LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or sometimes question mark), intersex, and asexual. The "more" represents other sexual identities including pansexual. The first four letters of the acronym have been used since the 1990s, but in recent years there has been an increased awareness of the need to include other sexual identities to offer better representation. The acronym is used to represent a wide range of sexualities and gender identities, referring to anyone who is transgender and/or attracted to the same/similar gender.
The variety of orientations and identities had previously been referred to as "the gay community" and later "the gay and lesbian community", the acronym eventually evolving as a way to include other identities. Why has the acronym changed over time? One important thing to remember is that words and meanings are always evolving. Bisexual, as defined by Sigmund Freud, originally meant that a person was both male and female. Being both male and female is now known as bisexual (under the umbrella of transgender) and bisexuality is an attraction to both genders (female and male)
While variations such as LGBT or LGBTQ are often used, many advocates argue that the addition of "plus" is important and should not be overlooked. The purpose of the acronym is to represent the tremendous diversity of people who are transgender and attracted to the same gender. The addition of the "more" makes it possible to better capture that diversity.
The LGBTQ+ acronym serves an important purpose: It is not only designed to be more inclusive, but also represents the self-identities of transgender and/or similar gender-attracted people.
The use of the acronym is intended as a comprehensive way of acknowledging different gender identities and sexual orientations. The addition of other identities to the LGBT acronym also plays an important role in recognizing them and connecting them to a larger community. It also means that these people can get more recognition from society as a whole. Instead of being erased, ignored or denied, recognition can help foster greater visibility of marginalized identities.
Visibility can also help create a greater sense of self-affirmation for a person. Research has found that offering inclusive and affirming environments is important for LGBTQ+ youth. Research also suggests that despite safety concerns, being visible as a member of the LGBTQ+ community can be an important way to feel pride in individual identity. Affirming one's identity can help people build self-esteem and boost overall mental well-being. Research and statistics suggest that LGBTQ+ youth are at increased risk for a variety of mental health and social problems, often due to isolation, marginalization, and discrimination based on their orientation or identity.
The LGBTQ+ acronym has become increasingly popular and accepted in society. Sometimes terms like queer are also used, but not all members of the community feel comfortable with this term, sometimes classifying it as an insult.
So how do you know when to use the term LGBTQ+?
LGBT and related acronyms have been widely used in recent years. It has also helped increase the visibility of marginalized groups, including transgender people. Research suggests that attitudes have indeed changed towards greater acceptance. Nonetheless, LGBTQ+ people still face considerable discrimination and homophobia. Harassment, intimidation, and discrimination in the workplace are all too common. Social solidarity can be used to improve visibility, combat discrimination and promote causes, including anti-discrimination and equality laws. Unifying terms like LGBTQ+ can help people feel connected to a larger group of people. But the term sometimes it may seem to imply that there is a single, homogeneous group when in fact there are many individual communities made up of diverse individuals. These communities have some things in common, but each identity has its own unique experience and needs.
While the goal of this acronym is to increase visibility and inclusion, not everyone agrees on which term or variation to use. The community has been referred to in many words over the years, including many that were intended to cause harm. Therefore, it is not unusual for the self-descriptors people use to vary, particularly when it comes to topics related to self-expression, sexuality, and identity. LGBT is still prevalent in use and may be used by some who feel that the four-letter acronym is a simpler way to represent a wide range of identities. Others may feel left out of the standard four initials, so the addition of Q and "plus" can be helpful.
The goal of using more inclusive terms like LGBTQ+ is to improve visibility, recognition, and acceptance. It is important to remember that LGBTQ+ people continue to experience discrimination. Transgender and gender non-conforming people, in particular, are frequently the targets of social and economic marginalization, as well as harassment and violence. Terms and definitions are always evolving. When it comes to something as personal as sexuality and gender identity, these terms and definitions can mean different things to different people. While working to understand and use terms like LGBTQ+ can help increase the visibility of people who have faced marginalization and discrimination,