Supporting your LGBTQIA+ Teen through Affirming Therapy

4 minutes Written by Katelyn Bourque

LGBTQ+ Basics

First and foremost, hello, and welcome! I appreciate you taking the time to educate yourself on some of the basic LGBT+ terms.

The LGBT+ acronym is always adapting to include diverse identities. At the time of this text, the community is referred to as 2SLGBTQI+, or Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and “plus” (+). For this text, LGBT+ will be used simply as an abbreviation.

Basics mean basics, so let’s look at the initial definitions:

·  2S – Two Spirit – An Indigenous, culturally-specific term individuals use to represent a gender, spiritual, and/or sexual identity comprising of both male and female spirits.

· L – Lesbian – A woman sexually and/or romantically attracted to women.

· G – Gay – An individual sexually and/or romantically attracted to individuals of the same gender identity.

· B – Bisexual – An individual sexually and/or romantically attracted to males and females or those that are gender non-conforming. 

· T – Transgender – Individuals whose gender identities are not what is typically expected for their sex assigned at birth.

· Q – Queer – Individuals whose gender identity or sexuality does not fit society’s ideas about gender or sexuality.

· Q – Questioning – Individuals uncertain about their sexual or gender identity.

· I – Intersex – Individuals with variations in biological characteristics, such as sex chromosomes, internal reproductive organs, genitalia, and/or secondary sex characteristics.

· + – Plus – Signifying the ever-changing diversity of the community.

It is important that individuals recognize that this group is all-encompassing; however, it also represents each individual self-identity of gender-diverse people. Below are some other basic definitions defined in the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care Version 8 that may help understand some of the terms above:

·  SEX: Determined by a person’s physical characteristics at birth.

o Male, Female, or Intersex

· GENDER-AFFIRMING CARE: A client-centered approach that treats individuals holistically, aligning their physical appearance with gender identity.

o Examples: Utilizing the correct pronouns or avoiding using their dead name.

· DEADNAME: Typically, the birth name given to a transgender individual who no longer goes by that name.

· GENDER BINARY: The idea that men and women are the only two genders and the expectation that everyone must be one or the other; the idea that all men are biological males and all women females.

· GENDER EXPRESSION: How a person expresses their gender daily and within the appropriateness of their culture or society.

o Example: Choice of clothes, hair, voice, or make-up.

·  GENDER IDENTITY: An individual’s core sense of their own gender.

o Example: A cisgender male identifying as male or a transgender male identifying as male.

· GENDER INCONGRUENCE: A diagnostic term that describes the disconnect between a person’s gender identity and the gender expected of them based on their birth-assigned sex.

o Example: A transgender male feeling and/or identifying as a male that was assigned female at birth.

· GENDER DYSPHORIA: The emotional distress occurring when an individual’s gender identity differs from that assigned at birth.

o Example: distress when a transgender male gets his period every month.

· CISGENDER: Individuals whose gender identity parallels their sex assigned at birth.

o Example: Someone born a male also identifies as a male.

· NONBINARY: Individuals with gender identities outside of the gender binary.

o Example: An individual that does not identify as male, female, or transgender.

· MISGENDERING: When language is used that does not reflect the gender that the person identifies.

o Example: The mother of a transgender male states their “daughter” rather than their “son” during a phone conversation.

· SEXUAL ORIENTATION: A person’s sexual identity, attractions, and behaviors with people based on their gender(s) and/or sex characteristics and those of their partners.

o Examples: Heterosexual/Straight, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual.

As this blog grows, stay tuned for more in-depth information concerning sexual orientation and gender identity, transgender standards of care, and how to support your LGBTQ youth. Statistics do not lie – support and community are vital.

If you are located in Florida, consider reaching out to local support.

Avatar Katelyn Bourque

Written by Katelyn Bourque

Katelyn Bourque is a therapist in Florida who specializes in individual therapy.