What does LGBTQIA+ mean?

You might have heard people talk about being gay or lesbian or using the acronym LGBTQIA+. 

These words are about sexuality (who you are attracted to) and identity (who you are and how you see yourself). So, when we use these words, we are talking about something very personal and important.

LGBTQIA+ stands for:

  • Lesbian: This is a woman who is attracted to other women emotionally, romantically, physically, and/or sexually.
  • Gay: Is a label or identity term for a person who is emotionally, romantically, and/or physically attracted to people of the same sex (e.g. gay man, gay women, gay people)
  • Bisexual: This is when someone is attracted to someone of the same and opposite sex on various levels emotionally, physically, intellectually, and sexually
  • Transgender: This is when someone’s gender identity (feeling like a man or a woman inside) does not match their biological sex). Transgender people can be heterosexual (straight), bisexual or homosexual (having romantic, sexual, intellectual, and intimate feelings towards people of the same sex).
  • Queer or Questioning: “Queer” is a word sometimes used by people who don’t fit into society’s ideas of sex, attraction, and gender identity, so it can mean many different things. Some people don’t like to use the word since it has often been used to hurt people. “Questioning” means that someone is still figuring out their sexuality.
  • Intersex: This is when someone has some male and some female reproductive organs or hormones.
  • Asexual: This is when someone doesn’t feel sexually attracted to others.
  • The + is a way to include all identities and sexualities who don’t fit into these labels.

A person’s sexuality and identity are their own business, and we’re allowed to talk about our own sexuality as much or as little as we want to. It’s important to respect other people’s sexuality and identity – the South African Constitution says we should not treat people differently because of their sexuality. All people should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of who they love or who they are Want to understand more when it comes to sex, identity, gender, and attraction? Read this article.

Are you wondering whether you should come out about your sexuality? Read this article

When people talk about their sex, their gender, their identity, or their attraction, they are talking about different things. Learn about what these mean here

Wondering what the difference between love and sex is? Check out this article

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