LGBTQ2IA+ Identities

Updated May 20th, 2016

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Acronyms are common when talking about sexual orientation and gender identity. Some popular ones include LGBTQ+, LGBTQQ2IIA, BLG, and GLBTTQPAAI. There are many more variations of this ‘alphabet soup’ out there, and none of them are 100% inclusive. You may see GSD used throughout this blog, which is an acronym for gender and sexually diverse. Right now, however, we like LGBTQ2IA+.

Below you will find definitions for identities that correspond to the letters in some of the more lengthy versions.

It is important to note that these definitions are merely a starting point. Identity labels are words that we use to help describe ourselves and how we experience the world around us. They mean different things to different people, and what might fit one person may not fit another. One person may subscribe to one identity label, another may subscribe to none, while yet another person subscribes to many. It is also important to note that these terms are based on Western ideas and may not be reflective of the views of different cultures.

These tables are not exhaustive – there are many other labels and non-labels that individuals use to describe themselves.

Sexual & Romantic Orientations

Identity Type Possible Meaning Synonym(s)/Slang
Notes
two-spirit sexual
romantic
an indigenous person who is not straight and/or cis 2-spirit
can be stand-alone, or umbrella term for those below; to be used by indigenous people
queer sexual
romantic
does not conform to normative sexual, romantic, and/or gender labels can be stand-alone, or umbrella term for those below; to be used with caution (self-identify)
a-__________ sexual
romantic
does not or rarely experiences __________ attraction “ace” (asexual)
can be stand-alone, or umbrella term for those below
     gray-_______ asexual
aromantic
sometimes experiences __________ attraction “gray-A”
“gray-ace” (gray-asexual)
     demi-______ sexual
romantic
experiences __________ attraction after developing a strong bond
allo-__________ sexual
romantic
experiences __________ attraction not an LGBTQ2IA+ identity, but included for context
mono-________ sexual
romantic
experiences __________ attraction towards one gender can be stand-alone, or umbrella term for those below
     auto-_______ sexual
romantic
experiences __________ attraction towards/satisfaction from oneself
     homo-______ sexual
romantic
experiences __________ attraction towards the same gender(s) gay
lesbian
outdated
poly-_________ sexual
romantic
experiences __________ attraction towards multiple genders multi-
spectra-
can be stand-alone, or umbrella term for those below
     bi-_______ sexual
romantic
experiences __________ attraction towards the same and opposite genders bi
     tri-_______ sexual
romantic
experiences __________ attraction towards three genders, or the same and opposite genders and oneself
     skolio-______ sexual
romantic
experiences __________ attraction towards non-binary genders cetero-to be used by other non-binary people
     andro-______ sexual
romantic
experiences __________ attraction towards masculinity
     gyne-______ sexual
romantic
experiences __________ attraction towards femininity
     pan-_______ sexual
romantic
experiences __________ attraction towards all genders/regardless of gender omni-
fluid sexual
romantic
a fluctuating mix of ‘options’/identities
pomo-________ sexual
romantic
avoids labels for __________ attraction, as they are restrictive or inadequate

Gender Identities

Identity Possible Meaning Synonym(s)/Slang
Notes
two-spirit an indigenous person who is not straight and/or cis 2-spirit
can be stand-alone, or umbrella term for those below; to be used by indigenous people
queer does not conform to normative sexual, romantic, and/or gender labels can be stand-alone, or umbrella term for those below; to be used with caution (self-identify)
cisgender gender identity matches biological sex not an LGBTQ2IA+ identity, but included for context
transgender gender identity does not match biological sex trans
can be stand-alone, or umbrella term for those below
genderqueer gender identity is outside the binary of woman and man, and/or woman andman, or neither woman or man can be stand-alone, or umbrella term for those below
third gender neither woman or man a categorisation rather than gender identity
     non-binary gender identity is neither woman or man can be stand-alone, or umbrella term for those below
          demigender partial connection to a gender identity (i.e. demigirl, demiboy, etc.)
          pangender gender identity includes all possible genders, even those yet to be known
     androgyne gender identity includes both woman and man
     agender doesn’t identify with any gender genderless
gendervoid
     neutrois gender neutral
     genderfluid gender moves between two or more identities
     genderflux a varying sense of gender intensity
polygender experiences more than one gender identity multigender
can be stand-alone, or umbrella term for those below
     bigender experiences two gender identities
     trigender experiences three gender identities

Other Terms

Term Type Possible Meaning Synonym(s)/Slang
Notes
ally process someone who supports LGBTQ2IA+ people and their civil rights, aims to create safer spaces, and learns about how systems of oppression impact society not an LGBTQ2IA+ identity; a label given by a member of the LGBTQ2IA+ community (in this case)
androgynous physical aesthetic has elements of masculinity and femininity
intersex biological sex reproductive or sexual anatomy doesn’t fit that of female or male sex categories may be used as an umbrella term for a range of medical conditions, or as an identity

OUTline’s Perspective on Identities and Labels

OUTline recognizes that the very nature of queer identities is that they are difficult to define and that this is often argued to be an essential aspect queerness. From time to time, OUTline will vary the language we use in keeping with the concept of fluid identities and context-specific discourse.

Sexual and gender diversity includes, but is not limited to: lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, two-spirit, intersex and asexual, among many others.

We oppose the hierarchical arrangement of these identities, though we recognize that in our society power is differentially ascribed based on perceived identity. We similarly seek to challenge categorization of identities and the creation of discrete or imposed boundaries that limit individuals’ choices, freedoms, abilities or aspirations. We acknowledge that enumerating labels is unavoidable at times but that it also propagates the notion that people/identities can be captured in discrete categories or pigeonholes.

We further acknowledge that the term ‘queer’ is used by some as a verbal short-hand to represent our communities and is a source of empowerment for some, but that it is also problematic because it renders differences as invisible and alienates some members of our communities because of its historical (and sometimes current) hurtful uses.

What’s your perspective?

How do you refer to the queer and trans community? Who’s a part of it? Have you heard of other identities not listed here?

Let us know in the comments!

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