LGBTQ2+ : The Ultimate Q&A Guide

The Comprehensive FAQ on LGBT / LGBTQ Definitions, Meanings, and resources online

In this guide, you will read about the most popular and most-asked questions about LGBTQ and LGBTQ2+.

What does LGBTQ / LGBTQ2+ / LGBTQQIP2SAA stand for ?

The LGBT or LGBTQ or LGBTQ2+ or “LGBTQ2 Plus” full acronym stands for

  • L = Lesbian
  • G = Gay
  • B = Bisexual
  • T = Transgender or Trans-identified
  • Q = Queer
  • 2 = Two – Spirits
  • + = an inclusive representation of all the other identities ex. Non-Binary, Pansexual, Asexual and Intersex

LGBTQQIP2SAA full acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex, pansexual, two-spirit (2S), androgynous and asexual

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Here are the meanings of LGBT or LGBTQ or LGBTQ2+ or “LGBTQ2 Plus”

  • The meaning of L in LGBTQ2+ is Lesbian (a woman who likes woman)
  • The meaning of G in LGBTQ2+ is Gay (a person attracted to someone of the same gender – can be used by anybody but most commonly used for a man who likes another man)
  • The meaning of B in LGBTQ2+ is Bisexual (someone who’s attracted to their own and other genders)
  • The meaning of T in LGBTQ2+ is Transgender or Trans-identified (a person whose gender identity is different from sex on their birth certificate)
  • The meaning of Q in LGBTQ2+ is Queer (an umbrella term used to cover the entire/the broad range of LGBTQ2+ community). Sometimes it can be used as a short form to refer to being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgender.
  • The meaning of 2 in LGBTQ2+ is Two – Spirits (identity used by indigenous people – a person who believes they have both male and female spirits within them)
  • The meaning of + in LGBTQ2+ is a plus – an inclusive representation of all the other identities ex. Non-Binary, Pansexual, Asexual and Intersex. There are many identities out there and are constantly evolving.

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Cisgender meaning and referring to someone who identifies as the sex/gender at birth. Learn more the Best diversity and Inclusion best practices.

Agender refers to someone who identifies has having no gender

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Pansexual meaning and refers to someone who is attracted to people of all genders and sexes.

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The meaning of Asexual refers to someone who has little or no sexual attraction to others. Someone who identifies themselves as  not having a sexual orientation.

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Transsexual is an outdated term that one shouldn’t use. It was once used to describe someone whose gender was different from sex assigned at birth. It was used to describe someone who seeks medical surgery to change their sexed body.

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How to be a LGBT Ally at work?

Being an ally of the LGBT communities means you can be of any gender identity and/or sexual orientation and be a supportive, respectful and inclusive of the wide spectrum of LGBTQ2+ communities.

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Gay pride can be viewed as exclusive. LGBTQ2+ pride is a more inclusive term to use.

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Sexual Orientation refers to the sexual attraction to someone of the opposite, same or both sex or gender. Ex. heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality, asexuality.

Sexual orientations can be targets of discrimination not only from outside of the LGBTQ2+ community but also from within. When we plan and implement LGBTQ2+ inclusion initiatives, we must take this into consideration.

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Sexual Orientation examples include lesbian, gay, heterosexual, bisexual, asexual and pansexual.

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Gender refers to the sex that is assigned at birth. It is a sense of self – as a man, woman, non‑binary or gender-fluid person. Gender is influenced by biological characteristics and societal norms.

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Gender Fluid refers to a wide spectrum of gender identity /expression.

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Sex is usually assigned at birth (as male or female) by a medical practitioner based on external genital characteristics. It is based on biological characteristics ex. genitals, chromosomes, reproductive organs and hormones. When sexual and reproductive anatomy does not fall within the medical parameters used to assign sex as either male or female, a person may be described as intersex.

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Gender Identity refers to the gender a person thinks or perceives to be. It may or may not correlate to their assigned sex at birth. Gender Identity is a person’s internal sense of self, a self-construct not necessarily visible/obvious to others.

