Queer 101: An Intro to the 2SLGBTQ+ Community
What Does LGBTQ Mean?
The term LGBT is an initialism used to refer to the non-heterosexual and/or non-cisgender individuals, topics and communities.
Over time the term has evolved to include a 'Q' for Queer and a '+' in LGBTQ+ in order to be more inclusive and acknowledge that there are varying identities. It's also common to see LGBT2Q+, the '2' representing Two-Spirit identity used by some Indigenous peoples.
What Does Queer Mean?
Over the years this term has meant a few things and unfortunately, it hasn't always been good, but the term has evolved, today Queer is used as an umbrella term to refer to the entire LGBT2SQQIAAP community.
Queer is one word, one syllable meant to include all the unique and diverse individuals who make up this community.
We chose to use Queer because one of QE's top priorities is to ensure we are connecting and building a stronger community and we cannot do that without ensuring everyone is included, not just the 'LGBT' members.
What do all the letters in LGBT2Q+ mean?
A woman who is attracted only to other women.
A woman who is emotionally, physically, spiritually and/or sexually attracted to women.
A male who is attracted to other men
A sexual orientation referring to a male person whose primary attraction is to other male folks
This is NOT an appropriate term to refer the the entire LBGT2Q+ community.
'Gay' should only be used when referring only to male folks who are attracted to other males.
A person who is romantically or sexually attracted to more than one gender.
A person who has the capacity to have physical, romantic, and/or emotional attractions to those of the same gender, or to those of another gender.
A bisexual identity does not necessarily equate to equal sexual attraction to only two sexes; commonly, people who have a distinct but not exclusive sexual preference for one sex over the other also identify themselves as bisexual.
denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.
An umbrella term used for people whose gender identity is not in harmony with their birth assignment, either wholly or partially, or who experience their gender identity as radically different from what is expected of a "man" or "woman." It includes but is not limited to people who identify as transgender, trans woman, trans man, transsexual, gender non-conforming, gender variant or gender queer. There are many communities that live under this umbrella and there is no single or universal experience of what it means to be trans.
Two-spirit is a First Nations identity of person who has both a masculine and a feminine spirit.
A cultural and spiritual identity used by some First Nations peoples to describe having both masculine and feminine spirits. For some, Two-Spirit describes a societal and spiritual role that people played within traditional societies, as mediators, keepers of certain ceremonies, transcending accepted roles of men and women, and filling a role as an established middle gender.
The term is a translation of the Anishinaabemowin term niizh manidoowag, two spirits. The use of these terms by people who are not descendants of the First Nations is considered cultural appropriation.
The use of these terms by people who are not descendants of the First Nations is considered cultural appropriation.
A term to that includes everyone and all identities under the magical lgbt2q+ rainbow. This is our favorite way to refer to the entire LGBTT2QQIAAP community.
An umbrella term used proudly by some people to identify themselves as members of the lesbian, gay, bi, and/or trans communities or cultures.
Occasionally used by someone who wishes to defy gender or sexual restrictions.
Someone who is not so sure they are the standard type heterosexual.
A period where a person explores their own sexual and/or gender identity, reflecting on such things as upbringing, expectations from others, and inner landscape. The person may not be certain if s/he is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or trans and may be trying to figure out how to identify themselves.
A person whose physical parts cannot easily be distinguished as either male or female.
Intersex people are born with sex characteristics (including genitals, gonads and chromosome patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies. Some intersex persons may be assigned and raised as a girl or boy but then identify with another gender later in life, while most continue to identify with their assigned sex.
A person who does not feel the need to have sex very often, if at all
A sexual orientation that refers to a person who experiences little or no sexual attraction and who chooses to call themselves asexual.
Asexuality exists on a continuum from people who experience no attraction or desire for sexual activities, to those who experience low levels, or only under specific conditions will they experience sexual attractions.
Ace is a common term used by individuals to refer to themselves as on identity that falls within asexuality.
Agender is a term which can be literally translated as 'without gender'. It can be seen either as a non-binary gender identity or as a statement of not having a gender identity.
A person with no (or very little) connection to the traditional system of gender, no personal alignment with the concepts of either man or woman, and/or someone who sees themselves as existing without gender. Can also refer to a person whose gender identity is genderless or neutral
Someone who finds themselves attracted to people from all the different genders.
A person who has romantic or sexual attractions to people of any gender identity (both binary and non-binary).
What's the difference between Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation?
When getting to know the queer community, it is important to understand the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity. Sexual Orientation can be thought of as how we label and express our preference or attractions for sexual partners whereas gender identity is how we feel and express our own gender whether male, female, variant or as having none at all.
Each person’s internal and individual experience of gender. It is a person’s sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither or anywhere on the gender spectrum. This sense of self is separate from biological sex assigned at birth and is not related to sexual orientation. Since gender identity is internal, it is not necessarily visible to others.
Toward whom a person’s sexual desires and drives are oriented – toward only women, or only men, or nobody, or irrespective of gender. It is separate and independent from a person’s gender identity. It can be fluid over time. The identity a person uses to describe their sexual orientation may not reflect their sexual behaviours.
Queer Events Workshops & Sensitivity Training
Increase your teams LGBT2Q+ Awareness & Sensitivity with QE
What does Trans mean?
An umbrella term for people whose gender identity is not in harmony with their birth assignment. Often includes people who identify as transgender, trans woman, trans man, gender non-conforming or gender variant.
Respect Trans Folks
- Don't assume gender based solely on physical appearance.
- Ask what pronouns are preferred and be sure to use that pronoun.
- Use my preferred name in conversation and when introducing me.
- Don't ask about my body parts...it's not cool!
- Make an effort to use gender neutral language in your everyday conversions. This is very cool!
Individuals from the queer community can be found everywhere. In workplaces, social settings, classrooms, grocery stores, literally everywhere. It's important to make sure we all do our part to be respectful to everyone.
- Accept everyone within the complex and vibrant LGBT2Q+ community. We are all individuals with equal rights.
- Don't ask ridiculous questions about how our relationships work.
- Don't ask us to hide our queerness, your discomfort does not trump our right to exist. We're people too!
- We are not here for your amusement, please no jokes, stereotypes, costumes or insults.
Coming Out & Finding Support
What is Coming Out?
The process of revealing one's sexuality or gender identity with themselves or others.
There is no one way to come out, it happens when the time is right and the person is ready.
Connect with PFLAG
PFLAG offers support for anyone who is going through or struggling with the coming out process. Most PFLAG chapters offer monthly support groups.
PFLAG is a safe space for queers and allies.
Join A LGBT2Q+ Group
It doesn't matter if you're new or a long time member, connecting with other people who share our experiences is important for all of us.
Find a social or support group that's right for you and connect with your queer community.
Connect with Resources
There are a number of community resources and organizations accessible to the queer community.
The QE Resource Hub will help you find anything from health services, support groups to student and campus resources.
Learn About Queer Canadian History
The Journey to Equal Rights & Acceptance
Equal rights for LGBT2Q+ individuals is a long and ongoing journey. Our battle for rights and acceptance is rooted in aggression, discrimination, raids and riots.
Learn about the important milestones in our Canadian Pride HistoryQueer History
Food for Queers
Stay Safe. Not Hungry
Providing support for 2SLGBTQ+ folks experiencing food insecurities within the city of London