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LGBTQIA+ Health: Home


This guide is designed to assist students, researchers, and health professionals in finding health and other information related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual, intersex, queer, and queer-questioning communities.

As with the nature of science, this guide will continue to be a work in progress. Please contact me if you have any questions or suggestions for the inclusion of materials at

What does it all mean?



  • “+”–  a symbol that represents members of the community who identify with a sexual orientation or gender identity that isn’t included within the LGBTQIA acronym. It’s an inclusive way of representing gender and sexual identities that letters and words cannot yet fully describe.
  • Asexual- a term used to describe a person who lacks sexual attraction or desire for other people. It’s different from celibacy, in which people make a choice to abstain from sexual activity.
  • Bisexual –  describes a person who is physically, emotionally, or romantically attracted to people within more than one sex, gender, or gender identity.
  • Cisgender – Individuals whose gender assigned at birth corresponds to their gender identity.
  • Gay  describes a person who is physically, emotionally, or romantically attracted to people within the same gender. 
  • Gender Identity – One's inner sense of self as male, female, both, or neither. One’s gender identity can be the same or different than the gender assigned at birth.
  • Gender Expression – Refers to the ways in which people externally communicate their gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, haircut, voice, and other parts of their presentation. Gender expression should not be viewed as an indication of sexual orientation.
  • Gender Fluid – describes a person whose gender identity or expression changes over time. 

  • Genderqueer –describes a person who does not follow static categories of gender, embracing a fluidity of gender identity and, oftentimes, sexual orientations. 
  • Gender non-conforming – describes a person who does not abide by traditional or cultural expectations — in regards to appearance or behavior — of their gender. 
  • Gender Role – This is the set of roles, activities, expectations and behaviors assigned to females and males by society. Our culture recognizes two binary gender roles: masculine (having the qualities attributed to males) and feminine (having the qualities attributed to females). Other cultures have three or more gender roles.
  • Intersex – some people are born with chromosomes, hormones, genitalia and/or other sex characteristics that do not conform to standard definitions of male or female; approximately 1% of the population is intersex.
  • Lesbian –describes a woman who is physically, emotionally, or romantically attracted to other women.
  • Non-binary – describes a person whose gender identity falls outside of strictly male or strictly female. 
  • Queer – an adjective used by some people whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual or straight. It’s an umbrella term that includes people who have non-binary or gender-fluid identities. 
  • Questioning – a term used to describe a person who is exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Sex – Generally, a person's sex is considered their gender assigned at birth. Biological sex is determined by chromosomes, hormones, and internal and external genitalia. Given the potential variation in all of these, biological sex must be seen as a spectrum or range of possibilities rather than a binary set of two options.
  • Sexual orientation – To whom a person is romantically, sexually, and/or emotionally attracted and how they themselves define that. A person may be attracted to the same gender (gay/lesbian), the opposite gender (heterosexual), more than one gender (bisexual), or not experience sexual attraction (asexual). Some people may be attracted to the same or both genders but still not identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Sexual orientation is how someone feels and identifies and is not related to specific behaviors or actions.   
  • Sexual behavior – This is what an individual does; it’s important to not assume that sexual behavior and sexual orientation are the same. People may be sexual with others that don’t “fit” their sexual orientation.
  • Transgender – Individuals whose gender assigned at birth does not match their gender identity. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation. Therefore, transgender people additionally may identify as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, two-spirit, queer, or asexual.

*Definitions gathers from a number of sources including The Office of LGBTQ Resources, The Human Rights Campaign,, GLAAD


Addition Terms & Glossaries