A Simple Guide to LGBTQ+ Terms

By Layla Katz

We’ve been hearing the terms “LGBTQ+” and “pronouns” a lot lately. From my point of view, it’s great to finally see the LGBTQ+ community getting recognized by the mainstream. But for many people, the words can be confusing and alienating. So I thought I would try to create a basic guide to some LGBTQ+ terminology.

L is for lesbian. This describes women who have a romantic attraction towards other women.

G is for gay. Although this word is often used to describe men who are attracted to men, it really means being attracted to the same gender, and the term can apply to women also. 

B is bisexual, being attracted to both males and females. 

T is for transgender, which is a person who feels that the gender they were born with doesn’t match the way they feel inside, their true identity. For example, sometimes people who are born female identify as a male and vice versa. Some people feel like they do not have a gender at all (agender), and some feel that they identify with more than one gender (gender fluid or nonbinary).

Q means queer or questioning. Queer describes anyone who is not heterosexual (attracted only to the opposite sex) and cisgender (identifying as the gender you were born with). Questioning is when you don’t exactly know your gender identity or romantic preferences.

Plus refers to all the other categories that are not specifically covered by LGBTQ. 

Now, let’s talk about pronouns.

A pronoun is a word that stands in for a noun. Some examples are I, you, he, she, it, and they. A person might choose a pronoun to match the gender they identify with. “They” is often used when someone is nonbinary or agender. Pronouns are a personal choice, so the best thing to do is just ask someone what they want to be called.

Sometimes it can be confusing to use new pronouns for a person you have known for a long time, and it can be awkward to use “they” to refer to a single person. But it is worth taking the time and trouble to make someone feel like they are respected. 

This brings me to another important term: ally. That is someone who may be heterosexual and cisgendered but tries to support, encourage, and stand up for people who identify as LGBTQ+. 

One of the last things that I would like to bring up is how the LQBTQ+ community is getting much more attention. Not that long ago, people never really talked about how they might feel when it comes to sexual orientation and gender orientation. Now the LGBTQ+ community has so much more recognition. We have TV shows that accurately portray LGBTQ+ characters! I remember growing up, watching TV shows like Family Guy, seeing a “stereotyped” gay character, and being pretty upset with how they portrayed the persona. Then I would go and watch a TV show like Steven Universe and see beautiful depictions of LGBTQ+ characters and get overwhelmed with joy from all the sweet moments characters would interact in. 

Now, here we are. The end of the article. But don’t go yet! I want to leave with some ending words. The LGBTQ+ community is huge! All the stuff that I said is just at the tip of the iceberg and it is evolving all the time. So remember, if you don’t know something, it’s OK! 

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