The Meaning of LGBT: What It Is and How To Use It

What does it mean to be LGBT? This article will define the meaning of LGBT and teach you how to use it. Read on to learn all about the LGBT community!

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Are you or anyone that you know a member of the LGBT community? This article will teach you what each letter of the acronym LGBT stands for. Then, it will cover other terminology that is associated with the LGBT community. Finally, you will learn how to use the acronym LGBT in a sentence. 

What Does the Word LGBT Mean?

According to LGBT Resource Center, the term LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. People often refer to the LGBT community as one in which a person’s sexual identity or sexual activity falls outside the traditional heterosexual, cisgender standards.

The acronym LGBT is an umbrella term to describe people who have a sexual orientation or gender identity that isn’t heterosexual or cisgender. 

Sometimes, the abbreviation LGBT is lengthened to LGBTQ or LGBTQIA to include people who are queer, intersex, and asexual. Other times, people simply write LGBT+ to make sure that their usage is inclusive.

The Letter L

In the acronym LGBT, the letter L stands for lesbian. A lesbian is a woman who experiences sexual and romantic attraction to women and only women. This term can also be defined as a non-man who only experienced sexual and romantic attraction to non-men. With this secondary definition, people who are nonbinary are also included.

The Letter G

In the abbreviation LGBT, G stands for gay. Often, the word gay is an umbrella term for people who experience same gender attraction. However, it can also specifically reference men who are attracted to other men romantically and sexually. 

The Letter B

The letter B stands for bisexual in the acronym LGBT. Often, anyone who is sexually and romantically attracted to more than one gender (including people who are pansexual or biromantic) fall under the letter B. 

Some people use the terms bisexual and pansexual interchangeably, while others feel there is a difference. Either way, people whoa re bisexual and pansexual experience attraction to more than one gender identity.

The Letter T

T stands for transgender in the acronym LGBT. Transgender people are people who don’t identify with the gender identity or sex characteristics that they were assigned at birth. The term trans (or transgender) can also encompass other gender identities such as people who are genderqueer, two-spirit, agender, gender fluid, or bigender. In addition, people who are trans might show their gender expression in a different way than someone who is cisgender.

What Are Other Terms That You Might Hear in the LGBTQ Community?

You have just learned many different words that the LGBT community uses by learning what each letter of the acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. However, there are so many more terms that the LGBT community uses! 

See how many of these LGBT terms you know, listed below from  LGBTQIA Health Education and OK2BME:

  •  Binding
  •  Straight
  •  Tucking
  •  Gender non-conforming
  •  Disorders of Sex Development
  •  Coming out
  •  Aromantic
  •  Drag
  •  Transfeminine
  •  Assigned sex at birth
  •  Cross-sex hormone therapy
  •  Men who have sex with men and/or women who have sex with women (MSM/WSW)
  •  Polyamorous
  •  Pansexual
  •  Top surgery
  •  Structural stigma
  •  Bisexual
  •  Gender identity
  •  Asexual
  •  Gender binary

How Can the Word LGBT Be Used in a Sentence?

Often, the term LGBT is used as an adjective. For example, the term LGBT might describe people, a community, or even a center in which LGBT people can find resources for housing, employment, and more. In place of the term LGBT, you might sometimes see the terms gay, queer, LGBTQ, and LGBTQIA. 

As you read the below sentences, see if you can figure out how to use the term LGBT as an adjective. Then, try coming up with your own sentences that use LGBT as an adjective. Make sure that you do not use the term LGBT to describe another person unless they have told you that is okay.

Example #1: An LGBT Benefit

Our company partnered with the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD in support of LGBT people and gay rights for our Pride Month campaign. We didn’t want to rainbow-wash our message and wanted to make sure that we were actually benefiting queer people.

Example #2: An LGBT Ally

As an ally of the LGBT community, I believe that a person’s chromosomes do not have to dictate their gender norms. No matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, any person has the right to live whatever life they want to live.

Example #3: An LGBT Relationship vs. A Straight Relationship

Bisexual people are still a part of the LGBT community, even if they are in an opposite gender loving relationship. Just because their relationship appears straight does not mean that they themselves are straight.

Example #4: Variety in the LGBT Community

Within the LGBT community, some people experience more stigma than others. For example, Black trans women often struggle with mental health and are some of the most at-risk people in the community. As their friends, we need to make sure that we stand up for them.


Overall, LGBT is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. This acronym is an umbrella term for the queer community and anyone who falls outside of the supposed gender binary. Some variations on the term LGBT include LGBTQ and LGBTQIA. 

Do you know anyone who is in the LGBT community? If you are a member of the LGBT community, be proud!


  1. General Definitions | UCSF LGBT Resource Center 
  2. Glossary of LGBT Terms for Health Care Teams | LGBTQIA Health Education
  3. What Does LGBT+ Mean? | OK2BME