Defining Gender And Sexual Orientation Labels: A Personal Journey

LGBT2QS* defines a large number of gender and sexual identities. My own identity is one of the lesser known labels but just as valid.

There are so many possible labels and ways to identify oneself within the LGBT2QS* community.

As a quick example, the acronym is getting longer and longer. At one point, it was only LGBT that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Society has come a long way since then. The number of labels to identify yourself can be overwhelming. There are just so many and it is something that tends to be fluid, always changing and expanding.

This article is a bit personal on my part. I went through my early life not really sure of who I was. There were always questions I asked but the questions and the few answers I found did not make sense together. A decade ago, I had no idea that there were so many labels. My personal knowledge only knew that there was gay, lesbian, and straight. I had no idea that anything else existed. It was not until I reached the second university year that I knew more than that.

In using the student services student counseling services at my university, I was able to educate myself on the labels on gender and sexual identity. I have been able to label and accept my own identity and orientation. I feel that a North American Indigenous term fits me the best. 

Two-Spirit embodies the spirit of both genders with a biologically female body. In western terminology, it gets a bit more complicated.

I am a Two-Spirit. Using those terms, I am Queer, non-binary, asexual, and lesbian. Definitely more complicated.

The acronym LGBT2QS* is getting rather long and expansive from the original LGBT acronym. These extra letters were designed to help be more inclusive but it wasn't self-explanatory and didn't really teach about what each letter meant.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

The terms of the acronym LGBT2QS* are defined as; 

LG; stands for Lesbian and Gay. Lesbian typically refers to women's attraction to women. Gay usually refers to men's attraction to men, though sometimes it is used as an umbrella term for anyone attracted to their own gender. 

B; stands for Bisexual which is defined as someone who is attracted to people of their gender or other gender identities. It is not a way station from straight to gay, as it had once been described. It is also used as another umbrella term to describe the rest of the acronym with the exception of transgender. However, the term bisexual is also seen as not inclusive enough for the rest of the LGBT community. 

T; usually stands for transgender which is a wide-ranging term for people whose gender identity or gender expression differs from the biological sex they were assigned at birth.

Then the newer letters of the acronym add a lot more labels and definitions. Some of them are new and not many people know a lot about them. Even myself, who looks into these definitions on a regular basis. Several are used as umbrella terms which are less popular because they tend to feel less inclusive. 

T; can also describe the term trans* which has been adopted by some groups as a more inclusive alternative to "transgender", where trans (without the asterisk) has been used to describe trans men and trans women, while trans* covers all non-cisgender (genderqueer) identities, including transgender, transsexual, transvestite, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, genderfuck, genderless, agender, non-gendered, third gender, two-spirit, bigender, and trans man and a trans woman. The term transsexual commonly falls under the umbrella term transgender.

2; not only stands for the multiple trans terms but also for Two-Spirit, which is what I primarily identify as. It is defined as a modern, pan-Indian, umbrella term used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe Native people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender (or other gender-variant) ceremonial and social role in their cultures.

It implies that the individual is both male and female and that these aspects are intertwined within them. The term moves away from traditional Native American/First Nations cultural identities and meanings of sexuality and gender variance. It does not take into account the terms and meanings from individual nations and tribes

Q; stands for Queer. It is another umbrella term that is used for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or are not cisgender. Originally meaning "strange" or "peculiar". Originally used as an insult which included many in the LGBT community but to also describe people who were considered to be perverted. However, the term has been 'taken back' to use as a way to claim identity. 

S; can stand for sexuality or straight. Both are umbrella terms,

Sexuality can be defined as a person's identity in relation to the gender or genders to which they are typically attracted; sexual orientation. 

Straight is another word for heterosexual. It describes a person who is attracted to their opposite gender. It is a sexual identity and a gender identity where the person labeled this way follows the 'norm'.

*; the asterisk covers a lot of terms. It is an umbrella term part of the acronym and it can cover many many things. 

Asexual; a term used for those that don’t feel sexual attraction to either sex or that don’t feel romantic attraction in a typical way.

Cisgender; a person whose gender identity and gender expression match the gender they were assigned at birth. This can describe a heterosexual person, but also a person who has a different sexual identity as well. 

Androgynous; describes those with both male and female traits.

Pansexual/Omnisexual; a similar definition to bisexual, these two terms describe individuals with a desire for all genders and sexes with more of an attraction to attributes than genders or sexuality.

Demisexual; is a term that describes a person that requires an emotional bond to form a sexual attraction.

Aromantic; Aromantic describes a person who doesn’t experience emotional attraction (feelings like love, connection, etc.) to others.

Polyamorous; A term for those who are open to multiple consensual romantic or sexual relationships at one time.

Questioning; some may feel unsure about their sexual orientation and/or their gender identity. They may describe themselves as questioning. They may be questioning until they identify with a particular identity or continue to be questioning throughout their lives.

Ally; a term that is used for and by individuals that support and rally the cause of the LGBT2QS* even though they don’t identify within the community. 

This is something I had to discover for myself but for a long time, I didn't know definitions or specifics. I hope that by giving you these definitions, you can find out what is the right word or words for yourself. 

Finding out which term fits who you are, how you identify yourself can be a way to heal and accept who you are as I have found out. Everyone is different but that is okay. You are fine, just the way you are, labels or not. Just be yourself.

An avid writer, who likes to write in many different styles. Right now Ronnie goes by they/them pronouns and identify as Two-Spirit.

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