This resource was developed as a place to start to obtain a basic knowledge on LGBTQIA+ identities, terminology, considerations, and resources. We encourage you to continue your own research of ways you can be an accomplice for and amplify the voices of these communities throughout the year. If you have any suggestions to add, please contact COTAD or add it to the padlet at the bottom of the page. Click here to download pdf of resources.
Start here: Definitions
Gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation
Gender identity is defined by the Human Rights Campaign as the “innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves.” It can mirror what a person was assigned at birth or be entirely different. It can also change over time and be viewed as a spectrum. (for example: cisgender, transgender, gender non-binary, gender fluid, gender non-conforming)
Gender expression can be defined as the external appearance of one's gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.
Sexual orientation describes a person's enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person (for example: straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual)
People often perceive that gender identity and sexual identity/ sexual orientation intersect. However, they are two separates entities that we must work to unhinge from one another.
LGBTQIA+ and beyond
‘L’ represents Lesbian. The term or identity Lesbian describes an individual that identifies as a woman (yes, both cis and/or trans) and is primarily emotionally, physically, sexually, and/or spiritually attracted to women.
‘G’ represents Gay. The term or identity gay, describes an individual that identifies as a man (yes, both cis and/or trans) and is primarily emotionally, physically, sexually, and/or spiritually attracted to men. The term Gay is also used generally to describe individuals who are primarily emotionally, physically, sexually, and/or spiritually attracted to those of the same sex and/or gender.
‘B’ represents Bisexual (Bi). The term or identity Bisexual describes individuals who are emotionally, physically, sexually, and/or spiritually attracted to more than one gender.
‘T’ represents Transgender (Trans). The term or identity Transgender describes individuals whose gender identity is different from the gender assumed at birth. You may see the acronyms AMAB or AFAB associated with trans individuals. AMAB is the abbreviation for assumed male at birth. AFAB is the abbreviation for assumed female at birth.
MTF: The term MTF is terminology for ‘male to female’, indicating one who was biologically born male transitioning to female.
FTM: The term FTM is terminology for ‘female to male’, indicating one who was biologically born female transitioning to male.
‘Q’ represents Queer OR Questioning. The term or identity Queer is an umbrella term for people who don’t identify as heterosexual and/or cisgender. Queer is also used interchangeably with the acronym’s LGBT, LGBTQIA, LGBTQIA+, etc., to represent the community. However, Queer is not always a preferred term or identity for those within the LGBTQIA+ community, due to is historical use as a derogatory term.
‘I’ represents Intersex. Intersex is a term for a combination of chromosomes, hormones, sex organs, or genitals that differs from the male/female binary. For example, a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside. A person may be born with mosaic genetics, so that some of her cells have XX chromosomes and some of them have XY. Intersex is often thought of as an inborn condition, though intersex anatomy doesn’t always show up at birth. Sometimes a person isn’t found to have intersex anatomy until they reach the age of puberty or finds themself as an infertile adult. Some people live and die with intersex anatomy without anyone (including themselves) ever knowing.
‘A’ represents Asexual. The term or identity Asexual, describes individuals who experienced little or no sexual attraction to others and/or lack of interest in sexual relationships and/or behaviors. Asexual is also used as an umbrella term, for additional identities within the spectrum of sexual orientation. People who consider themselves asexual may have relationships, but they would not have the interest in adding a sexual component to the relationship. Individuals that identify as asexual can and do have romantic relationships with others.
➕ represents the inclusion of all identities within the LGBTQIA+ community. The ➕ represents identities, genders, and orientations that fall under umbrella terms used within and outside of the LGBTQIA+ acronym. Some (but not all) of the identities represented by the ➕ may include: Pansexual, Fluidity, and Demisexual.
Pansexual (Pan) refers someone who is emotionally, physically, spiritually, and sexually attracted to all gender identities.
Fluidity (or Gender Fluid) refers to a gender identity that may shift or change over time.
