LGBTQIAP: Understanding Terminologies and Knowing How They Work

There are many gender identity terms and gender expressions you might have encountered in the past couple of decades. It will surprise you to know that none of those terms are new. They have been around for quite a while, so it is more than high time to learn what each of the letters in LGBTQIAP stands for. Let’s start from the beginning. 


The first letter in the name is L. It stands for lesbian, and it is a term used to describe homosexual women. Well, that is the definition in the broadest form. Of course, this type of behavior or sexual identity is nothing new. There are records of ancient lesbians, and many consider female-to-female action to be harmless. One of the earliest definitions of lesbian was from the nineteenth century, and it was used to describe a woman who does not adhere to female gender roles. 

Of course, the term lesbian has evolved and changed throughout the years. It is worth mentioning that this doesn’t mean that every single woman that has same-sex relationships is a lesbian. It all comes down to gender expression and what they feel like. Some ladies can be attracted to all genders, and they are not lesbians. But more on that later. 


A parallel can be drawn between gay and lesbian people. In the broadest term, being gay refers to men who are attracted to other men. Even though homosexual activities are nothing out of the ordinary now for most people, there are still places across the globe where gay men have to fight discrimination on a daily basis. 

However, if we take a look at the history of the world, there are numerous examples of gay relationships. One of the earliest records is from ancient Egypt, and the same thing applies to Latin America during the pre-colonization period. In ancient Greece, it was considered quite normal for a man to have a younger male lover. 

Many people still need to fight battles across the globe, but more and more countries are willing to take the step forward and get rid of the ridiculous prejudices imposed by religions. 


We have already briefly touched upon this group, and now, we will take a closer look at it. As you can probably guess from the name, the term refers to people who are attracted to both men and women. For years, this has been considered as one of the three sexualities, whereas the other two were the ones we mentioned earlier. 

And this is why women who are attracted to both men and other women are not considered lesbians, as we said. In the past couple of years, people have redefined this sexuality, and you could say that being bisexual refers to anyone who is attracted to more than one gender. 

Being bisexual doesn’t mean that the person is attracted to both genders equally (or any number of genders). And it is usually not the case. They can still prefer one gender over others and consider themselves bisexual. 


Trans means across, and the term is used to describe people whose gender identity does not align with the one assigned at birth. There are people who are assigned females at birth, but they feel like men. They often refer to themselves as trans men too. At the same time, trans women are those that feel like women, but they were assigned male gender at birth. 

It is worth mentioning that there are those who don’t feel comfortable with the binary system, where there are only two genders. That means that they prefer identifying as neither. 

Transgender individuals often desire to transition, which refers to medical assistance that will help them transition to the appropriate gender. After the transition, some people start to identify as transsexuals. Trans people can be straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, or anything in between. 


Queer is often used as a term to describe all people that are not cisgender and aren’t heterosexual. Those that are unaware, cisgender people are those whose gender matches what they were assigned at birth. One of the main criticisms of this term is its origin. Or rather, what came after it.

The original meaning of the word queer was peculiar or strange. Over the years, it became a derogatory word for people with same-sex interests. In the late eighties, members of the LGBT community started reclaiming the term. Today, it is a universal word for all that don’t fall in the straight category. For some, the term queer is a universal word for all LGBTQIA members. 


Intersex is reserved for people that are born with sex characteristics that don’t fit the binary notion of human bodies. This means that they are neither male nor female. These characteristics can include genitals, gonads, chromosomes, or other similar traits. During the assignment at birth, doctors will usually align the gender with anatomical sex or observable factors. But that isn’t always accurate.

It is not rare for a person to be assigned male or female at birth and spend the entire childhood like that, only to identify as another gender later on in life. There are numerous types of intersex conditions, and they include XXX, XYY, XXYY, etc. These conditions are quite rare, and they happen in less than one percent of births. Actually, the exact number is between 0.001 and 0.1 percent. 


Asexuality is the term used to describe the lack of sexual attraction. This means that asexual people are not interested in males, females, trans people, or any other gender or sexuality. Some consider this to be sexual orientation since it describes one’s interests. Or, in this case, the lack of it. 

It is worth mentioning that asexuality is not the same as abstinence or celibacy. In celibacy, people might feel attraction or desire, but they are choosing not to act on it for whatever reason. For asexual people, the situation is different. They are not abstaining from anything since they don’t feel any type of sexual attraction. 

In some cases, people consider asexuality as low sexual interest, and it is not rare for asexual people to have romantic relationships. They can still feel emotions and enjoy all the benefits of the relationship, but they are not interested in the sexual part of it. 


The final entry on the list is pansexuality. People who identify themselves as pansexuals are attracted to all kinds of people, regardless of their sexuality and gender. They often call themselves “gender blind” since someone’s identity is not a determining factor. 

Some people see pansexuality as a type of bisexuality, but the term is not correct. Firstly, the “bi” part of bisexual means that there are only two genders. And pansexual people don’t find this to be accurate. 

Another term for pansexuality you might encounter is omnisexuality, and it refers to people attracted to all genders regardless of their individual identity. So, one of the main differences between bisexual and pansexual people is that the latter ones are more inclusive, accepting the non-binary or genderqueer ideology.