Defining LGBTQIA+

iThe term LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. It includes both sexual orientation (LGB) and gender identity (T). Through the years, the LGBT community has been growing and striving for inclusivity, and is now referred to as LGBTQIA+. Here’s a breakdown of that these letters represent.

(L) Lesbian

Women who are romantically, emotionally, and/or sexually attracted to other women.

(G) Gay

Men who are romantically, emotionally, and/or sexually attracted to other men.

(B) Bisexual

Individuals who are romantically or sexually attracted to both men and women.

(T) Transgender

Transgender is an umbrella term for individuals who identify differently from the gender which they were assigned at birth.

(Q) Queer

Individuals whose gender identity (the gender they identify with most) isn’t fixed. It can change over time or from day-to-day.

(Q) Questioning

Sometimes, when the Q is seen at the end of LGBT, it can also mean questioning. This term describes someone who’s still questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity.

(I) Intersex

Individuals who are born with biological traits, such as hormonal levels or genitalia, that don’t match what’s typically identified as male or female. Being intersex is a naturally occurring trait in humans.

(A) Asexual

Asexuality (or non-sexuality) is the lack of sexual attraction to anyone, or low or absent interest in any sexual activity.

(A) Ally

Allies are people who identify as cisgender and heterosexual (straight), but who advocate for the social and legal equality for the LGBTQIA+ community.


Individuals whose gender identity matches the sex a healthcare provider assigned them at birth. For example, a male who’s cisgender will identify as a man, and a female who’s cisgender will identify as a woman.

These are just some of the many terms that are used to define sexual orientation, as well as gender identity and expression. Remember not to impose any of these terms onto others based on assumptions. It’s important to let others identify themselves in ways that make them feel safe and are authentic to their true selves – this is what being a true ally means.

If you or someone you know is having a hard time defining sexuality or gender identity, it’s a good idea to talk to someone about it. You can look for support groups online or visit a few websites that offer advice, such as OUT wellbeing and PFlag South Africa – Same Love

If you or a friend need advice or help regarding challenges and stigma, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)