LGBTQ+ is an acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual or ally. The “plus” symbol represents other non-heterosexual identities. Early on, all sexual identities fell beneath the “gay community” umbrella before expanding to “gay and lesbian community”. During the 1990s it was common to use the first four letters, LGBT, however in recent times awareness of inclusivity has formed a greater representation of all humans no matter their sexual orientation or identity. Let’s take a closer look; what does LGBTQIA+ mean?
What does LGBTQIA mean?
A lesbian is a female-identifying person who is romantically, emotionally, and/or erotically attracted to other female-identifying people.
Not just a happy human, the term “gay” is reserved for male-identifying people who are romantically, emotionally, and/or erotically attracted to other male-identifying people. The term “gay” has completely replaced the term “homosexual” which was perceived as too clinical.
A person of any gender who is typically attracted to people of other genders. For example, a male-identifying person who is attracted to male-identifying people and female-identifying people. Or a female-identifying person who is attracted to female-identifying people and male-identifying people.
Transgender is defined as a person whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from their sex at birth.
Q: Queer, or Questioning
Standing for “queer” and “questioning”, the “Q” in LGBTQIA+ has two meanings with the former being the most used. “Queer” is an umbrella term covering everyone who is not cisgender or heterosexual. It was also a common slur used against members of the LGBTQIA+ community for some time. Questioning simply refers to people who may be unsure of or still exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The term “intersex” is reserved for individuals who are born with variations of sexual anatomy that don’t align with the binary definitions of male and female bodies. For example, a person may be born with a divided scrotum that appears more like labia.
A: Asexual, or Ally
Another letter with two meanings, the “A” in LGBTQIA+ stands for “asexual” and “ally”. Asexual people are those who do not feel a sexual attraction to others. Asexual people may be romantically attracted to another person, however sexual attraction doesn’t play a role in their relationship. An ally is someone who embraces the LGBTQIA+ community while actively confronting homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, heterosexual privilege, and gender-straight privilege in themselves and others.
Why is the “plus” symbol important?
The “plus” symbol in the acronym LGBTQIA+ is an important representation of the diversity of individuals who do not fall beneath the pre-existing gender identities and sexual orientations, including (but not limited to) pansexual and genderqueer.