About Abuse

LGBTQ Victims

Updated: 
September 12, 2018

What does LGBTQIA mean?

LGBTQIA is an acronym for:

  • lesbian;
  • gay;
  • bisexual;
  • transgender;
  • queer or questioning;
  • intersex; and
  • asexual.

Lesbian and gay are terms for people who experience sexual attraction to partners of the same gender. Bisexual is a term for people who may experience attraction to partners of multiple genders. These terms describe sexual orientations or sexual identities.1

Transgender or “trans” people have gender identities that in some way do not fit into the sex they were assigned at birth. A person does not have to have sexual reassignment surgery or take hormones to be transgender. For example, a trans man could be a person who was born with a vagina, but who identifies as a man. Being transgender does not necessarily mean someone is also lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer. Trans people may identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer, or may identify as heterosexual or asexual.1 To learn more about the trans community, please visit the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Note: A cisgender or “cis” person is someone whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth. Generally, someone born with a penis is assigned “male” or “boy” at birth, while someone born with a vagina is assigned “female” or “girl” at birth. A cis person is someone who agrees that their identity matches this assignment.

“Queer” is an umbrella term that may refer to both sexual identity and gender identity. Someone may refer to their sexual orientation or attraction to people of many genders as being “queer.” Someone who is “queer” may also be gender nonconforming or “genderqueer,”which may mean they do not identify as any one gender or their gender expression falls outside any one category.1 For more information on the difference between gender identity and gender expression, please see the Human Rights Campaign’s page “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Definitions.”

“Intersex” is a general term used to refer to someone who, for a variety of different medical reasons, is born with reproductive or sexual body parts that don’t seem to fit the typical definition of “male” or “female.” For instance, an intersex person may have a penis, but also have a uterus or ovaries, or be born with genitals that are not clearly defined as a penis or vagina.2

“Asexual” describes someone who does not experience sexual attraction or desire for anyone of any sex or gender.1

1 Glossary of Terms,” Human Rights Campaign
2What is intersex,” Intersex Society of North America