What Is LGBTQ+?

LGBTQ+ is an umbrella term for a wide spectrum of gender identities, sexual orientations and romantic orientations that experience discrimination.


This stands for ‘lesbian’ – women who are exclusively attracted to other women.


This stands for ‘gay’. It can refer specifically to men who are exclusively attracted to other men, it can refer to anyone who is attracted to the same gender, or it can be used as an umbrella term to encompass all LGBTQ+ people. While some people may be happy to be grouped under gay as an umbrella term, others may feel it sidelines other identities, so please be careful not to refer to people or groups as gay without their permission.


This stands for ‘bi*’, which refers to both bisexual and biromantic. The star is there to indicate that other identities can be grouped under bi, such as pan, but it should be recognised that these are independent identities rather than subsections of bi.


Trans* is an umbrella term for people who don’t identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. The star is there to indicate that non-binary identities are included under the umbrella.


Queer can be a useful term for those who are questioning their identities and are unsure about using more specific terms, or those who simply don’t wish to label themselves and prefer to use a broader umbrella term. It may also be helpful for people who identify as multiple identities within LGBTQ+, as they can refer to themselves as queer rather than listing multiple identities.

Queer can also encompass identities that aren’t LGBT+ in cases where people feel they do not fit within typical straight, cis, monogamous norms.


The plus is there to recognise that many identities are not explicitly represented by the letters, including (but not limited to) intersex, asexual, and aromantic.