WHAT IS LGBTQIA+?

At TOSOS, we both recognize and celebrate all different kinds of gender expressions, identities, and sexual orientations. In recent years, more and more classifications of these orientations and identities are coming to light. For those who may be wondering exactly how they fit into the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, we wanted to take a moment and offer a little help and clarification. While new classifications and identities are being discovered, this is by no means a complete and comprehensive list, but we do hope that it helps to bring members of our community and our allies a bit more understanding.

WHAT EXACTLY IS "LGBTQIA+"?

"LGBTQIA+" is the more commonly used term in the community; possibly because it is the most "user-friendly." However, you may also hear the terms “Queer Community” or “Rainbow Community” used to describe LGBTQIA+ people.

People often use LGBTQIA+ to mean all of the communities included in the LGBTTTQQIAA with the "+" addressing the growing list of classifications:

Lesbian

Gay

Bisexual

Transgender
Transsexual
Two-Spirit
Queer
Questioning
Intersex
Asexual
Ally

+ Pansexual

+ Aromantic

+ Pangender

+ Bigender

+ Agender

+ Gender Variant

+ Gender Queer

We invite you to use the glossary to the right to better define and understand these terms. Please note that this initialism and the various terms are always evolving.

Be You

WHAT ABOUT PRONOUNS?

Pronouns may not seem like that big a deal, but they become a bigger deal when you try to live without them. And for some people, pronouns are a big deal because other folks don’t always use the correct pronouns to describe them. Some people use gender-neutral or gender-inclusive pronouns when talking to or about them.

Some commonly used pronouns are:

SUBJECTIVE

She

He

They
Ze

OBJECTIVE

Her

Him

They
Zir/Hir

POSSESSIVE

Hers

His

Theirs
Zirs/Hirs

REFLEXIVE

Herself

Himself

Themself
Zirself/Hirself

Please note that these are not the only pronouns. There is an infinite number of pronouns as new ones emerge in our language. The only surefire way to be sure that you are using the correct pronouns is by asking someone, "What are your pronouns?" Another way would be to introduce yourself and sharing your pronouns as well. For example: “My name is Jasmine, my pronouns are ‘she’ and ‘her’.”

However, just like sexual orientation, a person’s gender identity can be a very personal and private thing. No one should ever feel pressured to share how they identify. We should also remember that the idea of pronouns and gender-neutral or gender-inclusive language will be a new concept to a lot of folks and that mistakes will happen. If this should happen to you, apologize, correct your mistake, and make a sincere effort to remember next time. 

The most important thing to remember with both sexual orientation and gender identity is to be respectful of the language you use when referring to people.

Drag Queen in Purple Outfit

GLOSSARY

LESBIAN: A female homosexual: a female who experiences romantic love or sexual attraction to other females.

GAY: A term that primarily refers to a homosexual person or the trait of being homosexual. The term gay is often used to describe homosexual males but lesbians may also be referred to as gay.

BISEXUAL: A romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior toward both males and females, or romantic sexual attraction to people of any sex or gender identity; this latter aspect is sometimes termed "pansexuality".

TRANSGENDER: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. It is sometimes abbreviated to "trans".

TRANSSEXUAL: A person whose bodily characteristics differ from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth having been altered through surgery or hormone treatment to bring them into alignment with their gender identity.

TWO-SPIRIT: A modern umbrella term used by some indigenous North Americans to describe gender-variant individuals in their communities, specifically people within indigenous communities who are seen as having both male and female spirits within them.

QUEER: An umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual or cisgender. Queer was originally used pejoratively against those with same-sex desires but, beginning in the late-1980s, queer scholars and activists began to reclaim the word.

QUESTIONING: The questioning of one's gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, or all three is a process of exploration by people who may be unsure, still exploring, and concerned about applying a social label to themselves for various reasons.

INTERSEX: A variation in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, or genitals that do not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as male or female.

ASEXUAL: Asexuality (or nonsexuality) is the lack of sexual attraction to anyone, or low or absent interest in sexual activity. It may be considered the lack of a sexual orientation, or one of the variations thereof, alongside heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality.

ALLY: A person who considers themselves a friend to the LGBTQ+ community.

PANSEXUAL: Pansexuality (or omnisexuality) is sexual attraction, romantic love, or emotional attraction toward people of any sex or gender identity. Pansexual people may refer to themselves as gender blind, asserting that gender and sex are insignificant or irrelevant in determining whether they will be sexually attracted to others.

AGENDER: Agender people (also called genderless, genderfree, non-gendered, or ungendered people) are those who identify as having no gender or being without any gender identity. This category includes a very broad range of identities which do not conform to traditional gender norms.

GENDER QUEER: An umbrella term for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine; identities which are just outside of their gender binary and cisnormativity.

BIGENDER: A gender identity where the person moves between feminine and masculine gender identities and behaviors, possibly depending on context. Some bigender individuals expressed two distinct "female" and "male" personas, feminine and masculine respectively; others find that they identify as to genders simultaneously.

GENDER VARIANT: Gender variance (or gender nonconformity) is behavior or gender expression by an individual that does not match masculine and feminine gender norms. People who exhibit gender variance may be called gender variant, gender non-conforming, gender diverse, or gender atypical, and may be transgender, or otherwise variant in their gender expression. Some intersex people may also exhibit gender variance.

PANGENDER: Those who feel they identify as all genders. The term has a great deal of overlap with "gender queer". Because of its all-encompassing nature, presentation and pronoun usage varies between different people who identify as pangender.