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  • The Unmistakables

The LGBTQIA-to-Z: A queersaurus of terms you need to know

This is the time of year when you’d usually hear the intro of Madonna’s career-defining Vogue punchily playing across mainstream restaurants and bars - a musical cue indicating that that world is slowly preparing for Pride month. Buildings and brands swap monochrome for the splendour of the rainbow flag and - not content with just a day and a parade (or march) - the LGBT+ community hits out with full force for a whole month. Rainbows here, allies there; June is a month to celebrate all things queer.

This year is different. It’s un-pride-cedented, in fact. For the first time in gay history, Pride marches are moving from the streets to our screens. Notwithstanding the fact that more people have died from Covid-19 in the UK than usually take part in the Pride in London parade, this year’s celebrations will take a slightly more hushed tone - especially if everyone remembers to hit the mute button.

A more muted Pride doesn’t make for a silent one, though; we must never stop shouting loudly for equal rights. The LGBT+ community must also ensure it’s not just speaking to itself. Pride presents an opportunity to take mainstream audiences on an educational journey. This, we believe is key, not least because so many people tell us they no longer know what they are allowed to say when it comes to sexuality.

We hear questions like, What’s the difference between pansexual and polysexual? Is it OK to call someone queer? What does the + stand for in LGBT+?

As the nation’s favourite diversity consultants, we’ve decided to do what we do best - spell it out in a light-hearted and fresh fashion. So, to prepare you and your loved-ones for Pride month, we’ve put together a little LGBTQIA-to-Z: a queersaurus of some (but by no means all) the need-to-know terms of the movement.

You can view all of the terms on the images below

ACE: An umbrella term used to describe a variation in levels of romantic and/or sexual attraction, including no attraction at all.

Bisexual: Someone who is romantically and/or sexually attracted to more than one gender.

Cis-gender (or cis): Someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth (non-trans is also used by some people).

Deadnaming: Calling someone by their birth name after they have changed their name (often associated with trans people who have changed their name as part of their transition).

Equality: The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities.

Femme: A term used in LGBT+ culture to describe someone who expresses themselves in a typically feminine way. Originally used within the lesbian community, femme has evolved to include bisexual and trans women and genderqueer people.

Gay: Typically refers to a man who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards men. Also a generic term for lesbian and gay sexuality. Some non-binary people may also identify as gay.

Heteronormative: A world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation.

Intersex: A term used to describe a person who may have the biological attributes of both sexes or whose biological attributes do not fit with societal assumptions about what constitutes male or female.

Johnson, Marsha P: Marsha P. Johnson was an American gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen. Known as an outspoken advocate for gay rights, Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969 and considered a leading figure in the start of the modern day Pride movement

Kinsey Scale: Alfred Kinsey, a renowned sociologist, described a spectrum on a scale of 0-6 to describe the type of sexual orientation within an individual.

Lesbian: A woman who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards women. Some non-binary people may also identify with this term.

Masc 4 Masc: Men often describe themselves this way (many in the LGBT+ community say toxically and problematically) to indicate that they're masculine-acting, and are seeking other masculine-acting individuals.

Non-Binary: A term within the trans umbrella, for people whose gender identity fits between, beyond or not at all within the gender binary of ‘female’ or ‘male.

Outed: When a LGBT+ person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is disclosed to someone else without their consent.

Pan: A person whose romantic and/or sexual attraction towards others is not limited by sex or gender.

Queer: A now reclaimed term used by those wanting to reject specific labels of romantic orientation, sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Rainbow flag: The rainbow flag (also known as the gay pride flag or LGBT+ pride flag) is used as a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) pride and social movements.

Same-sex relationship: A relationship between people of the same sex, which can take many forms, from romantic and sexual, to non-romantic and homosocially-close.

Trans: An umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth.

Undefined: Someone who does not label an aspect of their sexual or romantic orientation, or gender identity.

Vogue: A dance characterised by striking poses, which originated in the "ball culture" of queer people of colour in Harlem (long before Madonna took the minority scene mainstream).

WLW (women-loving-women): It is used by the LGBT+ community for a relationship involving two female-presenting people.

Womxn: An alternative term for the English language word women, which has been occasionally in use since 2015 to explicitly include non-cisgender women.

Youth homelessness: Research shows LGBT+ young people are more likely to find themselves homeless than their non-LGBT+ peers, and make up around 24% of the young homeless population.

Ze/Zir: Alternate pronouns that are gender-neutral and preferred by some gender variant persons.


We’ve been able to put this together thanks to Stonewall, Pink News and Medium.

Design by Chris Pearce

What have we missed? @_unmistakables on Twitter and Instagram.


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