Sharing moments Menopause Young adults Bye bye Hotel Mum How you feel at home Semester abroad Language course abroad or work as an au pair? Be prepared for military training Grassrooted Pack smarter, travel better Make an impression Contraception Vegan diet Bye bye Hotel Mum – hello shared flat Big trip, small budget Finanzielle Vorsorge Planning a family Tracking fertility The right time? How men can help Fertility and diet Medical check-up What you need to know about ovulation What to do if you don’t conceive straight away Three electronic fertility and cycle trackers in comparison Planning a family and partnership Pregnancy Examinations during pregnancy Diet and nutrition Is my pregnancy progressing normally? Tips for daily life Important points for travel and holidays Is my pregnancy progressing normally? What items do I need for my baby? Where and how do I want to give birth? What do I need to pack for the hospital? How should I prepare my home for my child? Is my pregnancy progressing normally? How can I best prepare for my baby? How can I best prepare for the birth? Nutrition Parent-child relationship Preparing for breastfeeding | Sanitas Magazine Insurance Stretch marks Sleep Rupture of membranes Baby blues High-risk pregnancy Braxton Hicks & false labour Formalitites Morning sickness Family rooms Signs of a premature birth Our baby Bathing baby – what you need to know How babies hear Infant first-aid kit Baby care Is my baby developing normally? Month-to-month overview of baby development Is my baby developing normally? Baby’s development: Months 3 and 4 Baby care Breastfeeding When does a baby start eating? Weight Baby growth spurts Toys Sun protection for baby skin Teething Milk teeth: what to do in case of accident Baby’s development: Months 5 and 6 Pelvic floor exercises after birth Babyschlaf Celebrating and enjoyment Christmas and New Year’s Eve with a twist A philosophical take on pleasure Pleasure can also be found in the soup kitchen in Zurich Tips for a peaceful and stress-free Christmas Living better with cardiac insufficiency Alejandro Iglesias Hana Disch Patrizio Orlando Vaccinations and travel first-aid kit Hay fever In pursuit of happiness Seven tips for a happier daily life Kids in lockdown Online addiction Women's hearts Decisions Decision-making tips Report from the hospital Donating a kidney Life decisions Emigrating to South America Geocaching Sexuality Erectile dysfunction Young people and sexuality Queer pastor Drag queen Paprika Sexually transmitted infections What does LGBTQIA+ stand for? Gender medicine HPV Families of transgender people Medically assisted suicide Types of dementia Be active Active during pregnancy Sport and exercise during pregnancy Antenatal exercise classes Standing properly Healthy eating Green smoothies Vitamin D Good eggs, bad eggs Diet plan Healthy fats Feed your muscles How much sugar should we eat a day? How much fat should we eat a day? Lactose intolerance Healthy diet, strong immune system Low Carb E-numbers and other additives in food Personalised diet Vegan meat substitutes Healthy heart Interview with Christophe Wyss Heart-friendly sports How the mind affects the heart Taking blood pressure correctly High blood pressure: what you need to know Healthy teeth Home remedies: relief for sore gums A dentist explains Brushing up on brushing Changing habits Interview Stortpsychologie 10-step guide to changing habits Try, try, try again Fitnessmotivation Running coaching Running ABC Race in Sarnen Factors affecting condition Weekly planner Running shoes Strengthening exercises Running nutrition Complementary sport Warm-up Stretching Functional clothing Fitness tracker Shopping – sportswear Running tips for women Relaxation technique Recovery New lease of life thanks to Sanitas running coaching Sport after childbirth Postnatal exercise Taking the strain off your shoulders Kangatraining Workout while walking Expert tips Stress and relaxation Moving air Fight stress with yoga What is stress Learn how to relax Dealing with stress What is burnout? “The first step was to create boundaries” Juggling family and a career Reduce stress Stressor factors The most beautiful Swiss saunas Sweating in the sauna Breathing exercises for relaxation The right rest & recovery: debunking myths Mindfulness Sleep Constant availability: chronic stress Trend sports Fitness boxing Slackline Bouldering Fascia training Stand Up Paddling Keeping fit efficiently Swing with a smile! Vertical workout Hiking Altitude sickness Seven stroller-friendly hikes Needed: a hiking-friendly pushchair There goes the other sole! Tips on hiking with a baby Mountain lakes Winter walks Planning a family: Fertility and exercise Stair climbing Pumptrack Kids’ back Back exercises Sitting properly at work Forest fun Playing for life Promoting health and fitness Motivation Sledging Curling glossary What do you get if you cross a kite with snow? Snowshoeing Preventing falls Inline skating Swimming Swimming Wings for Life Stretching Bike tips Stretching exercises for cyclists koerper-und-kaelte Healthy teeth thanks to dental hygiene and preventive care Putting wishes into practice Tips for healthy teeth Hometraining Investigating teeth-related myths 10 tips to ease anxiety Hand care How our body regenerates The best abdominal exercises in five minutes Keeping fit on holiday Swim training aids Wie viel Sport ist gesund Gathering mushrooms – the right way | Sanitas Magazine Check-ups Five-minute stretching routine Gehirntraining Rückenschmerzen Licht Yogastile Ayurveda-Morgenroutine Tips for doing sport outside in winter Cross-country skiing for beginners Home remedies against dandruff Home remedies Home remedies for bladder infections Home remedies for a sore throat Home remedies for migraines Home remedies against excessive sweating Home remedies for a sun allergy Healthy feet, healthy back core exercises for mountain bikers Symptoms Check Sport after Corona HIIT: quick and efficient exercises Sore muscles: debunking myths Debunking swimming myths strength training for young people Exercise videos Whole-body workout Fascia training Lack of exercise Sun protection Strong mind How to be mentally strong Mental strength Psychosomatics Resilience Tips against feeling down Sleep hygiene and mental well-being Depression Panic attacks Prescription drug addiction ADHD: Symptoms in children and adults Mental illness: help for friends and family Living with autism Pressure to perform Alcoholism Blood: myths and facts Hormones Complementary medicine: the most common treatments Complementary medicine Training in line with your menstrual cycle Living together today Digital life Online addiction Digital temptation Children and digital media Smartphone neck Digital responsibility and solidarity Our brains love habit Change my habits? You’re joking! Planning a family: Difficulties trying to have a baby Planning a family: Myth vs fact Solidarity study Newcomers Living together tomorrow Digital nomads Giesserei multi-generation house The blind film director Help instead of rent Working on the move Medical practices of the future Our skin – layer by layer Generational discussion: wishes for life Hausarzt und Corona Safe return to work Corona crisis: singing together Corona crisis: Working in intensive care Corona crisis: working in a nursing home Rest and recovery: learning from children Corona crisis: voluntary work for the needy Second opinion Relationships and children Three questions that keep us awake at night Outing The nature of lying Vorsorge Finding sound health-related information online Impfstoffe entwickeln Tipps für Jugendliche in der Corona-Krise Becoming parents Diagnose: Kind im Haus Long Covid Take it easy in your free time YouTuber Aditotoro on the coronavirus pandemic Minimalism for a happy life Thanks to corona: more time for family Back to life after a paragliding accident Decluttering: the answer to chaos Living and loving with autism Synaesthesia Talking to doctors Non-verbal communication Is there really a serial killer gene? Developments for the future App check Aqualert SRC blood donor Codecheck Forest Freedom Freeletics Moment Three sleep apps reviewed PeakFinder Findery Six fitness apps reviewed Internet use High-tech trousers Prostheses Hospital of the future New skin for burns victims Online-Therapien How drugs are developed Generics A vision of the future: How we will live in 30 years Onward Overcoming erectile dysfunction Family medicine practices of the future Personalised medicine A voice for Clara Sanitas newsletter
Dossier: Sexuality

