How to Talk About LGBTI Persons?

The language we use to name someone matters. The language used in the courtroom can increase confidence in the justice system and, above all, reduce the stress caused by participation in the proceedings. It is thus worth knowing that:

LGBT is an acronym collectively describing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. Sometimes other letters are added to it, e.g. “I” for intersex persons or “Q” (“queer”), which generally refers to other non-heteronormative persons and behaviours. The letters of this acronym describe many different people, but each of them is a separate individual in their unique situation.

Sexual orientation is the ability to build lasting relationships based on feelings and emotions with other persons, e.g. persons of another sex (heterosexual orientation), the same sex (homosexual orientation), or more than one sex (bisexual orientation). It should not be reduced to the sexual sphere only. 

A transgender person is a person whose gender identity (feeling of belonging to specific sex) does not correspond to their gender assigned at birth. Transgender persons should be addressed in the manner of their choosing.

An intersex person is a person who has different sex characteristics in terms of the structure and functioning of their body.

You may refer to LGBTI persons by using expressions such as a “homosexual person” (please avoid the word “homosexual”), “gay”, “lesbian”, “bisexual person”, “LGBTI persons”, “transgender person”, “intersex person”.

The procedure used by transgender persons to bring in line their documented sex and gender identity should be termed “gender recognition” (rather than a “change”).

There are no persons with the “different” or “other” sexual orientation but there may be persons with a sexual orientation that is different from, or other than, your sexual orientation.

There are derogatory terms for LGBTI persons in the public sphere. They must never be used in professional interactions. Homosexuality is not a disorder or a disease.