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2SLGBTQIA+ – What You Need to Know

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2SLGBTQIA is an acronym for Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questing, Intersex, and Asexual. Each term refers to a different sexual orientation or gender identity. A person’s sexual orientation and gender identity (often referred to as SOGI) is unique to that person.  No matter how you identify, you are important, special and deserve to celebrate who you are.

What are sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI)?

Sexual orientation (SO) describes how one person is attracted to another person. This feeling can be emotional, sexual, romantic and physical.  Examples of sexual orientation are homosexual (gay) or heterosexual (straight).

Gender identity (GI) is a person’s internal and individual experience of gender. A person’s gender identity can be the same or different than the sex assigned to them at birth (male or female). It is a person’s sense of being a woman, man, both or neither.

What does 2SLGBTQIA+ mean?

2SLGBTQIA is an acronym and each letter stands for a different sexual orientation or gender identity:

  • 2S is for Two Spirit. An identity used by some indigenous people who have both masculine and feminine spirits. It is a deeply spiritual experience tied to their culture and the term should only be held by those who are indigenous.
  • L is for Lesbian, a person who identifies as a woman who is physically, sexually, romantically or emotionally attracted to other women.
  • G is for Gay, a person who identifies as a man who is physically, sexually, romantically or emotionally attracted to other men. The term can also be used to describe people attracted to someone of the same gender.
  • B is for Bisexual, a person who has an emotional, romantic or sexual attraction for a person of more than one gender.
  • T is for Transgender. The term describes a person whose gender identity does not match their biological sex assigned at birth.
  • Q is for Queer or Questioning, the process of exploring one’s own sexual orientation. It is a term used proudly by some people to defy gender or sexual rules. Everyone does not use the term, and some think it is offensive.
  • I stands for Intersex, a term used to describe a person whose physical sex characteristics or chromosomes do not fit into typical medical definitions of male or female.
  • A stands for Asexual, a person who generally does not experience sexual attraction (or very little) to any person or group of people.
  • + is for all the gender identities and sexual orientations that are not included in the 2SLGBTQIA acronym.

What if I Identify as 2SLGBTQIA+ or I am unsure?

First, the most important thing to know is that questioning or learning more about how you identify is normal. Your feelings and what you’re thinking is okay. Some people have been sure of their SOGI for a long time, others may not know, and some are still learning. For example, you may have dreams or thoughts about someone that is the same or different gender than you. No matter how you feel or what you think, those feelings are a natural and wonderful part of finding out who you are.

Discovering who you are and how you identify is an exciting part of life. Finding support is helpful when you have questions. If you have a trusted friend in your life, reach out to them and talk about your feelings. If you are looking to meet others that identify as 2SLGBTQIA+, search for local community groups. A great online resource that can help you is The Trevor Project, an organization that supports the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.