of all genders.
Passing: If someone is regarded, at a glance, to be a cisgender man or cisgender woman. Cisgender refers to someone whose gender identity matches the sex they were ‘assigned’ at birth. This might include physical gender cues (hair or clothing) and/or behaviour which is historically or culturally associated with a particular gender.
Person with a trans history: Someone who identifies as male or female or a man or woman, but was assigned the opposite sex at birth. This is increasingly used by people to acknowledge a trans past.
Platonic partnerships: People who are on the ace and/or aro spectrum may have platonic partnerships. These are relationships where there is a high level of mutual commitment which can include shared life decisions, shared living arrangements, and co-parenting of children. These partnerships can include more than two people. Like allosexual and alloromantic people, ace and aro spectrum people may be monogamous or polyamorous.
Polyamory: This is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the informed consent of all partners involved.
Pronouns: Words we use to refer to people’s gender in conversation – for example, ‘he’ or ‘she’. Some people may prefer others to refer to them in gender neutral language and use pronouns such as they/their and ze/zir.
Queer: A broad term that can refer to any non-heterosexual or non-cisgender identity.
Questioning: Refers to individuals who are exploring their sexual or gender identity.
QTIPOC/ QTIIBIPOC: This acronym stands for queer, trans, intersex, person of colour. The acronym QTIBIPOC stands for queer, trans, intersex, black, indigenous people of colour.
Rainbow Flag: The rainbow flag is a symbol of the LGBTQ+ community, with each color representing a different aspect of diversity.
Reciprosexual/recipromantic: A sexual/romantic orientation on the ace spectrum meaning someone who does not experience sexual or romantic attraction unless they know the other person is sexually/romantically into them first.
Romantic orientation: A person’s romantic attraction to other people, or lack thereof. Along with sexual orientation, this forms a person’s orientation identity. Stonewall uses the term ‘orientation’ as an umbrella term covering sexual and romantic orientations.
Sex: Assigned to a person on the basis of primary sex characteristics and reproductive functions. Sometimes the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are interchanged to mean ‘male’ or ‘female’.
Sexual orientation: A person’s sexual attraction to other people, or lack thereof. Along with romantic orientation, this forms a person’s orientation identity. Stonewall uses the term ‘orientation’ as an umbrella term covering sexual and romantic orientations.
Spectrum: A term used to cover a variety of identities that have a root commonality or shared experience.
Stonewall: The Stonewall riots were a series of demonstrations in 1969 by LGBTQ+ individuals protesting against police brutality and discrimination.
Straight: Refers to individuals who are attracted to people of the opposite gender.
Transfeminine: This is an umbrella term for describing an individual who was assigned male at birth but identify on the female side of the gender spectrum. A transfeminine individual may identify with many aspects of femininity but not wish to describe themselves as “a woman.”
Transmasculine: This is an umbrella term describing individuals who were assigned female at birth but identify on the male side of the gender spectrum. A transmasculine individual may identify with many aspects of masculinity but not wish to describe themselves as “a man.”
Transgender: A person who identifies with a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth. This includes transgender men (assigned female at birth but identify as male), transgender women (assigned male at birth but identify as female), and non-binary individuals (who do not identify as male or female).
Transgender man: A term used to describe someone who is assigned female at birth but identifies and lives as a man. This may be shortened to trans man, or FTM, an abbreviation for female-to-male.
Transgender woman: A term used to describe someone who is assigned male at birth but identifies and lives as a woman. This may be shortened to trans woman, or MTF, an abbreviation for male-to-female.
Transitioning: The steps a trans person may take to live in the gender with which they identify. Each person’s transition will involve different things. For some this involves medical intervention, such as hormone therapy and surgeries, but not all trans people want or are able to have this. Transitioning also might involve things such as telling friends and family, dressing differently and changing official documents.
Transphobia: The fear or dislike of someone based on the fact they are trans, including denying their gender identity or refusing to accept it. Transphobia may be targeted at people who are, or who are perceived to be, trans.
Transsexual: This was used in the past as a more medical term (similarly to homosexual) to refer to someone whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. This term is still used by some although many people prefer the term trans or transgender.
Two-Spirit: Two-Spirit is a term used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe individuals who have both a male and female spirit.
Understanding: Understanding is the key to creating a more inclusive and accepting world for LGBTQ+ individuals.
Undetectable: HIV medication (antiretroviral treatment, or ART) works by reducing the amount of the virus in the blood to undetectable levels. This means the levels of HIV are so low that the virus cannot be passed on. This is called having an undetectable viral load or being undetectable.
Visibility: Visibility refers to the importance of LGBTQ+ individuals being seen and heard, and their experiences being acknowledged and validated.
Women’s Rights: Women’s rights and LGBTQ+ rights are often interconnected, as both groups have historically faced discrimination and inequality.
X Gender: X gender is a term used to describe individuals who do not identify as exclusively male or female.
Youth: LGBTQ+ youth face unique challenges and are at a higher risk of depression, suicide, and homelessness than their heterosexual peers.
Ze / Hir: Ze and Hir are gender-neutral pronouns that some non-binary individuals use to refer to themselves.
This list is likely not exhaustive at this stage, and we welcome any further additions! If there is any terminology that you would like to be included, email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know!
This glossary was created in partnership with Stonewall.