Let's go over the basics of the LGBTQ+ community, starting with who we are:
L = lesbian
G = gay
B = bisexual
T = transgender
Q = queer
+ = everyone else in our community who feels more aligned with another identity, such as pansexual (sexual attraction not based on gender identity), genderqueer, agender, gender fluid or nonbinary (gender identity that goes beyond or between male or female), and more.
Queer was once a derogatory term but the LGBTQ+ community has reclaimed it as something we’re quite proud of. Not every LGBTQ+ person uses the word. It is more often used by people younger than 40. Queer can pertain to sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s an umbrella term for our community that’s much more accurate than the term gay or lesbian, since those words have much more narrow definitions. Transgender is the word used for people who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. The correct and much preferred term for a transgender person is trans or transgender, not transgendered or transsexual. People will tell you if they’re trans and want to be known as such. It’s not something up for discussion and in fact can be a rather private issue as it is an incredibly personal journey, so if you have a client who you believe may be trans, there’s nothing to say except show them the same friendly and welcoming professionalism that you do for everyone else. People are born LGBTQ+. Honestly, Lady Gaga was right. It is not a choice to be LGBTQ+. It is a choice, however, to live in our truth. Because it is not a choice, it is not a lifestyle. Lifestyle is a word that denotes an activity that someone engages in often, such as playing tennis or being a vegetarian. When referring to LGBTQ+ as a group, we use the term community. As in the LGBTQ+ community.
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