Terms to know about for the LGBTQ+ community

Jill O'Brien

With Monday marking the start of Pride Week, having an understanding of what the LGBTQ+ acronym means is important. Here is a breakdown of what each letter stands, what it means and additional terms to know, according to GLAAD.


A lesbian is a woman whose physical, emotional and romantic attraction is to other women. Some lesbians may also prefer to identify as gay (adj.) or as gay women.


The adjective used to describe people whose physical, emotional and romantic attraction is to people of the same sex. Lesbian (n. or adj.) may be the preferred term for women.


A person whose physical, emotional and romantic attraction is to those of the opposite gender or the same gender. Bisexual people do not need to have specific sexual experiences in order to identify as bisexual; they may not have any sexual experiences at all to identify as bisexual.


A term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex that is marked on their birth certificate. Gender identity is a person’s internal sense of being a man or a woman — for someone who is transgender, their gender identity and assigned gender do not match. People in the transgender community may prefer the terms transgender, transsexual or genderqueer — always use the term preferred by that individual.


An adjective used by people, typically younger people, whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual. For those who identify as queer, the terms gay, lesbian or bisexual may be too limiting, and prefer to use the terms queer or genderqueer to describe their gender identity or gender expression.


An adjective used to describe someone who does not experience sexual attraction. A person can also be aromantic, meaning that they do not experience romantic attraction. 


A term used to describe people born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that cannot be clearly identified as typically male or female. These variations are often referred to as Differences of Sex Development (DSD). Some people may have an intersex condition and identify as transgender, but the two are separate terms and should not be used interchangeably.


While the term bisexual is defined as being attracted to more than one gender, pansexual means to be attracted to all gender identities, or attracted to people regardless of gender identity.