What do we mean by LGBT+?

LGBT+ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans. At Opening Doors London we generally use LGBT+ as a shorthand, but we also think its important to include and acknowledge the acronym in its entirety to recognise the diverse terms people identify with and use to describe their gender and sexuality.


Lesbian - A woman who is attracted to other women.

Gay - A man who is attracted to other men.

Bisexual - A person who is attracted to two or more genders.

Trans or transgender - A person who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. This includes people who identify outside the gender binary, for example non-binary and gender fluid people. 

Queer - Can be used to refer to one's gender identity and/or sexual orientation. It is sometimes used as an umbrella term for LGBT+ identities, but also references a radical politics which rejects heteronormativity as well as labels and norms which create hierarchies within the LGBT+ community.

The word 'queer' has been used against LGBT+ people as a slur but was reclaimed in the 80s. As a community we must therefore hold space both for people who have a complex and difficult relationship to the term and those who self-identify with it. 

Intersex - Refers to people whose biological attributes don't fit societal definitions of 'male' and 'female'. The term does not reference gender (although many intersex people are assigned binary gender at birth), as intersex people can identify with any gender.  

Ace - An umbrella terms which refers to people who experience no or varying levels of sexual and/or romantic attraction, for example people who identify as asexual and/or aromantic. Demis and gray-As usually refer to people with varying levels of sexual and/or romantic attraction

Pansexual - A person who feels attraction to people regardless of gender. 

+ - The + recognises that there are more ways to identify and describe gender and sexuality beyond the acronym. While the above are common terms used to self-identify gender and sexuality in the English language, the world is and has always been a place of diverse sexualities and gender identities. 

Other useful terms

Gender binary - The categorisation of people into two distinct and opposite genders (man and woman). The term gender is used to highlight the socially constructed nature of these categories, and recognises that we can identify with any gender both within and beyond the binary. 

Non-binary - A term some people who identify outside of the binary categories of man and woman use to describe their gender. 

Gender fluid - A person who understands their gender to be flexible and changing. 

Pronouns - Personal pronouns are words used to refer to people, but which also connote gender. Some common pronouns are 'he/him', 'she/her', 'they/them' and 'ze/zir'. While 'he/him' commonly refers to men and 'she/her' commonly refers to women, people of various genders might use whichever pronoun they feel most at home with.

Cis or cisgender - A person who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth. 

Ally - Typically someone who is does not identify within the LGBT+ umbrella (i.e. who is straight and/or cisgender) but supports the LGBT+ community and our political struggles. 

Terminology about trans issues in particular has developed and changed rapidly in recent years, and we suggest you refer to a more comprehensive guide for a better understanding of preferred terminology.