Sexual orientation: an inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people. Note: an individual’s sexual orientation is independent of their gender identity.
LGBTQ: an acronym for "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer." Other acronyms used are LGBTQ2S+ (including "Two-Spirit" and "+" which is meant to acknowledge additional identities not listed in the acronym), LGBTQIA (including "intersex, asexual/aromantic/agender"), or simply LGBT.
Queer: a term people often use to express a spectrum of identities and orientations that are counter to the mainstream. Queer is often used as a catch-all to include many people, including those who do not identify as exclusively straight and/or folks who have non-binary or genderexpansive identities. This term was previously used as a slur, but has been reclaimed by many parts of the LGBTQ movement.
See below for further resources and definitions organized by sexual orientation:
Bisexual: a person emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to more than one sex, gender or gender identity though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way or to the same degree. Sometimes used interchangeably with pansexual.
Pansexual: someone who has the potential for emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to people of any gender though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way or to the same degree. Sometimes used interchangeably with bisexual.
Asexual: the lack of a sexual attraction or desire for other people. Also included on the asexual (or "ace") spectrum are orientations demisexual and grey-asexual (or "grey-a"). See What Does It Mean To Be Asexual?
Romantic Orientation: While some asexual people also identify as aromantic (or "aro ace"), many other asexual people do desire romantic relationships. For asexuals who do not experience sexual attraction, romantic orientations can clarify who they prefer to date or form relationships with (eg. homoromantic, biromantic, panromantic, heteroromantic, and others).
Polyamory: the practice or condition of participating simultaneously in more than one serious romantic or sexual relationship with the knowledge and consent of all partners.
Although not a sexual orientation, polyamory is included in this guide because of the overlap between members of the poly community and members of the LGBTQ2S+ community.
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