LGBTQ+ is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and more. This term encompasses sexual orientation and gender identity. Sexual orientation describes a person’s emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction to other people. Gender identity is an internal, deeply felt sense of being male, female, a blend of both or neither.
Here are a few terms to get you started:
Lesbian- a woman who is emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to someone of the same gender identity
Gay- a person who is emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to others of the same gender
Bisexual- a person who is emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to people of more than one gender
Transgender- a person whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth
The plus sign in LGBTQ+ represents other identities such as intersex and asexual.
GSA stands for Gay-Straight Alliance or Gender-Sexuality Alliance. GSAs are student led clubs in schools. Simply having a GSA at a school has been found to decrease negative remarks about sexual orientation and gender identity and increase students’ feelings of safety. Each GSA is different, but they typically focus on support, advocacy, and/or social activities.
You do not have to identify as LGBTQ+ to join a GSA. Individuals who do not identify as LGBTQ+ but support this community are called Allies.
Interested in joining a GSA? Look to see if you school already has one. Sometimes your school’s club may not be called a GSA but goes by a different name. If you school doesn’t have a club like this, you can start one!