Sexual orientations and gender identities that aren’t heterosexual or cisgender- are often described by the acronym LGBTQ2S+. It stands for:
L – Lesbian: a female-identified person who is physically and emotionally attracted to other females.
G – Gay: a male-identified person who is physically and emotionally attracted to other males. Gay is also used as a broad term to describe people attracted to someone of the same gender.
B – Bisexual/Bi: a person who is physically and emotionally attracted to people of more than one gender and who identifies as bisexual (bi).
T – Transgender/Trans: people who identify with a gender that is different from the gender they were assigned at birth.
People whose gender identity falls outside of the gender binary (the idea that there are only two genders — male and female) may also call themselves Trans.
Since Trans is a word used to describe identity, a person has to identify with the term for it to be applicable. No one else can decide if a person is or isn’t Trans.
Other terms to describe a gender identity that may be preferred by some people include genderqueer, gender fluid and androgynous.
Trans is not a sexual orientation — it’s a gender identity. “T” (for transgender/trans) is grouped with the sexual orientations in LGBTQ2S+ for many reasons, including shared civil and human rights activism and similar experiences of discrimination.
Q – Queer: queer is a broad term that includes all sexual orientations and gender identities within the LGBTQ2S+ community, including those who don’t identify with any other identity in LGBTQ2S+.
The term queer can be both positive and negative. Historically, queer was used as an insult, but it has been reclaimed by the LGBTQ2S+ community to self-identify in a positive way.
Q – Questioning: some people may feel unsure about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. They may describe themselves as questioning. They may be questioning until they identify with a particular identity or continue to be questioning throughout their lives.
Two-Spirit (2 Spirit or 2S): a person with both a feminine and a masculine spirit living in the same body. It’s an important term within some Indigenous cultures and some Indigenous people use it to describe their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or spiritual identity.