SPECTRUM logo

Drop in and see us via Zoom! Saturdays 2-4 PM | Telephone: 226 779-9695 |  email us

SPECTRUM follows the Region of Waterloo's Public Health Guidelines for COVID-19. These can be found here.

What does LGBTQ2+ mean?

What does the... in LGBTQ2+ mean?

LGBTQ2+ is an umbrella term that refers to the most commonly discussed queer identities and/or orientations:

  • Lesbian
  • Gay
  • Bisexual
  • Transgender
  • Queer / Questioning
  • 2 Spirit

Both because there are many queer identities and orientations not covered by the LGBTQ2+ intialism and because the list changes and grows as our understanding evolves, we use the + to include all of the other identities not covered by the shortened intialism. 

For the complete initialism with definitions, download our 101 LGBTQ2+ Glossary

Gender v. Sexuality

Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of self and the gender they feel like inside, which may or may not align with the gender they were assigned at birth. Sexuality, on the other hand, refers to the types of people someone is attracted to.

At birth, doctors usually assign infants one of two binary genders: male or female. This overlooks intersex people (people whose biology is ambiguous) and people with genders outside the binary. Cultures around the world have had traditions of non-binary gender for thousands of years, of which Two-Spirit Indigenous Canadians are just one example.

Most people’s gender aligns with their assigned gender and they experience attraction to people of the “opposite” binary gender. This is seen as the norm, and anyone with a different experience of gender and sexuality is seen as deviant. The physical and emotional violence experienced by people with stigmatized genders and sexualities keeps many people silent, which only reinforces the idea that such experiences are uncommon and abnormal.

Additional Resources

EBOOK: LGBTQ2+ Terms Reference & Media Guide

For a comprehensive list of definitions, concepts, and terms as well as guidance for language to use and language to avoid, download SPECTRUM's 2021 LGBTQ2+ Terms Reference & Media Guide!

Resources for Allies or People Who are Learning to Be Allies

Visit our Resources page to learn more about specific topics, ally how-tos, parenting supports, educator toolkits and more!

SPECTRUM offers a safe place where LGBTQ2+ individuals can be themselves and find community and supports.