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Gender Expression refers to the way in which someone expresses their gender identity through ex. their manners, interests, appearance and dress.

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Romantic Orientation meaning and refers to the sex or gender with which someone is most likely to have a romantic relationship or fall in love. Romantic Orientation is considered distinct from sexual orientation.

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Heterosexual refers to someone who is attracted to people of a different sex. Heterosexual meaning is also known as “straight”. Ex. A woman liking a man. Or a man liking a woman.

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Homosexual refers to someone who is attracted to people of the same sex. Homosexual can also be expressed as “gay” or “lesbian”. Ex. A woman liking a woman. Or a man liking a man.

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Non-Binary refers to someone who perceives themselves as being outside of the “man” and “woman” categories in the society. Ex. they may identify themselves as bigender, agender or non-binary.

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Questioning refers to someone who is questioning their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression. They are typically going through identity exploration.

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Pronouns refers to how someone wishes to be addressed. Pronouns can be added to email signatures.

It is a way to express inclusiveness and being respectful for a more inclusive environment for all.

Pronouns

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The top benefits of LGBTQ2+ inclusions are:

  • Better attraction and retention of employees (and their talents)
  • Wider spectrum of perceptions, experiences, skills, and relating to the business clients to offer better services/products to generate revenue
  • Better sense of belongingness to the company
  • Better team work and employee productivity
  • More cohesive community and workforce
  • Reduced risk of liability

More in Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion

You can Implement LGBT and LGBTQ2+ inclusions in:

  • Hiring and retention
  • Policies and programs
  • Workplace culture
  • Employee support and engagement
  • Managers training
  • Employees training
  • Education and outreach
  • Client engagement and consultation
  • Client services and support
  • Company mission
  • Company commitment statement

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LGBT quick win examples are:

  • Provide safer space ex. use gender-neutral washroom signs
  • Add pronouns to email signatures
  • Start introducing yourself using pronouns in meetings and acquaintances
  • Use gender-neutral/gender-inclusive language in communication, policies/procedures, workplace forms ex. use “parent” rather than “mother/father”; use “partner” rather than “wife/husband”.
  • Remove questions around gender/sex if not needed
  • Communicate company’s Diversity & Inclusion commitment statement to all staff
  • Create resource groups/newsletters
  • Encourage pride celebrations

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The only way to tell is when someone tells you so. Never assume. Be mindful and sensitive to how you address someone.

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Here are some suggestions:

  • Try not to assume
  • Create a safe and comfortable atmosphere for someone to open up to you
  • Show that you’re comfortable with this topic
  • Show that you are supportive of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender concerns and communities
  • Build the trust and relationship
  • Let them know you are here if they’d like someone to talk to
  • Use inclusive language
  • Never ask a person what their assigned sex is at birth

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  • Simply ask respectfully Ex. I want to be respectful. What gender pronoun do you use?
  • Or a better way would be start by sharing what pronoun you use yourself Ex. You can refer me as he or him. Or .. my name is XXX. My personal pronouns are X/Y/Z. Create a safe and inclusive space for the other person to open up rather than asking!
  • Respect someone’s self- identification

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The best way to respond to homophobic jokes is to not respond to them. Not responding sends a silent message of agreement. Try to express your concern about the joke with respect. Remember your stance is not to start an argument but to enhance inclusiveness and understanding.

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Here is a list of the most important LGBT Organizations

Anti-LGBT Emojis are emoji ( as to Anti-LGBT flags) that are used to refer to anti-LGBT movement. It is strongly discourage to use such emoji in any communications. Using an Anti-LGBTQ emoji is a bad representation of equality social values.

Best LGBT / LGBTQ / LGBTQ2+ Questions Videos

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About the author

Susan R.

Sue Rice is the Diversity and Inclusion Specialist and Researcher at Diversity for Social Impact. Sue brings over 15 years of HR and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion consultation experience.
Sue's previous experience includes Microsoft, Target, and Kraft. Sue is also the manager of Diversity Leadership Directory

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