What do the letters stand for? – LGBTQ+ 101

You’ve probably heard of the abbreviation LGBT... Q, Q, I, A, A, P, 2S or some form of that. But how many of the words behind these letters do you actually understand? Most people understand the first 4, but things get a little tricky after that. So let’s start with the basics.

The definitions are from the video linked at the end of article with only minor changes made.


L - Lesbian

The term lesbian refers to a woman who is sexually attracted (mainly - editor comment) to other women.

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi


G - Gay

The term gay refers to people who are (mainly - editor comment) attracted to members of the same sex. Term is most often used for men who are attracted to other men. .

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka


B - Bisexual

A bisexual person feels sexual attraction to both men and women.

Anna Paquin Canadian-born New Zealand actress


T - Transgender

The term transgender describes a person who identifies mentally and emotionally as a gender that does not match their biological gender. It also functions as an umbrella term for trans people, including transwoman, transman (and those who can' or won't identify as 100% man or 100% woman - editor comment).

Laverne Cox, american actress

Please keep in mind that gender and sexuality are not the same. A phrase to help remember this distinction is: sexual orientation is who you go to bed with, and gender identity is who you go to bed as.


Q - Queer

This one letter actually stands for all of the letters together. It’s another umbrella term and it applies to all LGBT+ people as a whole. It is a lot shorter and easier to say than: LGBTQQ A P2S.

Some people also use Queer as a general term to identify themselves if they don’t feel that they fit into a certain letter or group.

Ilana (Broad city)


Q - Questioning

This “Q” also covers a large group. Just like it sounds, the term questioning, describes people who are wondering whether or not they belong in the Queer community, or are still questioning their gender identity or sexual preference.


I - Intersex

Intersex people are born with or developed genitals with ambiguous sexual characteristics because of chromosomal or hormonal abnormalities. Doctors will often choose a gender for intersex babies and assign that gender through surgery soon after birth. (Dangerous practice as in many cases doctors don't choose the sex fitting the gender identity of the child - editor comment)

Caster Semenya South African middle-distance runnerand 2016 Olympic gold medalist

It should also be noted that the outdated term “hermaphrodite” is considered offensive and should not be used to describe these types of people.


A - Asexual

A person who feels only romantic attraction (or sometimes not even that - editor comment), not sexual attraction towards any gender. (This is not to be confused with Agender, which describes people who identify as neither male nor female.)

Jughead Jones (Archie comics)


A - Ally

The second “A” doesn’t necessarily describes Queer people at all. An Ally is a person who supports the causes of the LGBT+ community without identifying as Queer or LGBT+ themselves. Ideally this term would include everyone in the world who isn’t LGBT+, but we are not quite there yet.

Debbie Novotny (Queer as folk)


P - Pansexual

Members of this sexuality are attracted to other people regardless of gender. This term is broader than Bisexual, which limits attraction to just male and female. Pansexuality is also often related to an attraction to another person’s personality.

Kalinda (Good wife)


2S - Two Spirits

Finally: This native American term applies to people who display both female and male qualities. Whether in their personality, sexuality or gender identity.


And that’s the Queer alphabet. Even if you don’t fit into any of these categories, we hope that you now have a better understanding of the people around you, or even yourself and can work toward being a better Ally, for Queer people throughout the world.


Transcript of the video was made by Zsófi Bártfai.

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