What exactly is LGBTQ+? How are they different from each other?
Happy Pride Month!
The month of June is all about celebrating the freedom of people being themselves within the LGBTQ+ community. Every year, the LGBTQ+ community around the world comes together for a month-long celebration of diversity, difference, love, and acceptance. To celebrate, they often gather for parades, concerts, parties, marches, workshops, and various forums of discussion in different countries. These days, more and more countries have started to celebrate the day.
June was chosen to be the pride month to commemorate the riot between the LGBTQ+ community against police incursion that took place at the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969. The clash is considered the start of the LGBTQ+ rights movement we see today.
With help from social media, the LGBTQ+ community has been getting more and more exposure in recent years. Many people who identify as part of the community usually turn to social media for experience sharing, comfort and encouragement, and possibly most importantly, to seek acceptance and equality. Despite society being seemingly open to the community, they still have many battles to fight.
Focus would like to take this opportunity to explain what LGBTQ+ is.
Before what we know or often hear today as “LGBTQ+”, the community was formerly known as “LGBT”; L stands for “Lesbian”, G for “Gay”, B for “Bisexual” and T for “Transgender”. Before the establishment of the acronym, people would describe them as the ‘gay community’. The change from the ‘gay community’ to LGBT was due to inclusion reasons.
As time goes by, the term used to refer to people with different sexual orientations and gender identities has changed. That is why the use of “LGBTQ+” emerged, which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and others.
Lesbian is used to describe women who are attracted to other women both sexually and romantically.
Gay is still sometimes used to describe people who are homosexual in general. But these days, people also use it to talk about men who are sexually and romantically attracted to other men.
Bisexual, or bi, is someone who is not always exclusively attracted to people of their own gender or other gender identities. Simply put, they are attracted sexually and romantically to both men and women. Studies found that women label themselves as bisexual more often than men.
Transgender, or trans, is someone whose gender identities do not align with their biological sex.
Queer is probably the hardest term to explain. Literally, it means ‘strange’ or ‘odd’.
Oftentimes, it is used as an umbrella term for the whole community, but this would be incorrect. The term is generally used by someone who identifies as ‘not straight’, but is unsure of their place within the community. Gender experts recommended not to address someone as ‘queer’ unless you are sure they are comfortable with it.
Questioning refers to someone who is not sure about their sexual orientation. It can be described as the process of exploring one’s true identities before labeling themselves as anything.
(+) Plus is a representation of others who identify as something outside of gender norms, but do not fall into one of the identities mentioned above.
Additional terms, which you might see or hear when people talk about the community include:
Coming out is said to explain the process of accepting one’s own sexual orientation or gender identities and sharing with others. It might not apply to sharing with everyone; you may come out to your friends, but not your family.
In the closet, in contrast with ‘coming out’, is the state when you are not necessarily accepting of your own gender identities. Some people are in denial of their gender identities, some are secure with it but are not ready to share with others.
Outing refers to when someone reveals someone’s identity to other people without their knowledge.
Intersex, according to the New York Times, is a term for someone born with biological sex characteristics that aren’t traditionally associated with male or female bodies. Intersexuality does not refer to sexual orientation or gender identity.
Homosexual is another term that use to describe someone who exclusively or close to exclusively attracted to people of their own gender.
Pansexual is people who attracted to all genders. In other words, they are attracted to someone’s quality or personality rather than what they labeled themselves to be.
Cisgender, or cis, is someone who is not transgender, which means their identified sexual gender matches their biological sex and gender.
Asexual is someone who does not sexually attracted to someone. But, they can develop romantic feelings for someone.
Demisexual refers to people who only have sexual attraction to someone they have strong emotional connection with.
This post is also available in: KH