Every year, thousands of people take to the streets to join a lively (and hella colourful) celebration of sexual individuality and liberation. That celebration is called PRIDE. You may identify as one of the LGBT+ community; you may not. Either way, how much do you actually know about it?
Do you know, for example, how many other letters are represented by the + that follows the acronym LGBT? The numbers of letters are always increasing and super flexible. There can be as many as twelve letters, but today we’re going to tell you about FIVE of them - QIAPK.
The question is: are you confident you know what they all stand for? Let’s put you to the test to see how much you really know. And if you’re like, ‘duh, of course I totally know that already,’ then excellent. That’s what we want – everyone up to speed on the huge spectrum of loves, and likes, and genders and identities out there. Cos knowledge and understanding equals a massive step towards equality. So leeeeet’s go…..
L is for LESBIAN
Lesbians are people who identify as female, who are attracted to others who identify as female.
G is for GAY
Although it’s usually used when talking about men, the word gay simply means anyone who’s attracted to people of the same sex as them.
B is for BISEXUAL
Bisexuals are people who are attracted to both the male and female sex. There’s a huge sliding scale on this one – bisexuals can fancy men a lot and women only a little; they can fancy mostly women but occasionally men. The possibilities are endless!
T is for TRANSGENDER
When a person is transgender it means that they are born a certain sex but identify as a different gender. If you’re born as the gender you identify as, then that’s known as ‘cis’. Feeling trapped in the wrong body can lead to mental health problems and a 2014 American survey said that a shocking 41% of transgender people have attempted to commit suicide.
Things are slowly changing, though, with ‘mx’ (a gender neutral title) being introduced as an option on official forms from last year. We’re also starting to see more transgender people in the public eye, with actress and activist Laverne Cox on the cover on TIME Magazine, Caitlyn Jenner getting everyone talking and Jazz Jennings starring in her very own TV show. To name just a few...
Q is for QUEER
Queer is used as a very inclusive term for anyone in the LGBT+ community. Choosing to identify as ‘queer’ can mean individuals don’t have to belong to a more specific category if they aren’t sure of their sexuality/ gender or simply don’t want any other label! Neat.
I is for INTERSEX
When someone is intersex it means they are born a certain gender but their sexual or reproductive anatomy is from the opposite sex. For example, someone who was born a woman might have genitalia that looks like a mix of both male and female genitalia… or it could be as unnoticeable as equally male and female chromosomes in their DNA.
A is for ASEXUAL
When a person is asexual it simply means that they aren’t very sexually attracted to either sex and have a generally low level of interest and desire to take part in sexual activities.
P is for PANSEXUAL
When someone is pansexual it means they are attracted to people regardless of their gender. They are attracted to individuals rather than one particular gender or sexuality, and that can be whomever they fancy.
K is for KINK
Kink is about those who have kinky fantasies. This could involve BDSM (bondage, discipline and sadomasochism) where sexual fantasies include anything from tying each other up in the bedroom, to altogether more painful activities… If you’ve heard of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (and we’re assuming that you probably have), kink is what sultry Mr. Grey is in to. No matter what you think of the book (or the film), it certainly raised awareness about the kink community.
So there we have it. But there are more letters, more sexualities, and more identities out there – head to stonewall.org.ukto get clued up. But the most important thing to understand, is that whatever sexuality or gender, everyone is equal, and love, really is love.