Meenal Patel, Licensed Professional Counselor

LGBTQ is a commonly used term identifying individuals who are gay, lesbian, transgender, queer, bisexual (and there many other terms out there can be added on). LGBTQ has become more recognizable in our society, and you might also hear the words “queer community” to identify these individuals. In this post, I want to explain to you what each letter means.

Lesbian

Lesbian is a female identifying homosexual who has an attraction for other female identified in a romantic love way or sexual attraction.

Gay

Gay is homosexual individuals. They can be male identifying persons attracted to other males in a romantic or sexual attraction way or also females. Gay is a term more to describe men, but can also be for females.

Bisexual

Bisexual is an attraction that one individual might have towards a males and females. It can be a romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or even sexual behavior. Individuals that identify themselves as bisexual might be attracted to anyone no matter their sex or gender.

Transgender

Transgender can also be called trans, and it is the larger umbrella term that individuals might use to help them express gender identity. Transgender individuals do not identify with the gender identity assigned at birth. Trans identity can vary from individual to individual and does not necessarily mean that a person identifies gender by the binary standard. Some Trans folks can identify with multiple genders and may vary in gender expression.

Queer

This is a bigger terminology for individuals who do not identify as heterosexual or homosexual and do not want societal identifiers regarding gender or sexual identity expressions put on them. There are no standards in how they define themselves.

Other important terminology includes:

Gender: Gender defines itself as a way that a person may classify themselves-man, woman, or non-conforming to binary gender standards that some other identity that they feel comfortable with. Gender differs from the sex that was assigned that birth.

Gender Expression: This is how one might express themselves by either their choice of clothing, behaviors, personality, etc. Often times society defines these as “masculine” or “feminine” but it is how each individual feels for themselves.

Gender Identity: This is how an individual might identify or describe themselves, but not necessarily the gender that was assigned at birth (male or female). For example: an individual might be born male, but their gender expression is female and so they present themselves as female.

Gender Fluid: The individual does not express themselves as a single gender and may experience shifts in gender expression.

Asexual: This is an individual who does not view others in a sexual way. They look at the person as a person. Often times asexual individuals are celibate and do not have sex. Asexual individuals can still be romantically involved with others, despite not having sexual desire for others.

BlaQueer/BlaQ: This is the same as queer, but for individuals of the African American decent.

Coming Out: Often times, you might hear of individuals having “coming out parties” or “coming out of the closet”. This describes when individuals decide to make their sexual orientation and/or sexual identity publicly known.

Monogamy: This refers to individuals who only have one intimate partner at any one time.

Polyamory: This describes individuals who have multiple partners. Sometimes they might have a “primary partner” and then others around, or they might have multiple partners around.

Non-Binary: This describes individuals who experience and embrace the entire universe. These individuals do not see gender and they are open to all genders-being one themselves. They often time tend to identify themselves by using “they/them/theirs” pronouns

As stated previously, this is by no means a complete listing of gender identities or sexual orientations as a vast number of these identifiers are constantly evolving and developing. Feel free to contact me for a complimentary 20-minute consultation to discuss your needs and to explore how we can work together to explore any questions you may have regarding gender and sexual identity and expression.