Friends and Allies of LGBTQ and Questioning Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some of our commonly asked questions.

FAQ Questions


  • Expand your knowledge about gender identities and sexual orientation.
  • Do not make assumptions about someone's sexual orientation or about what gender or sex a person is.
  • Do not ask questions about sexual activities.
  • Be inclusive.
  • Do not reveal another's sexual orientation without their consent.

For many years "queer" was used as an insult towards people who were seen outside of the heterosexual or gender "norms." Some of older LGBTQ people do not feel comfortable identifying with the term, but in recent years, it has been reclaimed by younger members of the LGBTQ community.

Bisexual people are attracted to both men and women, and may not be equally attracted to both sexes. The degree of attraction may vary over time as one develops sexual identity.

LGBTQ or GLBTQ is the acronym for the community formed by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, queer and questioning individuals. Those with these diverse identities are joined together because of their shared oppression under heterosexism, homophobia, sexism and genderism. LGBTQ or queer people are from every socioeconomic class, education level, political affiliation, age group, religion, race and ethnicity.

Queer is used as a term for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community. It is a political statement which advocates for breaking stereotypes and binary thinking as well as a term for sexual orientation. It is also a simple label to explain a complex set of sexual behaviors and desires.

Transgender is the term describing a range of people who experience or express their gender differently from what most people expect. Transgender is an overarching term including transsexual as well as cross-dressers and anyone expressing gender characteristics that do not correspond with those traditionally ascribed to the person's presumed sex. It is not a sexual orientation. Some transgender people identify themselves as female-to-male or male-to-female transsexual. They may take hormones prescribed by a doctor and undergo medical procedures for sex reassignment surgery. Some identify as transgender because they don't feel comfortable with either the male or female gender exclusively.

  • Cross-dresser: Cross dressers identify as their birth gender, but sometimes dress in clothing that is opposite of their gender.
  • Pansexual: refers to one who is fluid in sexual orientation or gender identity, who may have an attraction to more than one sex, and refuses the use of gender binaries (placing people into either the category of woman or man).
  • Transsexual: is a medical term which describes those whose gender and sex do not line up (and who often seek medical alignment to bring their body and gender identity together).
  • Transvestite: is a psychiatric term that describes men and women who cross-dress for sexual gratification. Many do not cross-dress for that reason, but do so to express their transgender nature and prefer the terms cross-dresser, drag king or drag queen.

Community Resources

  • Spectrum of Northern Nevada: mission is to create safe and accepting social networks and events for members of the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBT-Q) community and their advocates.
  • Nevada Equal Rights Commission: assists the public as it relates to discrimination in employment, housing and/or public accommodation.

National Resources

  • The Advocate: award-winning LGBTQ news site.
  • COLAGE: national movement of children, youth, and adults with one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ) parents. We build community and work toward social justice through youth empowerment, leadership development, education, and advocacy.
  • FAFSA Modernizes to Recognize LGBT Families: recognizing the changing landscape, the U.S. Department of Education announced a small but significant change to the FAFSA that will make the application a more fair, effective, and efficient tool for students seeking financial aid to help pay for their college education.
  • Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD): dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN): strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
  • Human Rights Campaign (HRC): America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBTQ citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. HRC seeks to improve the lives of LGBTQ Americans by advocating for equal rights and benefits in the workplace, ensuring families are treated equally under the law and increasing public support among all Americans through innovative advocacy, education and outreach programs. HRC works to secure equal rights for LGBTQ individuals and families at the federal and state levels by lobbying elected officials, mobilizing grassroots supporters, educating Americans, investing strategically to elect fair-minded officials and partnering with other LGBTQ organizations.
  • Lambda Legal: national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
  • LGBT Travel Information outside the United States: attitudes and tolerance toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons vary from country to country, just as they vary among U.S. cities and states. Most LGBT travelers encounter no problems while overseas, but it helps to be prepared and research your destination before you go.
  • LGBTQ-Friendly College Transfer Guide: provides information on factors to consider if you are looking to transfer to an LGBTQ friendly college campus.
  • The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: builds the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
  • Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG): promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.