What is LGBTQ+?

LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (or questioning).

“LGBTQ+” is an acronym that originated in the 1990s and replaced what was formerly known as “the gay community.” The acronym was created to be more inclusive of diverse groups. LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (and/or questioning) individuals/identities.

  • Lesbian: An individual who identifies as a woman and who is predominantly sexually and romantically attracted to other women.
  • Gay: An individual who identifies as a man and who is predominantly sexually and romantically attracted to other men.
  • Bisexual: An individual who is sexually and romantically attracted to men and women.
  • Transgender: An individual who identifies as the opposite sex from the sexual genitalia that he/she was born with.
  • Queer: An individual who does not identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender but feels more comfortable identifying as “queer,” which is commonly thought of as a term that is fluid and inclusive of diverse sexual orientations and/or gender identities.
  • Questioning: An individual who is unsure about his/her sexual orientation and/or gender identity and prefers to identify as “questioning” rather than adhering to a label that does not designate how he/she feels.

Estimates indicate that more than 9 million American adults identify as LGBTQ+. They represent diverse ages, racial/ethnic backgrounds, religious convictions, and belief systems, as do their allies.

Know Your Rights

CCEH is proud to partner with GLAD, legal services organizations, and LGBTQ+ Health and Human Services Network to ensure equal access and dignity for transgender people served by the CT Homeless Response System. With the cold weather quickly approaching, we want to remind everyone that shelter access cannot be denied based on gender identity or transgender status.

  • Connecticut and federal law prohibit discrimination due to transgender status, gender identity, or gender expression.
  • Equal access means housing trans people in the shelter that accords with their gender identity and where they feel safest.
  • Transgender women must be housed in a women’s shelter with access to facilities provided by the shelter on equal terms with other women housed there.
  • The best way to determine whether a person is a man or a woman is to ask the person. A person’s self-identification as male or female is generally sufficient to determine whether the person should have access to facilities designated for men or women.
  • Staff may not inquire into the medical or surgical status of a transgender client’s transition outside of what is asked of all clients.
Please hang these postcards at your shelter or housing site. Click the image to download.
Por favor cuelgue estas postales en su lugar de trabajo. Hagale clic a la imagen para descargar.

Additional Resources

Transgender and gender non-conforming people experience homelessness at extremely high rates. The National Center for Transgender Equality reports that:

  • Homelessness is a critical issue for transgender people, with one in five transgender people having experienced homelessness at some time in their lives because of discrimination and family rejection;
  • An estimated 20%-40% of the more than 1.6 million homeless youth in the United States are LGBTQ+;
  • Transgender people facing homelessness also face discrimination from agencies that should be helping them, with nearly one in three (29%) reporting being turned away from a shelter due to their transgender status; and
  • 42% of transgender people facing homelessness have been forced to stay in a shelter living as the wrong gender.

Access to emergency homeless shelters for transgender individuals

In February 2015, HUD issued a guidance clarifying access to emergency homeless shelters for transgender individuals and reiterating placement and privacy obligations of providers.  Among other important information, the guidance states that shelters should provide housing for individuals seeking emergency shelter that corresponds to the gender with which the person identifies.  For more on HUD’s guidance on shelter and gender identity, as well as general resources on LGBTQ+ homelessness, including LGBTQ youth homelessness, follow the links below:

Shelter Resources

Emergency Shelter Letter

Shelter Card (English)

Shelter Card (Spanish)

NAEH Recommendations for How to Make Shelter Safe for Transgender Individuals

HUD’s Final Rule on Equal Access in Accordance with an Individual’s Gender Identity

Transitioning Our Shelters: A Guide to Making Shelters Safe for Transgender People

Safe Shelter and Fair Housing for Transgender Individuals (Training Presentation)

Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) to provide capital funding to upgrade the condition of existing emergency shelter facilities, including upgrades to support the overall health and safety of shelter residents.  More information and the application is here.

Equal Access Expectations Training Scenarios

Equal Access for Transgender People Supporting Inclusive Housing and Shelters

Transgender Law Center Model Policy & Legal Guide for Homeless Shelters & Housing Programs

Region 1 Equal Access Webinar PowerPoint Slides

CT Coalition to End Homelessness Public Comment on HUD’s Reversal on Equal Access