What does LGBTQIA+ stand for?

What sexual orientations are there? What is meant by gender identity? We explain the meaning behind the acronym LGBTQIA+ and explore how diverse sexual and gender identity can be.

Text: Delia Christ; photo: iStock

Slowly but surely, the profile of the queer community is becoming more visible in the media and on the political scene. Although queer characters are now common in many TV series, there are still sexual orientations and gender identities that are pretty much under the radar. And the screen characters are often stereotypes which don’t reflect the diversity of the queer community. What does “queer” really mean and what does LGBTQ+ or even LGBTQIA+ stand for?

These letters represent the diverse sexual orientations and gender identities that differ from the general norm of heterosexual and cisgender. In short, they stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex and asexual as well as including other identities and orientations such as non-binary, gender fluid or pansexual. These identities, also known as “labels”, help express a person’s sexual preference or gender identity with a single word.

What is the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity?

How a person feels has little to do with who they are attracted to. Sexual orientation is about who a person is attracted to and who they feel drawn to romantically, emotionally and sexually. And it depends on the gender to which the person belongs. Sexual orientation includes, for example, lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual and heterosexual.

In contrast, gender identity has nothing to do with sexual orientation. At birth, each person is automatically assigned a gender – male or female – based on their external sexual characteristics. But the person does not always feel that they really belong to the gender assigned to them. There are a number of other gender identities, including trans, non-binary and gender fluid. 

What do these labels mean?

The terms lesbian and gay can also be included under the umbrella term homosexual, which refers to people who are only attracted to members of their own sex. The term lesbian usually refers to women*. Gay can refer to both homosexual women* and men*. 

Bisexual is when a person is sexually attracted not exclusively to people of one particular gender. Pansexuality is the romantic, emotional and/or sexual attraction to people regardless of their gender. ​ Some people also identify as asexual, Typically, an asexual person has little or no interest in sexual contact with other people.

Generally speaking, sexual orientation is not as rigid as is often perceived. It can change over the course of a lifetime. And there is no specific age at which you need to become aware of your preferences – it can happen at any point in your life. 

People who aren’t heterosexual, but who don’t (yet) want to give themselves a specific label, can also call themselves “queer”. 

Gender identify refers to how a person feels inside, whereas sexual preference describes how they feel towards another person.

Cisgender, trans, non-binary and intersex: which gender identities are there?

For most people, their gender matches up with the cultural expectations of the sex they are assigned at birth. This “default” gender identity is known as cis

In contrast, a person may have female sex organs at birth but self-identify as male. This person then identifies as a trans man. The reverse is true for a trans woman. Some transgender people decide to make a physical transformation through surgery and/or hormones to adapt their body to their gender identity. This process is known as “transitioning”, but not all trans people feel the need to undergo these procedures, and it does not determine their identity. 

There are also people whose identities do not fit into a rigid female/male gender binary category, and they identify as non-binary. Gender fluidity refers to change over time in a person’s gender expression or gender identity, or both. The gender is thus not static – and it is far more diverse than one might think. 

Intersex is another type of gender identity. The intersex definition is a person born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the boxes of “female” or “male”.

Queer as a collective term for sexual and gender identities

As with sexual orientation, some people don’t want to label their gender identity. Therefore, they often use the term “queer”. Today, queer holds an expansive and inclusive meaning, which describes all identities outside of cisgender heteronormativity.