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The ABC's of LGBTQ+ & Relationship Diversity

Updated: Feb 10

Following my Instagram posts over the last 2 Pride Months I wanted somewhere to put all of the ABC's of LGBTQ+ and Relationship Diversity in one place.

✨✨Reminder that these labels aren't always clear cut and may change over time. You do not have to use labels if you don't want to but some people find them useful in feeling themselves and understanding themselves better within the world as well as getting a better understanding of others. You know yourself better than anyone else so use the labels that feel right for you - no one else is able to tell you how to identify or gatekeep (even though some might try).✨✨



Attraction - there are many types of attraction - romantic, physical, sexual, intellectual, and emotional. You can experience one, some, or all types of attractions to any or specifically certain types of attraction towards certain genders. e.g. you could identify as sexually and physically attracted to all genders but only romantically attracted to women.

Asexual (Ace) - those who don't experience sexual attraction to any gender - though they may still enjoy having sex. This is also an umbrella term for the Asexual spectrum.

Aromantic (Aro) - those who experience little or no romantic attraction towards any gender. This is also an umbrella term for the Aromantic spectrum.

Allosexual - is to describe someone who experiences sexual attraction of any kind. It is an umbrella term to define anyone who isn't on the asexual spectrum.

Allosexism - defines the stereotypes and 'social norms' that sexual attraction is a normal thing to experience.

Androgynous - Showing both masculine and feminine presentation; either in features, behaviour, and/or societal roles.

Androgyny - A gender identity; it generally means identifying somewhere between masculine and feminine or it can mean having both a male and female gender.

Agender - can meant to not identify with a gender or to be gender neutral. It can also be used as an umbrella term for those who don't identify with a gender but fall under other labels.

Abrosexual - someone who's sexuality may change frequently.

AFAB - "assigned Female at Birth" i.e. being identified as female due to the genitalia presented at birth. Where gender is given based on assumed sex.

AMAB - "Assigned Male at Birth" - i.e. being identified as male due to the genitalia presented at birth. Where gender is given based on assumed sex.

AXAB - "Assigned X at Birth". For those born with intersex traits and most often used in cultures where non binary gender is recognised.

Ambiamorous - defined as having the ability to enjoy both monogamous or non-monogamous relationships.

Ally - an ally of the LGBTQ+ community is considered someone who is allosexual, cisgender, and heterosexual, therefore not included in the acronym. An ally, whilst not LGBTQ+ themselves, is someone who advocates and fights for LGBTQ+ rights as well as challenging: hate speech, harassment, erasure & societal stereotypes.


Bisexual (Bi) - an attraction to 2 or more genders - this is not limited to binary genders (i.e. men or women).

Bipolyam - someone who is bisexual and polyamorous

Bi erasure - where someone's bisexuality is ignored, questioned or denied, i.e. a bisexual man in a relationship with another man may be called gay even after stating they are bi.

Biphobia - similar to bi erasure; when someone discriminates towards someone who is bisexual through behaviour or speech relating to the negative stereotypes i.e. "it's just a phase", "so you're gay?", "you're 50% straight & 50% gay", "you're more likely to cheat", you're greedy" etc.

Butch - used to describe someone who is of masculine presentation. This is often related to Sapphic women, but can relate to any gender or sexuality.


Cisgender (Cis) - identifying wholly to the gender you were assigned at birth

Cisgenderless - identifying to the gender you were assigned at birth due to being perceived as that gender, however there is no strong leaning to the gender itself as an identity. If someone who is cisgenderless were to wake up as another gender they would most likely then identify as that current gender.

Coming Out - this is used to describe when someone reveals their gender or sexuality to other people in their lives.

Chosen Family - A chosen family is often used within the LGBTQ+ community and non-monogamy community to describe the friends and partners that they surround themselves with rather than necessarily their blood relatives.

Casual Relationship - this is a relationship that doesn't necessarily have 'traditional' boundaries. It might be known as 'friends with benefits (FWB)' or 'no strings attached'.

Compersion - this term is often used in non-monogamous relationships. It can be seen as the opposite of jealousy i.e. where you will feel happy, excited, joyous etc. for your partner and their other relationships.


Demisexual - this is a sexual orientation amongst the asexual spectrum. It often means that a sexual attraction isn't felt until there is an emotional connection with someone. Demisexual can go along with other sexualities e.g. being demibisexual

Demiromantic - Similarly to demisexual, this often means someone who doesn't feel a romantic attraction with someone until an emotional connection has been made.

Demigender - quoted from the "can be described those who feel the barest connections to a gender, but not enough to fully identify as that gender.....Demigender can also be an identity in itself, for people who feel a partial connection to the concept of gender in general". People may identify as another gender in combination with demigender e.g.

