LGBT: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities
LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. In every country and society, many people belong to one of these communities. In the USA, LGBT people have the same rights and freedoms as everyone else, including the right to marry partners of the same sex.
Who is LGBT?
People who identify as part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) community come from different backgrounds. LGBT includes people of all races, ethnicity, ages, status, and nationalities. There are around 11 million LGBT people in the USA. This is about 5% of the population.
People who have same-sex partners and people who are transitioning between genders can be described as LGBT. LGBT also includes people who are not sure about their gender or sexuality. Some people change the words they use to describe themselves during their lifetime.
Equal rights to marriage
In 2015, the US Supreme Court (which is the highest court in the country) declared that marriages between two people of the same sex are legal. In most of the USA, romantic relationships between two people of the same sex are viewed as equal to those between a man and a woman. In some states, people are not all accepting of LGBT people. When you travel, learn what common opinions are so you can stay safe.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender definitions
Here is an explanation of each letter in LGBT:
- L: lesbian
A woman who experiences romantic love or sexual attraction for another woman as a romantic partner
- G: gay
Most often used to describe a man who experiences romantic love or sexual attraction for another man. This term sometimes is used to refer to both males and females who experience romantic love or sexual attraction for a same-sex or same-gender partner.
- B: bisexual
A man or woman who experiences romantic and/or sexual attraction toward both males and females.
- T: transgender or transexual
Somebody who does not identify with the sex of the body they were born into. They may be in some stage of physical transition to fit their gender. This term is different than all the others because it does not refer to who a person is attracted to. Someone who is transgender can also be lesbian, for example.
Sometimes, you may see the term LGBT with more initials added. An example is LGBTIA. This is what the other letters mean.
- Q: Queer
This term was used as an insult in the past. Now, is it used by many to talk about themselves. Queer is used by gay, bisexual, genderqueer, and transgender people. It means different things to different people. Overall, it means that your gender and sexuality are different than most people’s.
- I: Intersex
This is a term for a person who was born with parts that belong to both sexes. This might mean that their reproductive parts are mixed. Some may be male, while others are female. It could also mean that their genes belong to both sexes.
- A: Asexual
Someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Asexual people can date and be in relationships, but they do not have sex. This can also mean “allied”. This is a person who is not LGBT but supports the rights of people who are.
There are many spaces for LGBT people where you can find support and make friends with people like you. Each city has different groups, centers, parties, and even LGBT businesses. LGBT centers have resources and organize trans groups and events.
For transgender people
To find trans groups in your area, you can use Facebook or Google. Many groups are on Facebook. To look for groups online, use the words “trans” or “queer exchange” together with the name of your city or a nearby larger city.
For young people
LGBT young people can visit TrevorSpace. This is run by the Trevor Project, an organization for LGBT youth. TrevorSpace is a monitored site for young people to connect with LGBT people in their community.
Resources for LGBT people and their friends and family
- PFLAG is an organization that helps people with LGBT family members understand their loved ones. On their website, you can find more educational resources.
- MedlinePlus also has information about LGBT health issues.
- Centers for Disease Control has information for members of the LGBT community.
- Diversity in the USA
- What are American values?
- Know your rights
- What should I do if someone is threatening me?
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