A guide to queer vocabulary
June was Pride Month, a time for celebration and political activism among the LGBT community and its allies. In August many local events are being held to celebrate and educate on this topic and its allies. In Aylmer, the August 20 event at the Aydelu Centre is a major local event. In Ottawa and Gatineau, other events are being held August 21. Although LGBT is a common shorthand, you’ll often see the acronym extended to LGBTQIA2S+. Here are brief definitions of the terms denoted by these symbols, with the understanding that this vocabulary is nuanced and fluid.
Lesbian. A person who identifies as female and is sexually and/or emotionally attracted to other individuals who identify as female.
Gay. A person who identifies as male and is sexually and/or emotionally attracted to other individuals who identify as male. The term can also be used to refer to anyone who’s attracted to people of the same gender.
Bisexual. A person who is sexually and/or emotionally attracted to people of the same gender and people of another gender.
Transgender. A person whose gender identity differs from the gender they were assigned at birth. Often abbreviated to “trans,” this term can refer to people who have or haven’t transitioned socially and/or physically.
Queer. An umbrella term for anyone who isn’t heterosexual and/or who doesn’t identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. The “Q” can also stand for “questioning.” This refers to a person who is exploring or unsure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Intersex. A person born with reproductive or sexual characteristics that differ from the physical traits typically associated with being male or female. Asexual. A person who experiences little or no sexual attraction, or who only experiences sexual attraction under specific circumstances.
Two-spirit. An Indigenous person who embodies both a masculine and feminine spirit. Two-spirit (2S) can also be used as an umbrella term for gender variance among Indigenous cultures.
The + symbol encompasses people of all other sexual orientations and gender identities. It’s also a reminder that sexual, romantic and gender identities are complex and often fluid. Each individual is the only person who can determine their inclinations and how they identify.