Demiboy - partially a man or partially masculine

Demifluid - partially fluid, with the other part being static

Demigirl - partially a woman or partially feminine

Demineutois - partially neutrois

Deminon-binary - partially non-binary

Demixenine - partially xenine or xenogender

Dysphoria - this can be in relation to gender when feeling a disconnect between who you are and the body you are in.

Deadnaming - using someone's birth name rather than their chosen name

Drag - This is generally a performance by adopting gendered behaviours and presentation. Drag isn't an indication of sexuality, gender, or sex identity.

Drag Queen - This is taking on a feminine persona for performance or expression

Drag King - This is taking on a masculine persona for performance or expression

DADT - Don't Ask Don't Tell, is a 'policy' used within some non-monogamous relationships in relation to not wanting to know information about other partners, i.e. if I don't ask about them, don't tell me.


Enboric - this is and umbrella term to describe attraction towards non-binary individuals. quote, "Enboric people can be exclusively attracted to non-binary people or they may be attracted to non-binary people along with other genders."

Expression Fluid - an expression of gender that may change rapidly or over time regardless of our gender. i.e. a cis man expressing femininity.

Ethical Non-monogamy (ENM) - an umbrella term to describe non-monogamous relationships that have been consented to by all involved. These relationships don't follow the structure of monogamy and can include, open relationships, polyamory, monogamish relationships, casual relationships etc.


Free Love - a way of having relationships which don't fit in to the social norms of relationships. The idea is that love is unrestricted by marriage, labels or commitment.

FTM - "Female to Male" is used when someone who was assigned female gender at birth has gender affirming surgery or has transitioned to Male. This is now seen as an outdated term as Trans man is preferred.

Femme - expression in a feminine way e.g. dressing in stereotypical female clothing, make-up, acting feminine etc.

Fluidity - where gender or sexuality aren't set in one identity and isn't binary. Having sexuality or gender that can shift within the spectrum.


Gay - means to be attracted to members of the same gender as yourself. However, this is also used as an all encompassing term for people who aren't straight.


Homosexual - not often used any more sue to the stigma that has been attached to it, but is a term to mean you're attracted to members of the same gender.

Homophobia - language or behaviour that is offensive, oppressive, or harmful towards someone who is gay/queer.

Heterosexual - or 'straight', to mean being attracted to members of the opposite gender.

Heteroflexible - someone who is predominantly attracted to the opposite gender but not exclusively.

Hierarchy (in non-monogamy) - where relationships have labels such as being a primary partner or secondary partner. This shows distinction between the relationships and can be seen as oppressive within polyamory communities where equality between relationships is promoted. However, it is a viable form of relationships where everyone involved is consenting and aware of the dynamics.


Intersex - Someone who is born where their sex characteristics are not, solely, traditionally male or female. - "variations may appear in a person's chromosomes, natural hormones, genitalia, gonads, secondary sex characteristics, or some combination of these things."


Joyfriend - a gender neutral term for referring to a partner.


Kitchen Table Polyamory - a style of polyamory where all partners can get along and share resources/have a 'family style' way of being together. This includes those in the polycule that aren't dating each other.


Lesbian - Women or non-binary people who are attracted to other women.

Lesbophobia - discrimination or aggression towards lesbians.


MTF - Now, mostly, considered an outdated term for someone who has transitioned from being Male to Female. If someone uses this to define themselves then this is still completely valid and relevant.

Misgender - This is when someone is labelled as a gender which is different to the one they are. e.g. this can be done by using incorrect pronouns or calling someone a man when they might be a trans woman.

Multigender - An umbrella term for those who might experience more than one gender i.e. someone who is genderfluid or bigender.

Monosexual - An umbrella term for sexualities which are attraction to one gender i.e. straight, lesbian, gay.

Multisexual - An umbrella term for sexualities which are attraction to more than one gender.

Mono - abbreviation for someone who is monogamous.

Monogamous - A romantic relationship which consists of two people exclusive to each other.

Metamour - Used as a term for your partners partner and is often shortened to meta.


Non-Monogamy - umbrella term for relationships that aren't monogamous.

Non-hierarchical Polyamory - A type of polyamory that sees partners on an equal footing.

New Relationship Energy (NRE) - describes the excitement in the early stages of a relationship

Non-Binary - Where someone's gender is not exclusively male or female, but somewhere else along the spectrum


Omnisexual - used to describe someone who can be attracted to all genders but may also have a preference.

Outed - used when someone else reveals our sexuality or gender to others.


Pansexual - attracted to people regardless of where they fall on the gender spectrum.

Panromantic - romantically attracted to people regardless of where they fall on the gender spectrum.

Pangender - someone who experiences many or all genders; the number of genders experienced may be unknown or may fluctuate.

Polysexual - attracted to many but not necessarily all genders.

Polyromantic - romantically attracted to many but not necessarily all genders.

Polygender - A person who has multiple gender identities.

