What does LGBTIQ+ mean?

LGBTIQ+ (​​Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans/Transgender, Intersex, Queer/Questioning and others) refers to a broad coalition of groups that are diverse with respect to gender and sexual orientation. We would like to recognize that the various populations represented by ‘L’, ‘G’, ‘B’, ‘T’, ‘I’ and ‘+’ are in fact distinct groups. For more information on each group check out the terminology page here (link to terminology or use the terminology below in this section)

These terms are explained in more detail below.

What terms are commonly used?


A bisexual person is romantically and/or sexually attracted to people of their own gender and other genders.


A gay person is romantically and/or sexually attracted to people of the same sex and/or gender as themselves. This term can be used to describe men who are attracted to other men but some women and gender diverse people may describe themselves as gay.


Intersex people are born with atypical natural variations to physical or biological sex characteristics such as variations in chromosomes, hormones or anatomy. Being intersex is a naturally occurring variation in humans.


A lesbian woman is one who is romantically, sexually and/or emotionally attracted to women.


A person who is non-binary is someone whose gender is not exclusively female or male.

Transgender or Trans

A transgender person is someone whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans can be used as an umbrella term, but not everyone uses it to describe themselves.


Queer is often used as an umbrella term for diverse genders or sexualities. Some people use queer to describe their own gender and/or sexuality if other terms do not fit. For some people, especially older LGBTIQ people, ‘queer’ has negative connotations, because in the past it was used as a derogatory term.


Those who are questioning are in the process of their gender identity, expression, and/or sexual orientation. Some people may also use this term to name their identity within the LGBTQIA community.


The plus sign is a symbol of the inclusiveness of the LGBTI community which welcomes and accepts anyone who classes themselves as diverse, regardless of whether they identify with a specific group within the acronym.

Is it necessary to have such a long acronym?

While the individual letters represent distinct groups, what brings the LGBTIQ+ community together is the safe space they have created for each other as they have historically been pushed to the fringes of society. As such it is important that each group is valued and shown to be distinct as they have traditionally been ignored or erased by mainstream society.

What is an Ally?

An ally is a heterosexual and cis-gendered person who supports the right to equality for the LGBTIQ+ community and stands up to discrimination when they see or hear it happen. The term Ally is as a verb and not just a noun as it is a description of the actions taken rather than something someone calls themselves.

What is coming out?

Coming out is a term for an LGBTIQ+ people’s self-disclosure of their sexual orientation or gender identity. For some this can be a very traumatic or anxious experience in their life as each person they disclose this information to can react differently. When someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity is disclosed by someone else without the LGBTIQ+ person’s permission, this is called being ‘outed’ and can cause significant stress and harm to the LGBTIQ+ person. Outing someone without their permission is a form of abuse.

What does Cis Gendered mean?

Cis gendered is the term for someone whose gender identity is aligned with the gender they are assigned at birth. For example, a person who was born female and identifies as female is considered cis gendered. Cis gendered people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or any other variation of sexual identity as gender identity and sexual identity are two separate aspects of someone’s identity.

What are gender pronouns?

Pronouns are one way people refer to each other and themselves. Most but not all men (including trans men) use the pronoun ‘he’. Likewise, most but not all women (including trans women) use the pronoun ‘she’. Some people use a genderneutral pronoun such as ‘they’ (e.g., “Pip drives their car to work. They don’t like walking because it takes them too long”).

If you’re unsure what someone’s pronoun is, you can ask them respectfully, and preferably privately.

Use a question like “Can I ask what pronoun you use?”. Do not ask “What pronoun do you prefer?”. A person’s pronoun and identity are not a preference. Instead, just ask what pronoun they use.

Some people’s pronouns may be context-specific. For example, someone might not use their pronoun in a particular environment or around particular people because they do not feel safe or comfortable to do so

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