Our rainbow acronym
The LGBTQIA2S+ acronym (or LGBTQ+ for short) provides an overview of different gender and sexuality identities. Some letters, like L for Lesbian, refer to a person's romantic/sexual preferences, while others, like T for Trans, refer to a person's gender identity or expression. See the list below for a summary of some of these identity descriptors.
L is for Lesbian
The term lesbian is usually used by individuals who identify as women to describe their attraction (emotional, romantic, or sexual) to other individuals who identify as women.
G is for Gay
The term gay is usually used by individuals who identify as men to describe their attraction (emotional, romantic, or sexual) to other individuals who identify as men.
Gay is sometimes used in a more general way to refer to individuals who are not heterosexual.
B is for Bisexual
The preferred definition for bisexual, according to the Bisexual Resource Center, is any individual who experiences attraction to members of their same gender, or other genders (this includes more than just men-identifying and women-identifying individuals!)
T is for Trans, or Transgender
When we were all born, we were assigned a sex. For many of us, that was it. If you identify as your assigned sex your whole life, you can call yourself "cisgender".
Trans folk do not identify exclusively with the sex they were assigned at birth. The term "trans" encompasses many gender identities that would not be considered cisgender.
Q is for Queer
Queer is term with a complicated history. Used as a harmful slur many decades, it has now been reclaimed by many folk, and is now used as an 'umbrella' term to include anyone of marginalized gender identities and sexual orientations (so those who are not cisgender and/or heterosexual).
I is for Intersex
Intersex folk have some variation in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, or genitals that do not allow them to be distinctly identified as male or female.
It is important to note that there is some discussion on whether or not to include intersex in the rainbow acronym. For more on this discussion, check out this article from the Intersex Initiative.
The 'I' is included in this acronym so that we can use our platform to advocate for intersex folk.
A is for Asexual
Asexual individuals have little to no sexual attraction to others, regardless of gender. Asexual AKA 'Ace' folk can still be in partnerships or romantic relationships, and will express their love in non-sexual ways.
2S is for Two-Spirit
Here in Okotoks we live on Treaty 7 land, home to the Blackfoot. LGBTQ+ people existed in all indigenous cultures throughout history. Some of these tribes had unique names for these people, but two-spirit is a common umbrella term to describe queer First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people from Turtle Island. For some of these individuals, two-spirit can specifically refer to an indigenous person with both feminine and masculine spirits.
Who else is included?
There are even more gender and sexuality identities than those described above!
Like P, for Pansexual: those who can be attracted to anyone, of any gender (and agender and non-binary people too!)
Or A, for Agender: those who have no gender or do not identify with any gender.
And genderqueer: an umbrella term for individuals who do not identify with the feminine or masculine gender binary.
There is also NB for Non-Binary: NB (or "enby") individuals do not identify as either male or female, but rather outside of the gender binary. Non-binary people may or may not also identify as trans.
And there is still more! Check out this more detailed definition list if you are looking for more information on gender and sexuality identities.