Monday, June 20, 2016

The Gender and Sexuality Spectrum (LGBTQQIAAP+)

June is National Pride Month, in memory of the 1969 Stonewall riots, which sparked the fight for civil rights within the Queer community.

Much like the beautiful colors of the rainbow, sexuality & gender lie on a spectrum. Do you know what each letter of the LGBTQQIAAP+ acronym stands for? If not, let me break it down for you! 

The "Lipstick Lesbian" Flag
Lesbian – any woman attracted to other women (the term was derived from the history of the Greek island of Lesbos, where a renowned poet named Sappho lived and wrote fondly and erotically about her love of women in 6th century B.C.)

The "Gay Pride" Flag
Gay – refers to any one of a same-sex orientation, but specifically of male gender (men attracted to other men) 

The "Bisexuality" Flag
Bisexual – anyone attracted to more than one gender

The "Transgender" Flag
Transgender – People who identify with a different gender than that assigned to them by society based on their biological sex. Gender is a social construct, not to be confused with “Sex.” Sex is of a physical nature while “Gender” is mental/emotional. Included within this category are people who consider themselves Transsexual (using hormones or surgery to gain physiological attributes of the opposite sex, transgender men & transgender women), Agender, Gender-Non-conforming, and Gender Fluid.

The "Queer Pride" Flag
Queer - People who don’t want to label themselves by their sexual acts but do want ownership in being different. Reclaimed from a hate term, the word “Queer” can still be highly offensive, depending on usage. Queer can also be used as an umbrella term to denote the entire community or an individual within it.  

Questioning – anyone still working out their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The "Intersexuality" Flag
Intersex – anyone born with a body not clearly identifiable as female or male. In some cases, this may be known as a hermaphrodite, though this term is more often used as a scientific description of animals, not suitable for humans. 

The "Asexuality" Flag
Asexual – anyone who does not feel sexually attracted to anyone else. However, the Asexual, or “Ace” community has its own spectrum and may include individuals who are interested in romantic relationships, but not sex. For instance, if you are in the Asexual category, you can be considered “Gray” meaning you are between Asexual or Sexual, or you can be Demisexual, in which you need a strong emotional attachment in order to be sexually attracted to someone. When it comes to romance, you can be Hetero-Romantic, Homo-Romantic, Bi-Romantic, Pan-Romantic, A-Romantic, etc. 

Asexual Romanticism can seem a bit complex. 

The "Straight Ally" Flag
Ally – Any straight or cisgender person who supports the queer community.

The "Pansexuality" Flag
Pansexual – the prefix "pan" meaning "any," a person who can develop attraction to any gender. Often interested in others based on personality and not sexual orientation/identity or gender expression/identity. Often has attraction with an emphasis on androgyny, non-binary folx, or alternative gender identities aside from cisgender men & women primarily. 

The “+” or “Plus sign” in the acronym is used to represent all other sexualities/gender identities not already featured. Those may encompass any of the following:

The "Two Spirit" (2S) Flag
Two Spirit - Two-spirit. The visionaries & healers of aboriginal communities, the gay & lesbian shamans. Known to fulfill a "3rd gender" role within indigenous cultures. (Sometimes added to the acronym, represented by “2S”)

The "Polyamory" Flag
Polyamorous – anyone interested or capable of having multiple relationships at once, ethically. (Opposite of Monogamous.) Not to be confused with Polygamy, which means having many marriages.

Metrosexual - a young, urban, heterosexual male with liberal political views, an interest in fashion, & a refined sense of taste.

The "Bear" Flag
Bear, Otter, Wolf, and Cub – Within the Gay male community, there are classifications based on body type/appearance. For instance, a Bear is considered a man who is husky, thick, and covered in body hair. You can do more research in case you’re interested in learning about the others. (Check out this website: Gay Men, Are you a Jock, Otter, Bear, or Wolf? )

Sapiosexual – anyone interested in or sexually attracted to others’ intelligence

The "Gynephilia" Flag

The "Androphilia Flag"

Gynephilia and Androphilia: behavioral science terms that can be used as an alternative to heterosexuality and homosexuality. Androphilia is the attraction to men or masculine qualities, while Gynephilia signifies being attracted to women or feminine qualities. 

The "Autosexuality" Flag
Autosexual: a person who is not necessarily attracted to others sexually or successful at responding to others sexually, but can satisfy themselves through touch (i.e. masturbation) Term coined by Bernard Apfelbaum in his research on sex therapy.

The "Polysexuality" Flag
Polysexual – being attracted to many sexes. Both Bisexuality and Pansexuality are regarded as forms of Polysexuality.

The "Skoliosexuality" Flag
Skoliosexual – being attracted to someone who does not fit the gender binary. (as in finding someone who is not Cisgender attractive, like falling in love with a person who is Transgender for instance)

The "Androgyny" Flag

Androgynous – someone whose gender or sex is ambiguous or not easily identifiable. I think Jeffree Star is a great example of this.

Jeffree Star being his fierce, fabulous, androgynous self!

The "Lithromantic" Flag
Lithromantic – a person who may theoretically enjoy romantic relationships, but is not necessarily sexual. This identity may also include someone who becomes romantically attached to others but does not want it to be reciprocated. Part of the Ace, Gray-romantics spectrum. 

The "Demiromantic" Flag
Demiromantic – a person who can only develop a romantic (non-sexual) attraction for someone if they have a strong emotional connection. (Like the romantic version of Demisexual, also part of the Ace, Gray-romantics spectrum)

The "Neutrois" Flag
Neutrois – a person who considers themselves genderless. May include Agender/Gender-Nonconforming. (part of the Transgender spectrum)

And there are several other gender identities/sexual orientations that may not be determined or named.

For more information on the LGBTQQIAAP+ spectrum, visit Gay Explained: The LGBTQQIAAP+ Community or your local LGBT Center. 

Thanks for Reading! <3 


  1. Wow. I am blown away. Well researched! We should vlog about it ;)

  2. Wonderful illustrated information. I thank you about that. No doubt it will be very useful for my future projects. Would like to see some other posts on the same subject! sex tradition from africa