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This guide recommends resources for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, those interested in learning more about the history of and ongoing discrimination against LGBTQIA+ individuals, and those completing LGBTQIA+ studies coursework at FIT.

What Does LGBTQIA+ Mean?

As with all language, the terminology about sexual orientation and gender identity continues to evolve over time. The acronym LGBTQIA+ stands for:





Queer or Questioning



+ - designates that this is meant to be an inclusive term that can also be used by those for whom another word beyond this list better summarizes their experiences.

But, even with the plus symbol at the end, not everyone may feel comfortable with any of these terms or they may be willing to be referred to by one of these terms but more authentically identify as another, such as nonbinary or pansexual, to offer just two examples. The most important goal should be to refer to people as they ask you to once they trust you with this information about themself.

If you are interested in definitions of these terms and other terms people may use to describe themselves or their experiences, the resources listed below are reliable glossaries:

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, & Gender Expression

As you may notice, the LGBTQIA+ acronym incorporates both terms related to sexual orientation and gender identity. So, what is the difference?


Gender Expression is another separate concept that is sometimes confused or conflated with gender identity or sexual orientation. The video below explains how it is a distinct concept. Please note that this video does describe gender expression and gender identity as spectrums, but as with sexual orientations, some find the spectrum analogy to be too limiting and instead identify as somewhere off the spectrum entirely rather than in relation to one of the proposed endpoints of these spectrums. However, it may be helpful in understanding the distinction between the concepts.


Gender identity and the related terminology can also have a significant cultural component. The video below discusses this for three different cultures.


What Are Pronouns? Why Do They Matter?

You may take pronouns for granted, but not everyone has that privilege. Some people regularly encounter individuals unintentionally or even intentionally using the incorrect pronouns for them. This is called "misgendering" a person. Particularly for those who are transgender and/or nonbinary, this can be stressful, frustrating, humiliating, and even scary. For this reason, it is very important to know a person's pronouns and use them consistently and correctly. The video below explains the importance of pronouns.

What about gender neutral pronouns? Some people may use a gender neutral set of pronouns. There are many different sets of gender neutral pronouns. The chart below shows how some gender neutral pronouns are used.

Gender Neutral Pronouns and Usage

Recommended Books on Identity

Recommended Podcast

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