Decoding LGBTQIAP+ Spectrum Beyond The Terms

Published by Nida Sabiha on

From a young age, our exposure to education and media has only introduced us to the only socially acceptable sexuality and genders. It’d get so difficult for so many of us to fit in the boxes they gave us. Pretending to be who we are not for so long, the internet-connected people who always felt a bit out of place, realizing that nothing about them is abnormal and that they are just people with preferences and identities that don’t conform with the social standards. In the recent decade, there has been an increase in dialogue, yet the misinformation and confusion continue to persist. With so many different individuals and an ever-expanding spectrum where people have stopped defining themselves in black and white terms and no proper guidance, makes it complicated for people to understand a few basic differences and terms. In this article, I will try to explain the basic terms in the easiest way possible.

Let’s begin with understanding the difference between sexuality, sex and gender. 

Sexuality is what your sexual or romantic experiences are with other people. Sex pertains to biological characteristics whereas gender is an interpersonal and psychological perception of one’s own identity. Over the years sex and gender have been used interchangeably because no one us about how sometimes your understanding ding of gender might not line up with your biological sex and that’s okay. As we move forward, their uses are becoming more distinct yet people can’t really understand the difference. 

Sex is more defined as it is a classification based on biological differences. But the taboo arises when people believe that sex is binary because of the lack of education. The grey area of sexes – intersex people are conveniently left out of the media and biology textbooks or may be given a small corner. Sex in itself isn’t just two or three boxes where you can fit people in, every intersex person is different. It’s like a continuous spectrum.
It’s harder to define gender since it is more of one’s own identity. Gender was initially the part someone played culturally and in society but now people refuse to be identified with the stereotypes of genders they identify with. Now, gender has become an interpersonal relation a person shares with themselves. Some choose to identify themselves with gender, some can’t relate to any of the genders, some don’t identify with the sex they were assigned at birth and all of it is valid. 


Let’s dive deeper into the different types of gender terms that people identify with:
Cisgender – anyone who identifies with the sex they were assigned at birth 
Transgender – someone whose gender identity doesn’t line up with the sex they were assigned at birth
Agender – a person who doesn’t identify themselves as to having any gender whatsoever
Genderqueer – a person who likes to break stereotypes, not conform with the binary, play around with the genders to have a political impact and might identify as neither or both genders.
Gender fluid – someone who feels that the gender they identify can vary from time to time. They can identify as a male today and a female tomorrow and non-binary the next day.
Non-binary an umbrella term for people who just don’t identify with the binary of males or females.

Now that we have established the difference between sexuality, sex and genders while also learned a few basic gender identities let’s move to sexual orientation. Even the most informed people have used sexuality and sexual orientation interchangeably. If sexuality is your sexual and romantic experiences with other people, sexual orientation is the pattern in your romantic and sexual behaviours. For example, even if you are attracted to people of different sex, you can’t really be intimate with them unless you form a deep emotional connection. This pattern of behaviour comes under the term demisexual. This is your sexual orientation.
Let’s go through a few different sexual orientations:
Demisexual – someone who feels attracted to only those they have an emotional bond with
Polyamorous – someone who is involved in a relationship with more than one person with the consent of all parties
Sapiosexual – a person who feels attracted to people with good intellect
Scoliosexual – someone who is primarily attracted to non-binary, transgender, genderqueer, gender fluid, agender people.
Asexual – someone who doesn’t experience a sexual attraction or maybe has a low interest in sexual activity.
With a basic understanding of genders and sexual orientations let’s decode the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum!
L – Lesbian – a person who identifies as a woman and feels attracted to a women
G – Gay – an umbrella term for anyone who feels attracted to the same gender as the one they identify with. It is mostly used for anyone who identifies themselves as a man and feels attracted to other men.
B – Bisexual – someone who feel attracted to any of the various genders 
T – Transgender – as we have established earlier, transgender is a person who doesn’t identify with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Q – Queer – someone who doesn’t want to identify or label themselves with any of the sexual identities
I – Intersex – a person whose biological sex doesn’t fit in the “typical” definition of binary males and females.
A – Asexual – as mentioned previously, an asexual person is someone who doesn’t experience a sexual attraction or maybe has a low interest in sexual activity.
P – Pansexual – a person who feels attracted to someone irrespective of their gender.
+ denotes the ever-expanding spectrum.

The labels and titles might seem redundant, but they are not. It helps people find an identity and similar people to themselves giving them a sense of security that they aren’t different, whatever they are feeling is normal and valid.

Categories: Spotlight