Demisexual is a term or identity that represents an individual that has little or no sexual attraction to another individual, unless there is romantic connection/involvement. This term or identity is mostly considered to be under the umbrella of Asexuality, though some view it separately.
‘GQ’ represents Gender Queer. The term or identity Gender Queer is an umbrella term for those who identify as Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) or Non-Binary. It is a gender identity label that is used by those who may identify outside of the societal gender binary (male/female).
Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) is an identity or gender expression by an individual that does not match expected/societal masculine or feminine gender norms.
The term or identity Non-Binary (NB) describes an individual who does not identify with the assumed gender binary, male or female. It includes a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine. Many references use the term transgender to include genderqueer and non-binary people, however not everyone genderqueer or non-binary person may identify under the transgender umbrella.
2S represents Two-Spirit. “Two-spirit” refers to a person who identifies as having both a masculine and a feminine spirit and is used by some Indigenous people to describe their sexual, gender and/or spiritual identity. As an umbrella term it may encompass same-sex attraction and a wide variety of gender variance, including people who might be described in Western culture as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, gender queer, or who have multiple gender identities. You may see the acronym LGBTQ2S+ used as well to include those who identify as 2S.
C represents Cisgender (cis). The term or identity Cisgender is a gender description for when someone’s sex assigned at birth and gender identity/ personal identity correspond in the “expected” way.
Important language considerations
When advocating, organizing, mobilizing, and protesting, it is important to be mindful of the language we use when speaking, amplifying, and empowering. To be most inclusive of all people regardless of their sexual identity and gender identity, language must be considered when referring to groups of people. Do your best to avoid gendered words like mother, father, brother, sister, he, she, man, woman, and instead incorporate more neutral terms like family, parent, sibling, they, person, individual. One should avoid assuming and individuals’ gender or sexual identity and understand that expression or external factors do not always intersect with one’s identity. The language that we use in impactful and without thought it is harmfully easy to exclude groups of people simply with the language we choose to use. In order to be most inclusive of our trans, non-binary, gender fluid, non-conforming, and gender variant BIPOC individuals, we must do our best to use neutral and inclusive language.
Instead of: “to all of my brothers and sisters”
Try: “to all of my siblings”
Instead of: “we fight for men and women”
Try: “we fight for all people”
Pronouns refer specifically to people who are being talked about or to. Pronouns are a part of our identity; we all have and use them. Common pronouns are they/them/theirs, he/him/his, she/her/hers. Do not assume someone’s pronouns based on their external appearance. It is always best to share your pronouns and ask someone what their pronouns are at the beginning of a conversation or interaction. Easy ways to share your pronouns and normalize the use of pronouns are to include them in your social media bio, email signature, LinkedIn profile, and to wear a pin or sticker at meetings or conferences.
BIPOC Specific LGBTQIA+ Resources
Resources for learning
Black Trans TV: A digital media platform used to promote unity and dismantle the idea that Black queer/trans folx exist separately from the black community.
Zuna Institute: A National Advocacy Organization for Black Lesbians that was created to address the needs of black lesbians in the areas of Health, Public Policy, Economic Development, and Education.
The National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition (NBGMAC): The NBGMAC is committed to improving the health and well-being of Black gay men through advocacy that is focused on research, policy, education and training.
The National Center for Black Equity: connects members of the Black LGBTQ+ community with information and resources to empower their fight for equity and access.
Black Transmen: A a nonprofit organization focused on social advocacy and empowering trans men with resources to aid in a healthy transition.
Incite!: A national activist organization of trans and gender nonconforming people of color working to end violence against individuals and communities through direct action, dialogue, and grassroots organizing.
Know Your Rights Camp: Works to advance the liberation and well-being of black and brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization, and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders.
The BQI Collective: Black Queer & Intersectional Collective is a grass-roots community organization that works towards the liberation of Black queer, trans, and intersex people through direct action, community organizing, education, and creating spaces to uplift our voices.
UCSC QTBIPOC: Queer & Trans Black, Indigenous, People of Color Resource Page.
Resources for individuals
The Okra Project: Collective that seeks to address the global crisis faced by Black Trans people by bringing home-cooked meals and resources to the community.
HBTW Fund: The Homeless Black Trans Woman Funs is a fund for the community of Black Trans women that live in Atlanta and are sex workers and/or homeless.
South Asian Sexual & Mental Health Alliance (SASMHA): SASMHA’s goal is to fight cultural stigmas, educate, and empower the South Asian American community by providing resources on issues most important to us, from sex and sexuality to mental health. They also have a podcast.
Queer the Land: A collaborative project that works towards the liberation of Black queer, trans, and intersex people through direct action, community organizing, education, and creating spaces to uplift our voices.
Princess Janae Place: PJP provides referrals to housing for chronically homeless LGBTQ adults in the New York Tri-state area, with direct emphasis on Trans/GNC people of color.
Emergency Release Fund: Ensures that no trans person at risk in NYC jails remains in detention before trial. If cash bail is set for a trans person in NYC and no bars to release are in place, bail will be paid by the Emergency Release Fund.
Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko: A grass roots organization for African Indigenous Black trans and queer folx that is feeding those who have been made even more vulnerable by COVID-19. RSM is in need of donations.
House of GG: Creating safe and transformative spaces for community to heal, and nurturing them into tomorrow’s leaders, focusing on trans women of color in the south.
The Starfruit Project: The Starfruit Project supports radical healing and brilliant growth through creative writing and performance programs that center queer and trans people of color. Offerings are for practicing artists, budding artists, and anyone seeking support on their journey toward healing and growth.
The Black Trans Advocacy Coalition: A National organization led by Black trans people to collectively address the inequities faced in the black transgender human experience.
The Marsha P. Johnson Institute: Defends the rights of Black transgender people.
National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network: A network committed to transforming mental health for queer and trans people of color.
Brave Space Alliance: A Black-led, Trans-led LGBTQ Center working on the South Side of Chicago. @bracespacealliance
SNAPCO: Builds power of Black Trans and queer people to force systemic divestment from the prison industrial complex and invest in community support.
The Brown Boi Project: a community of masculine center womxn, men, two-spirit people, transmen, and our allies committed to transforming our privilege of masculinity, gender, and race into tools for achieving racial and gender justice. Located in Oakland, CA.
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC): A civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. NBJC’s mission is to end racism and homophobia.
Black Trans Travel Fund: Works on providing resources to Black trans women to be able to access safe transportation and travel alternatives.
TGI Justice Project: A group of transgender, gender variant, and intersex people – inside and outside of prisons, jails, and detention center – fighting against human rights abuses, imprisonment, police violence, racism, poverty, and societal pressures
The National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN): The NQTTCN is a healing justice organization that actively works to transform mental health for queer and trans people of color in North America. Together we build the capacity of QTPoC (queer and trans people of color) mental health practitioners, increase access to healing justice resources, provide technical assistance to social justice movement organizations to integrate healing justice into their work. Our overall goal is to increase access to healing justice resources for QTPoC.
Black Visions Collective: a trans- and queer-led social-justice organization and legal fund based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Black AIDS Institute: Working to end the Black HIV epidemic through policy, advocacy and high-quality direct HIV servicers.
The LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund: posts bail to secure the safety and liberty of people in jail and immigration detention.
Trans Women of Color Collective: A network of dedicated cultivating sustainable projects for and by transgender women of color.
For the Gworls: raises money to assist with Black trans people’s rent & affirmative surgeries.
Black Trans Femmes in the Arts: A collective of Black trans women and non-binary femmes who are dedicated to creating space for Black trans femmes in the arts. @btfacollective
By Us For Us: A collective of queer, femme, and non-binary Black and POC artists and organizers. @Bufu_byusforus
General LGBTQIA+ Resources
Resources for learning
The Trevor Project: The Trevor Project’s Trainings for Professionals include in-person Ally and CARE trainings designed for adults who work with youth. These trainings help counselors, educators, administrators, school nurses, and social workers discuss LGBTQ-competent suicide prevention.
Healthy People 2020: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health
Sex and Intimacy OT: Our mission is to dismantle restrictive norms related to sexuality and intimacy which limit clients and limit ourselves. We strive to promote understanding, respect, and empowerment for individuals as sexual beings.
Sex Love and OT: a sexuality, mental health, and OT advocate, writer, and practitioner. Dr. Tickoo works as a school-based OT in Mumbai, however her work is not limited to kids. Dr. Tickoo’s work explores the integration of sexuality in OT practices for people of all ages.
The Rainbow OT: An non-binary occupational therapist who advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community through education, inclusion, and representation.
The LGBT OT: resource for LGBT+ specific OT practice and clients. By: Jadyn Sharber, MSOT, OTR/L.
LGBTData.com serves as a no-cost, open-access clearinghouse for the collection of sexual orientation & gender identity data and measures. (By Dr. Randall Sell).
LGBTQIA+ Educational Podcast Episodes:
COTAD Media YouTube Playlist: LGBTQIA+ Terminology, tips, etiquette
COTAD Media YouTube Playlist: LGBTQIA+ Moving Beyond the Basics
COTAD Conversations on FB Live, March 2020: Gender, Gender Expression and Occupation
COTAD Conversations, Oct. 2017: Supporting Trans/Gender Nonconforming OT Students and Practitioners
Resources for individuals
Trans Justice Funding Project: Community-led funding initiative to support grassroots trans justice groups run by and for trans people.
Transgender Law Center: offers legal resources to advance the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming people.
Reclaim: Resources for Queer and Trans youth.
The Transgender District: The transgender district aims to stabilize and economically empower the transgender community through ownership of homes, businesses, historic and cultural sites, and safe community spaces.
CHANGE: Promoting gender equality by advancing the sexual and reproductive health and rihts of women and girls worldwide.
National Center for Transgender Equality: advocates to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people. In the nation’s capital and throughout the country, NCTE works to replace disrespect, discrimination, and violence with empathy, opportunity, and justice.
Youth Breakout: Works to end the criminalization of the LGBTQ+ youth in New Orleans to build a safer and more just community.
Trans Cultural District: The world’s first-ever legally recognized Trans district, which aims to stabilize and economically empower the Trans community.
LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund: Posts bail LGBTQ people held in jail or immigrant detention and raises awareness of the epidemic LGBTA overincarceration.
The Network for LGBTQIA+ Occupational Therapists. The mission of the Network is to create the means for members of the occupational therapy professional community who are committed to advancing the understanding of sexual orientation to identify support, and mentor one another and promote research in occupational therapy.
The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging (SAGE) Advocacy for LGBT+ Adult and Elderly Populations.
GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality (previously known as the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association).
NALGAP: The Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Addiction Professionals and Their Allies is a membership organization founded in 1979 and dedicated to the prevention and treatment of alcoholism, substance abuse, and other addictions in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer communities.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is working with national and local organizations to endure the LGBT community get quality health insurance and health care information.
Ways To Get Involved
Create/provide a scholarship for Queer People of Color (QPOC) and members of the LGBTQIA+ community who are pursuing a career in a healthcare field
Donate personal funds or proceeds to LGBTQIA+ charities that provide assistance and opportunities to QPOC and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Continue to listen, amplify, and learn about the needs of QPOC. Do the work.
Support, include, and fund art, literature, businesses and services that benefit or are provided by QPOC and members of the LGBTQIA+ community
Credit the work of BIPOC, QPOC, and LGBTQIA+ individuals
Learn the difference between allyship and being an accomplice. Become an accomplice