The letters LGBTQ+ stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.The + is an inclusive way of representing all other sexual orientations and gender identities.
We estimate that 6-10% of the population in Ireland identifies as LGBTQ+. This means that LGBTQ+ people are in your classroom, sports team, neighbourhood and community.
There isn’t one thing that makes someone straight or LGBTQ+. But remember, all orientations and identities are valid. Everyone deserves to be who they truly are.
- Sexual orientation is a term used to describe someone’s emotional, romantic and sexual attraction to other people.
- The word ‘gay’ is often used to describe someone who is attracted to the same gender.
- Gender refers to roles, behaviours, expressions and identities of girls, women, boys, and men that are created by society.
- Gender identity is our deeply felt internal experience of our own gender. Gender identity refers to how we feel inside.
- For many adults growing up in Ireland, gender was binary (made up of two things) and people were traditionally male or female; that is to say, ‘cisgender man’ or ‘cisgender woman’.
- Cisgender is a term for people whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth. Cisgender is the opposite term to transgender.
- Transgender is a term describing when a person’s gender identity that does not match their assigned sex at birth.
- Gender identity is not confined to a binary (girl/woman, boy/man) nor is it fixed. It exists along a continuum and can change over time.
If you would like to know more about LGBTQ+ identities, a good place to start is to learn some of the key concepts and understand what the letters in LGBTQ+ stand for. You can find more information about language and terminology here.
Whether someone in your family has come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ+), or you think your child may be LGBTQ+, you have come to the right place.
We know that it can be tough on a parent when their child comes out. Your child has probably come to terms with their sexual orientation or gender identity and felt comfortable enough about it to ‘come out’ to you. Now it’s your turn to deal with this in the best way that you can. Give yourself time to come to terms with the new situation. While you do this, be mindful that your child needs your support now more than ever. Take time to consider what you say and how this might impact on your child emotionally.
Remember that this is not a ‘lifestyle choice’. Your child’s sexual orientation or gender identity is inherent and nothing you did, or didn’t do, made them LGBT+. You can’t make someone be different to who they are meant to be, but you can support them and help them to accept themselves for who they are.