Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender
LGBT is shorthand for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. The “LGB” in this term refers to sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is defined as an often enduring pattern of emotional, romantic and/or sexual attractions of men to women or women to men (heterosexual), of women to women or men to men (homosexual), or by men or women to both sexes (bisexual). It also refers to an individual’s sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, related behaviors and membership in a community of others who share those attractions and behaviors. Some people who have same-sex attractions or relationships may identify as “queer,” or, for a range of personal, social or political reasons, may choose not to self-identify with these or any labels.
The "T" in LGBT stands for transgender or gender non-conforming, and is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity or gender expression does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. Some who do not identify as either male or female prefer the term “genderqueer.” While it is important to understand that sexual orientation and gender identity are not the same thing, they do both reflect differing forms of gender norm transgression and share an intertwined social and political history.
Adapted from “Answers to Your Questions for a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality,” “Answers to your Questions About Transgender People, Gender Identity and Gender Expression” and the APA’s U.S. v. Windsor amicus brief.
Understanding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Answers to Your Questions For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality
This pamphlet is designed to provide accurate information for those who want to better understand sexual orientation and the impact of prejudice and discrimination on those who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. Available in simplified and traditional Chinese, English, Spanish and Russian.
Transgender People, Gender Identity and Gender Expression
Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity (sense of themselves as male or female) or gender expression differs from that usually associated with their birth sex. Available in Arabic, simplified and traditional Chinese, English, Spanish and Russian.
Report of the APA Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation
California legislation cites APA report on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation.
Just the Facts about Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators and School Personnel
Just the Facts provides information and resources for principals, educators and school personnel who confront sensitive issues involving gay, lesbian and bisexual students. Available in English and Spanish.
Sólo los hechos sobre la orientación sexual y la juventud: Una guía para directores de escuelas, educadores y personal escolar
Sólo los Hechos ofrece información y recursos para directores de escuelas, educadores y personal educativo que encuentren cuestiones delicadas relacionadas con estudiantes gays, lesbianas y bisexuales
Answers to Your Questions About Same-Sex Marriage
Scientists have found that the psychological and social aspects of committed relationships between same-sex partners largely resemble those of heterosexual partnerships, that living in a state where same-sex marriage is outlawed can lead to chronic social stress and mental health problems, and that same-sex couples are as fit and capable parents as heterosexual couples.
APA LGBT Resources and Publications
APA has produced many resources to educate the public, support the work of psychologists and inform public policy about LGBTI people and their lives and health needs.
Practice Guidelines for LGB Clients
These guidelines provide practitioners with a frame of reference for the treatment of lesbian, gay and bisexual clients, and basic information and further references in the areas of assessment, intervention, identity, relationships and the education and training of psychologists.
Related APA Publications
APA Offices and Programs
Office on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
The mission of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns Office is to advance psychology as a means of improving the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as a means of increasing understanding of gender identity and sexual orientation as aspects of human diversity, and as a means of reducing stigma, prejudice, discrimination and violence toward LGBT people.