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​LGBT Health
What does LGBT stand for?

LGBT is an acronym for "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender", and along with heterosexual they describe people's sexual orientation or gender identity. The terms are explained in more detail below:

A lesbian woman is one who is romantically, sexually and/or emotionally attracted to women. Many lesbians prefer to be called lesbian rather than gay. 

A gay man is one who is romantically, sexually and/or emotionally attracted to men. The word gay can be used to refer generally to lesbian, gay and bisexual people but many women prefer to be called lesbian. Most gay people don't like to be referred to as homosexual because of the negative historical associations with the word and because the word gay better reflects their identity.

A bisexual person is someone who is romantically, sexually and/or emotionally attracted to people of both sexes.

Sexual Orientation
Sexual Orientation refers to an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, or both sexes. Sexual orientation also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions. Three sexual orientations are commonly recognized - heterosexual, homosexual (gay and lesbian) and bisexual. 

Transgender or Trans
Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity, the internal feeling of being male, female or transgender, and/or gender expression, differs from that usually associated with their birth sex. Not all whose appearance or behavior is gender-atypical will identify as a transgender person. Many transgender people live part-time or full-time in another gender. Transgender people can identify as transsexual, transvestite or another gender identity. 

Gender Identity
One's gender identity refers to whether one feels male, female or transgender, regardless of one's biological sex. Gender expression refers to outwardly expressing one's gender identity.

Transsexual people live or wish to live full time as members of the gender other than that assigned at birth, seeking medical interventions, such as hormones and surgery, to make their bodies fit as much as possible with their preferred gender. The process of transitioning from one gender to another is called gender reassignment. Biological females who wish to live and be recognized as men are called female-to-male (FTM) transsexuals or trans men. Biological males who wish to live and be recognized as women are called male-to-female (MTF) transsexuals or trans women.

Transvestite or cross-dressing individuals are thought to comprise the largest transgender sub-group. Cross-dressers sometimes wear clothes considered appropriate to a different gender. They vary in how completely they dress (from one article of clothing to fully cross-dressing) as well as in their motives for doing so. A small number can go on to identify as transsexual.

What about "other" definitions?

This term is sometimes used as a sexual orientation label instead of 'bisexual' as a way of acknowledging that there are more than two genders to be attracted to, or as a way of stating a non-heterosexual orientation without having to state who they are attracted to. 2.) A reclaimed word that was formerly used solely as a slur but that has been semantically overturned by members of the maligned group, who use it as a term of defiant pride. 'Queer' is an example of a word undergoing this process. For decades 'queer' was used solely as a derogatory adjective for gays and lesbians, but in the 1980s the term began to be used by gay and lesbian activists as a term of self-identification. Eventually, it came to be used as an umbrella term that included gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. Nevertheless, a sizable percentage of people to whom this term might apply still hold 'queer' to be a hateful insult, and its use by heterosexuals is often considered offensive. Similarly, other reclaimed words are usually offensive to the in-group when used by outsiders, so extreme caution must be taken concerning their use when one is not a member of the group.

Questioning refers to individuals who are unsure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Same Gender Loving
Same gender loving is a term sometimes used by members of the African American and Black communities to express an alternative sexual orientation without relying on terms and symbols of European descent. The term is intended as a way of identifying and being that resonated with the uniqueness of Black culture in life. Sometimes abbreviated as "SGL".

Are transgender people the same as gay/lesbian people?
No. An individual has an orientation and a gender identity. Transgender is about gender identity and gender expression where as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual/straight is about sexual orientation, which is emotional and physical attraction to others. While transgender people are sometimes assumed to be gay or lesbian based on stereotypes about gay men and lesbians, the terms are not interchangeable. Transgender people also have a sexual orientation, just as everyone else in society, which can be heterosexual (straight), bisexual, or gay or lesbian.

Where can I find information about what to do if I've been discriminated against?
If you feel that you've been a victim of discrimination, call the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). The Boston Office can be reached at 617-994-600, or visit: Massachusetts anti-discrimination laws prohibits discrimination based on: race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity, age, criminal record (inquiries only), handicap (disability), mental illness, retaliation, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, active military personnel, and genetics. Sexual orientation and gender identity & expression are very clearly covered within MCAD's jurisdiction. You can also call the Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) Legal Infoline for free legal advice at 800-455-GLAD, or visit:

Since the passing of the Defense of Marriage Act, can I apply for a green card for my same sex spouse? Can I also apply for asylum?
On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) held in United States  v. Windsor that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) "is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment."

As of July 1, 2013, it is possible for a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident in a same sex marriage to a foreign national to apply for a green card. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can be reached at 1-800-375-5283, or visit:

It is possible to apply for asylum on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity & expression.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can be reached at 1-800-375-5283, or visit:

Immigration Equality is a National organization dedicated to LGBT & HIV Immigration rights, visit:

What services are available for LGBT senior citizens?
The LGBT Aging Project is a program of the Fenway Institute and can be reached at 857-313-6590, or visit:

There are several local community meal programs for LGBT older adults:

Boston/Back Bay: Cafe Emmanuel:
When: Every Thursday 11am to 1:00pm                
Where: Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street Boston, MA
RSVP: to call (617) 477-6610
Sponsored by: Ethos & The Ethos Equality Fund 

Out to Brunch: Monthly Brunch & Social for Older LBT Women & Their Friends
When: First Saturday of every month 11am to 1:00pm
Where: Roslindale House, 120 Poplar Street Roslindale, MA
RSVP: to or call (617) 522-6700 x306.
Sponsored by: Ethos & The Ethos Equality Fund

Jamaica Plain:
Out 4 Supper: A Boston Supper Club For LGBT Seniors & Friends
When: First Tuesday of every month 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Where: Mount Pleasant Home, 301 South Huntington Ave, Jamaica Plain, MA
RSVP: online, or call 617-522-6700 x306
Sponsored by: Ethos, Ethos Equality Fund and Mount Pleasant Home

Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: