LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender 

LGB all relate to sexual orientation.  However our name Dumfries and Galloway LGBT Plus  is a statement that we recognise that there are more sexual identities than LGB.  See further down (‘Sexual Orientation’) for more information.

Transgender is a broad term used to describe different gender identities.  The term transgender means ‘across gender’. Gender identity is about how a person feels, experiences themselves and how they express their gender.  Sexual orientation is a separate matter. See further down (‘Gender Identity’) for more information.

Dumfries & Galloway LGBT Plus recognises that issues relating to LGBT Plus identities affect more than the individuals themselves and offer a range of services to families, friends and communities.  Please contact us for more details.

We also are committed to supporting the legal rights of the LGBT Plus community. See further down (‘LGBT Rights’) for more information.

Sexual Orientation

L.G.B. stands for lesbian, gay and bisexual and experts estimate that around 5 – 10% of people in Scotland will fall into one of these groups, and that many more people will be affected in some way by LGB issues. Just like being straight (or heterosexual), being lesbian, gay or bisexual is about who you are attracted to and who you choose to form relationships with.Lesbian women are generally attracted to other women, gay men tend only to be attracted to other men and bisexual people can be attracted to people of any gender. Being L, G or B is no less ‘normal’ than being heterosexual, it’s just a little bit less common!

Gender Orientation

Transgender (Across Gender)We are continually given messages throughout our lives about what it means to be a girl or boy, woman or man. Families, friends, teachers, adverts and magazines tell us that we are supposed to look, dress, behave and feel a certain way just because we are biologically male or female. In reality though, people look, act and feel both masculine and feminine to varying degrees regardless of their physical body. Very rarely are we told that how we feel inside might be different to how we look on the outside. As a result, many people who feel like this grow up feeling worried, ashamed, scared, or just somehow different.

Transgender people are people whose gender identity – who they are internally or their ‘innate’ gender – is different to their physical body or the gender they were assigned at birth. The term transgender, however, describes a whole range of people and takes many forms from cross-dressers to transexuals to people who reject male and female genders altogether.

Gender identity is different from sexual orientation – who you are attracted to – and trans people can be heterosexual, lesbian, gay, or bisexual just as everyone else can be, or they may consider conventional sexual orientation labels inadequate or inapplicable to them.

It is currently common to use the terms transgender people or trans people as ‘umbrella’ terms to cover the many diverse ways in which people can find their personal experience of their gender differs from the assumptions and expectations of the society they live in.

As transgender people have become more widely known and written about, various terms have developed in an attempt to highlight similarities and differences.  However, individual people will still always view themselves, and experience their lives, in unique ways.

Some useful definitions:

  • Sex: refers to someone’s biological identity as a male or female – characterised by having male or female genitalia.
  • Gender: features of maleness or femaleness expressed through personal characteristics – society plays a large part in defining ‘acceptable’ male and female roles, though many of us feel that we don’t fit fully into either of these definitions. A personal feeling of maleness, femaleness, or being somewhere in between is known as gender identity.
  • Transgender: an umbrella term that we use to describe someone who does not conform to society’s view of being male or female. It includes a variety of gender identities and expressions, some of which are explained below.
  • Transsexual: a medical term used to describe people whose gender and biological sex are different, for example someone whose biological sex is female, but they identify as male gender.  Transsexual people often seek medical treatment to align their biological sex with their true gender.
  • MTF: male to female transsexual person.
  • FTM: female to male transsexual person.
  • Intersex: people born with chromosomal abnormalities or ambiguous genitalia (for example they may have an external penis, but internal female reproductive organs such as ovaries). At birth, doctors and parents often decide whether the infant should be male or female and then they get surgery to assign them this gender. They may develop issues with their gender identity as they grow up.

Other transgender identities include:

    • Drag queens
    • Drag kings
    • Cross-dresser
    • Androgyny – having both masculine and feminine characteristics, or also describes being neither male nor female
    • Anyone else who identifies as transgender
LGBT Rights

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Universal Declaration of Human rights (UDHR) Although most of us believe in this principle, in reality, LGBT people are not always treated equally because of prejudice and discrimination.  However over recent years, there have been many changes in legislation (or laws) giving LGBT people more of the rights to which they are entitled. This section of the website looks at some of these changes.Reforms in LegislationThere have been many reforms in legislation during the campaign for LGBT Equality.  Here are just some of the changes which have happened in legislation over the last few years.

  • 1980 – Decriminalisation of homosexuality in Scotland

The Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980 proclaimed: “Subject to the provisions of this section, a homosexual act in private shall not be an offence provided that the parties consent thereto and have attained the age of twenty-one years.” (Paragraph 80)

  • 2000 – Repeal of Section 28, a disriminatory policy which stopped teachers from talking about LGBT issues in schools

Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 stated: “(1) A local authority shall not— (a)intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality; (b)promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.” After a heated campaign in 2000, the section was repealed.

  • 2000 – Age of consent equalised in Scotland for young gay men

The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 amended various Acts and equalised the age of consent for young gay men.

The Act states: “A person of either gender who is aged at least 18 may make an application for a gender recognition certificate on the basis of – (a) living in the other gender, or (b) having changed gender under the law of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom.”

  • 2004 – The Civil Partnership Act allows for a civil partnership to have the same property rights as married opposite-sex couples, the same exemption as married couples social security and pension benefits, and also the ability to get parental responsibility for a partner’s children, as well as responsibility for reasonable maintenance of one’s partner and their children, tenancy rights, full life insurance recognition, next-of-kin rights in hospitals, and others.

Other changes, including rights for LGBT people in the armed forces, in the workplace, as carers, and as victims of hate crime have all been introduced in the last 1o years. More in-depth and up to date information can be obtained from the Equality Network or the Equality & Human Rights Commission.

Useful Terms

Asexual: A person who generally does not feel sexual attraction or desire to any group of people. Asexuality is not the same as celibacy.

Ally: Typically any non-LGBT person who supports and stands up for the rights of LGBT people, though LGBT people can be allies, such as a lesbian who is an ally to a transgender person.

Biphobia: Aversion toward bisexuality and bisexual people as a social group or as individuals. People of any sexual orientation can experience such feelings of aversion. Biphobia is a source of discrimination against bisexuals, and may be based on negative bisexual stereotypes or irrational fear.

Bisexual: A person who is attracted to both people of their own gender and another gender. Also called “bi”.

Cisgender: Types of gender identity where an individual’s experience of their own gender matches the sex they were assigned at birth.

Coming Out: The process of acknowledging one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity to other people. For most LGBT people this is a life-long process.

Gay: A person who is attracted primarily to members of the same sex. Although it can be used for any sex (e.g. gay man, gay woman, gay person), “lesbian” is sometimes the preferred term for women who are attracted to women.

Gender: features of maleness or femaleness expressed through personal characteristics – society plays a large part in defining ‘acceptable’ male and female roles, though many of us feel that we don’t fit fully into either of these definitions. A personal feeling of maleness, femaleness, or being somewhere in between is known as gender identity.

Gender expression: A term which refers to the ways in which we each manifest masculinity or femininity. It is usually an extension of our “gender identity,” our innate sense of being male, female, etc. Each of us expresses a particular gender every day – by the way we style our hair, select our clothing, or even the way we stand. Our appearance, speech, behavior, movement, and other factors signal that we feel – and wish to be understood – as masculine or feminine, or as a man or a woman.

Gender identity: The sense of “being” male, female, genderqueer, agender, etc. For some people, gender identity is in accord with physical anatomy. For transgender people, gender identity may differ from physical anatomy or expected social roles. It is important to note that gender identity, biological sex, and sexual orientation are separate and that you cannot assume how someone identifies in one category based on how they identify in another category.

Genderqueer: A term which refers to individuals or groups who “queer” or problematize the hegemonic notions of sex, gender and desire in a given society. Genderqueer people possess identities which fall outside of the widely accepted sexual binary (i.e. “men” and “women”). Genderqueer may also refer to people who identify as both transgendered AND queer, i.e. individuals who challenge both gender and sexuality regimes and see gender identity and sexual orientation as overlapping and interconnected.

Heterosexual: A person who is only attracted to members of the opposite sex. Also called “straight.”

Homophobia: A range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). It can be expressed as antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, or hatred, may be based on irrational fear, and is sometimes related to religious beliefs.

Homosexual: A clinical term for people who are attracted to members of the same sex. Some people find this term offensive.

Intersex: A person whose sexual anatomy or chromosomes do not fit with the traditional markers of “female” and “male.” For example: people born with both “female” and “male” anatomy (penis, testicles, vagina, uterus); people born with XXY. At birth, doctors and parents often decide whether the infant should be male or female and then they get surgery to assign them this gender. They may develop issues with their gender identity as they grow up.

In the closet: Describes a person who keeps their sexual orientation or gender identity a secret from some or all people.

Lesbian: A woman who is primarily attracted to other women.

Queer: 1) An umbrella term sometimes used by LGBTQA people to refer to the entire LGBT community. 2) An alternative that some people use to “queer” the idea of the labels and categories such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, etc. Similar to the concept of genderqueer. It is important to note that the word queer is an in-group term, and a word that can be considered offensive to some people, depending on their generation, geographic location, and relationship with the word.

Questioning: For some, the process of exploring and discovering one’s own sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Pansexual: A person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction for members of all gender identities/expressions, not just people who fit into the standard gender binary (i.e. men and women).

Sex: refers to someone’s biological identity as a male or female – characterised by having male or female genitalia.

Sexual orientation: The type of sexual, romantic, and/or physical attraction someone feels toward others. Often labeled based on the gender identity/expression of the person and who they are attracted to. Common labels: lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, etc.

Transgender: This term has many definitions. It is frequently used as an umbrella term to refer to all people who do not identify with their assigned gender at birth or the binary gender system. This includes transsexuals, cross-dressers, genderqueer, drag kings, drag queens, two-spirit people, and others. Some transgender people feel they exist not within one of the two standard gender categories, but rather somewhere between, beyond, or outside of those two genders.

Transphobia: The fear or hatred of transgender people or gender non-conforming behavior. Like biphobia, transphobia can also exist among lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as well as among heterosexual people.

Transsexual: A medical term used to describe people whose gender and biological sex are different, for example someone whose biological sex is female, but they identify as male gender. Transsexual people often seek medical treatment to align their biological sex with their true gender.

MTF: male to female transsexual person.

FTM: female to male transsexual person.