You may see some combination of the letters LGBTTQA. They stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, questioning, and ally.
||Sexual orientation where a female is attracted to other females
||Sexual orientation where a male is attracted to other males
||Sexual orientation where a person is attracted to both sexes—male to female or male; female to male or female
|Transgender or transsexual
||A person born with a female body feels like a male; a person born with a male body feels like a female. This is about gender identity and gender expression, rather than sexual orientation. A female in a male body may be attracted to males or other females; a male in a female body may be attracted to females or other males.
||First Nations people who may be lesbian, gay, transgendered, or other gendered.
||A person who is unsure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
||A non-LGBTTQ person who supports and stands up for the rights of LGBTTQ people.
In our society, LGBTTQ people may feel pressure to be straight. They often deny or hide their sexual orientation and gender identity because of cultural taboos and social attitudes. In some families and communities people disrespect, bully, or are violent towards LGBTTQ people.
LGBTTQ teens may think they must pretend to feel things they don’t really feel, or to be something they are not. In other words, they may feel like they have to live a lie; that they have to hide their true self, even from family and friends.
At the same time, our society is learning to respect and be more open to different sexual orientation and gender identity. Coming out is when LGBTTQ people talk about their sexual orientation and gender identity. They may tell only family and close friends, or they may be very public about it.
Support of family, friends, and community is essential. LGBTTQ teens who lack support are more at risk of things such as dropping out of school, using drugs and alcohol, depression, and suicide.
We must learn to respect and support all people, no matter their sexual orientation and gender identity.