Polyamorous/polyamory - having consensual in multiple intimate relationships.

Polyfidelity - someone who is in multiple relationships but closed off to any more.

Polygamy - Often seen as a term rooted patriarchal philosophy as it often refers to many marriages for men not women.

Polysaturated - when you have hit the maximum level of partners you can manage.

Pronouns - words used to refer to someone's gender identity i.e. her/him/them/xe.

Passing - can be used in the sense of gender or sexuality:

* a queer person might be in a 'straight passing' relationship with someone of the opposite gender.

* a trans person might want to 'pass' as the gender they have physically transitioned into

Platonic Partnership - can be used to describe an intimate relationship with individuals who are on the ace sexuality spectrum so not necessarily sexual relationship.

Primary partner - used to describe a main partner when in multiple relationships


Queer - Is a term that covers all non-heterosexual labels of orientation or gender. It was used as a slur but was taken back and embraced by members of the community in the 80's - though some still see the term as a slur.

QPOC - stands for Queer People of Colour

QTIPOC - stands for Queer, Trans, & Intersex People of Colour

Queerplatonic Relationship - "a close non-sexual, non-romantic relationship that is beyond what most would consider to be a friendship." - LGBT wiki

Queerbaiting - A manipulative marketing practice used to imply queerness is involved for publicity.

Questioning - A term used for when someone is unsure on or exploring their sexuality or gender.


Romantic Orientation - describes someone's romantic attraction towards other gender rather than their sexual attraction.

Relationship orientation - describes someone's preferred way of having a relationship i.e. polyamorous, open, monogamous, ambiamorous etc.

Relationship Anarchy (RA)- Is an approach to relationships. "Its values include autonomy, anti-hierarchical practices, lack of state control, anti-normativity, and community interdependence" - LGBT.WIKI.


Sex - Medical term for biological assignment which may be different to gender. This is often based on genitalia even though sex characteristics are a lot more complex than this. Scoliosexuality - an attraction to trans & non-binary individuals. Sapphic - relates to women who are attracted to other women, often referred to as women loving women (WLW) Sexual Orientation - relates to our general attraction towards other genders. Secondary partner - often used in hierarchical polyamorous relationships in conjunction with primary partners. The secondary partner might have their relationship as a lower 'status' to the primary relationship though this doesn't necessarily mean it is viewed as lesser and is still consensual with all involved.


Trans - is an umbrella term for someone who isn't the gender assigned to them at birth. Trans Woman - is a woman who has transitioned from being assigned male at birth. Trans Man- Is a man who has transitioned from being assigned female at birth Transfemme - is an umbrella term for someone who's trans and where their gender identity leans more towards feminine expression. Transmasc - is an umbrella term for someone who's trans and where their gender identity leans more towards masculine expression. Transition - is the process that someone goes through in order to express their gender when it is different from the assigned gender at birth. This may be via medical interventions, hormonal and/or clothing/external expression. Transition can also refer to 'coming out' to those in the individuals life. Transphobia - the discrimination or dislike towards trans people or someone who may be perceived as trans. This can include purposefully mis-gendering someone, using their deadname, refusing to accept their gender etc. Two-Spirit - This is strictly a Native American identity which refers to having both a masculine and feminine spirit. Triad - Often a closed polyamorous relationship involving three people. The combination of which could consist of multiple genders or all of the same gender. Trisexual - has multiple uses 1) to describe someone who has a preference for a relationship involving three people. 2) having an attraction to three genders 3) willing to try 'anything' sexually


Undetectable - used when HIV medication reduces the levels of HIV to a low level and it's unable to be passed on.

Unlabelled - Used when someone doesn't want to label their gender or sexuality in more specific terms. This could be for many reasons.


Vee - a term to describe a relationship involving three people; where one individual is intimately involved with the other two, but the two aren't intimately involved with each other. The relationship looks like a V where the central person is the 'hinge'.

Veto - used in non-monogamy relationships where one partner has the 'power' to end or 'veto' external relationships or boundaries of an external relationship of their partner. This is often seen as a 'red flag' in most non-monogamy relationships as it gives an unbalanced power dynamic.


Wibble (polywobble) - used when a partner has an 'emotional wobble' of insecurity or jealousy when seeing a partner with someone else. This is a human response and often means doing some internal reflection to understand what this means.

Women Loving Women (WLW) - is an umbrella term used when talking about bisexual, lesbian, pansexual, polysexual.... women and their attraction to other women.


Xenogender - A term for those who don't identify with any gender identities currently out there due to the current language not being able to encapsulate their identity. This is a non-binary gender identity outside of the binary of masculine and feminine.

Am I missing any? Let me know in the comments below :)

Are you a Therapist, Counsellor, Psychotherapist, or Mental Health Professional and want to know more about working with Non-Monogamous Clients? Check out my online course - here


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