Which LGBTQ+ Terms are Americans Most & Least Familiar With?

Pexels Photo by RODNAE Productions

Do you know all of the LGBTQ+ terms out there?  It seems they are every changing, and that is an okay thing, we think.  But some of these new terms, it’s going to take a seasoned gay a little while to remember them all. 

But what if you are not a member of the Queer Community.  What if you’re an ally? What if you are a Joe or Jane in the street?  How woke is your vocabulary? Ugh, I dislike that word, woke. 


Anyway… In November 2021, Bespoke Surgical quizzed 1,062 Americans across several demographics and all 50 states to uncover which LGBTQ+ terms Americans are most and least familiar with. They then analyzed the results by gender identity, age range, and sexual orientation to uncover disparities in the different demographics’ understandings of these terms. 

And the results? Well, wouldn’t you like to know how well you did on the quiz before seeing everyone else’s results?  So pause here and…


How did you do?  Are you an LGBTQ Dictionary Superstar?



Based on quiz results, biphobia, gender dysphoria, bottom, and asexual were the LGBTQ+ terms Americans were most familiar with.

We’ve seen some biphobic people in our comments before. Biphobia is fear, hatred, or intolerance of bisexual men or women. And yes, it is possible to be biphobic without being homophobic. 


The terms Americans had the least familiarity with were ze/hir/hirs pronouns, queerplatonic, passing, and gender-affirming surgery.

Ze/hir/hirs are a neutral set of pronouns from the trans community. I think they were adopted back when I was a kid in the 80s.  They’ve been more so replaced by the they/them/theirs, my opinion, my understanding.

Queerplatonic tripped everyone up, regardless of generation. Overall, only 45.5% of respondents answered the quiz question with this term correctly. A queerplatonic relationship is a relationship that exceeds what is usually considered platonic. The aromantic community created this LGBTQ+ term to describe a relationship that is neither romantic nor platonic but still feels stronger than either. It’s about forming a closer and more intimate bond without romantic qualities.

According to quiz results, millennials and Gen Z are more knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ vocabulary than older generations, which makes sense given younger generations are digital natives with regular exposure to LGBTQ+ language on social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. A new mode of LGBTQ+ education and activism is taking shape and it starts on our newsfeeds.


Other terms with the biggest generational disparities were demisexual, “in the closet” and cisgender. 75% of Gen Z quiz-takers answered the question about demisexuality correctly, compared to only 46% of baby boomers.


How did you do on the quiz again?  Do we need to take your gay card away?  Did you earn your gay card even though you are not part of the Queer Community?


Based on our quiz results, straight Americans aren’t nearly as familiar with these LGBTQ+ terms compared to those who identify as bisexual, gay, or lesbian. Passing was the lowest scored term for every sexual orientation. Passing can refer to a few things within the LGBTQ+ community. Generally, it’s one’s ability to be regarded as a member of the sex or gender with their identity, or with which they physically present.

Another term with the biggest sexual orientation disparity was panromantic. 96% of people who identified as gay or lesbian answered the question with panromantic correctly, compared to only 67% of heterosexuals. Panromantic is a romantic attraction for people regardless of their gender. Someone who identifies as panromantic can be romantically attracted to people of every gender identity. People of any gender identity can identify as panromantic.



So if you did not do so well on the quiz, you’re not alone.  As a whole, we all seem to lack the confidence in knowing the alphabet soup we are swimming in and adding to each day.

On a scale of 1 to 5, how informed did quiz takers feel about the LGBTQ+ language? How difficult was the quiz?


Overall, Americans average 2.89 when asked how informed they feel about LGBTQ+ language on a 1-5 scale (where 1 = not informed and 5 = very informed). On the whole, this number is relatively low (below the median of 3); therefore, collectively we still have some work to do when it comes to educating ourselves on LGBTQ+ language.

Sexual Health and Wellness expert Dr. Evan Goldstein states:

“While these findings shed light on how far we’ve come in our openness and discussion of the LGBTQ+ community, I think it is safe to say there is still work to be done. While we have seen successes in recent years, there continues to be a lack of education across the nation in this sector of the population. My goal, as a member of this community and expert in the field of gay men’s sexual health, is to continue to shed light on the need for education and access to the same level of social, economic and medical treatment and services of the straight community. At Bespoke Surgical and Future Method, we pride ourselves on contributing to the effort to de-stigmatize discussions around the LGBTQ+ community and continue to be a resource for education and empowerment for those looking to be an ally.”


Is it time to study up on your terms? Wanna take the quiz over and do better?  Bespoke Surgical is a practice built on understanding and inclusivity, and they’ve crafted a glossary of LGBTQ+ terms to help us all use language that is both respectful and supportive of our community.  So study up, understand, and we can all do better in knowing our fellow humans. 

Source: Bespoke Surgical

Leave a Comment