Hamilton Health Sciences
LGBTQ+ Task Force

LGBTQ+: A common acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirit, intersex and queer individuals/communities. The plus sign is added on the end of acronym to signify many other sexual orientations and gender identities.


Asexual: a word describing a person who is not sexually and/or romantically active.

Bisexual: a word describing a person whose sexual orientation is directed toward men and women, though not necessarily at the same time. Depending upon the person, their attraction may be stronger for one sex over the other or they may experience equal attraction to men and to women.

Gay: A word to describe a man whose emotional, romantic, and/or physical attraction is to people of the same sex.

Lesbian: A woman whose emotional, romantic, and/or physical attraction is to other women. People who are lesbians need not have had any sexual experience; it is the attraction that helps determine orientation.

Pansexual: A person whose emotional, romantic, and/or physical attraction is to people of all gender identities and biological sexes. People who are pansexual need not have had any sexual experience; attraction determines orientation. Sometimes referred to as omnisexual.

Queer: traditionally, a derogatory and offensive term for LGBTQ+ people. Many
LGBTQ+ people have reclaimed this word and use it proudly to describe their identity. Some trans people identify as queers; others do not.

Aromantic: experiencing little or no romantic attraction to others and/or has a lack of interest in romantic relationships/behavior. Aromanticism exists on a continuum from people who experience no romantic attraction or have any desire for romantic activities, to those who experience low levels, or romantic attraction only under specific conditions. Sometimes abbreviated to “aro” (pronounced like “arrow”).


Gender identity: Everyone has a gender identity and everyone’s gender is protected under the

Trans: A term that may be used to describe people whose gender expression does not conform to cultural norms and/or whose gender identity is different from their sex assigned at birth. Trans is considered by some to be an “umbrella term” that encompasses a number of identities which transcend the conventional expectations of gender identity and expression, including (but not limited to) FTM, MTF, genderqueer, and gender expansive. People who identify as trans may or may not decide to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically to align with their gender identity.

Two-spirit: A self-identity adopted by some Indigenous people who take on a multitude of gender roles, identities, and expressions. Those who identify as Two-Spirit often see themselves as embodying both masculine and feminine spirits and characteristics.

Gender Fluid: Someone who embodies characteristics of multiple genders, or shifts in gender identity.

Agender: A person who does not conform to any gender.

Gender Neutral: Not gendered. Can refer to language (including pronouns), spaces (like bathrooms), or identities (being genderqueer, for example).

Genderqueer: this very recent term was coined by young people who experience a very fluid sense of both their gender identity and their sexual orientation, and who do not want to be constrained by absolute or static concepts. Instead, they prefer to be open to relocate themselves on the gender and sexual orientation continuums.

Transition: the process (which for some people may also be referred to as the “gender reassignment process”) whereby trans people change their appearance and bodies to match their internal (gender) identity.

Female-to-Male/Male-to-Female (FTM/MTF): A term that describes someone who was assigned a female or male sex and gender at birth and currently has a female/ male gender identity. The individual may or may not have had surgery or taken hormones to physically alter their appearance.

Assigned gender: The gender that is given to an infant at birth based on the infant’s external genitals. This may or may not match the person’s gender identity in childhood/adulthood.


Biphobia: irrational fear, dislike or discrimination  towards bisexuals. Bisexuals may be stigmatized by heterosexuals, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Homophobia:  irrational fear, dislike or discrimination  towards anyone from the LGBTQ+ community.

Transphobia: irrational fear, dislike, and discrimination towards trans people.



Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

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