Skip to content

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*+

We use the term LGBTQ+ to cover people who are not heterosexual and/or who are not cisgender. The ‘+’ ensures all gender identities and sexual orientations are included. You can read what these terms mean below.


No one really knows what influences our sexuality but every single one of us has a sexual orientation and who we are attracted to is not something we’re in control of or can choose.

Some people fancy the same gender as them (and are commonly described as gay or homosexual), some people fancy the opposite gender to them (heterosexual), some people fancy all genders (pansexual), some people don’t fancy anyone (asexual)! Sexuality is as diverse as people are.

Here are some terms you may have heard of, and what they mean:

Heterosexual Expand

Women who only fancies men, or a man who only fancies women is called heterosexual.

Homosexual (gay/lesbian) Expand

People who are homosexual are attracted to the same sex (men fancy men and women fancy women). Homosexual men are often called gay and homosexual women are often called lesbians but can also be called gay.

Bisexual or bi Expand

People who are bisexual are attracted to both men and women

Pansexual Expand

Pansexual people are people attracted to people regardless of their gender.

Asexual (or ace) Expand

People who are asexual or ace don’t feel sexually attracted to anyone and feel no desire to have sex.

Queer Expand

The word queer is a term covering all non-straight sexualities. It was originally used as an insult, but now some people choose to call themselves queer because they don’t feel like other labels for sexuality fit them properly.


Trans*: Trans is a latin word that means ‘across’ or ‘on the other side of’. It’s used in this context because of the words transgender and transexual which doctors used to use to talk about situations where people disagree with the gender they’ve been given. Transexual is quite an old fashioned term now, but transgender is still used, to describe people who move from one gender to another.

You’ll find people referring to themselves as transmen – who are men who were expected to be women when they were born, and as transwomen – who are women who were expected to be men.

Cisgender: cisgender refers to someone for whom their gender and biological sex are the same.

Contraception Contraception
Pregnancy Pregnancy

Need to speak to someone?

If you need further advice, or if this page hasn’t answered your questions then get in contact with your local bSHaW Sexual Health Clinic for a friendly chat.

Call 0300 303 2880 to book an appointment or use our service finder to locate your nearest clinic.

Service Finder