LGBTQIA+ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender, plus additional subsects. It is an inclusive term used to unite a population of people who have a wide array of gender identities and sexual orientations that differ from heterosexual and cisgender. LGBTQ, LGBTQ+, LGBTQ2S+, LGBT, and GLBT are also used for similar meanings. Although the "Q" usually means queer, it is sometimes used to mean "questioning". QUILTBAG is an alternative with additional meanings for each letter.
The L stands for lesbian. Lesbian, a term with multiple definitions, is most often defined as a woman who is attracted to other women romantically, sexually, or both. The term is generally used as a self-identification of sexual or romantic orientation. Although lesbians are frequently defined as women who are exclusively attracted to women, another definition is women primarily attracted to other women. Some prefer to use or additionally use "gay" or "gay woman" as an identifier.
Definitions vary in whether or not they use expanded language, such as a person who self-describes as a woman, or phrasing that explicitly includes people who do not identify only as women, such as woman-aligned[note 1] and some genderqueer and/or non-binary people who feel a connection to womanhood. Lesbians may be cisgender or transgender; since gender is a separate concept from sexual orientation, someone may be both trans and lesbian.[note 2] Based upon assigned gender at birth, and prior to realizing their gender identity and transitioning, some trans women identify as straight and some trans men identify as lesbians based on their attractions to women. Trans women sometimes subsequently understand and identify themselves as lesbian; trans men may or may not remain in or be accepted by lesbian communities after they transition as men. This does not mean that all butch or otherwise masculine lesbians are transgender.
Certain lesbians have used the label to describe their gender in addition to their attractions. In the 2021 Gender Census, an annual online international survey of people who do not strictly identify with the gender binary, participants indicated their personal identifiers; the item "lesbian (partially or completely in relation to gender)" was selected by 12.9% of the participants.
For over a century, lesbians have debated who shares their identity and is part of the lesbian community. They have variously been defined based on sexual behaviors, sexual attractions, or self-identifying with the label. For instance, women who self-identify as both bisexual and lesbian[note 3] would not be included in a definition that specifies lesbians are only oriented toward women, but would be in a broader definition that encompasses other labels.
The G stands for gay. Gay is an adjective referring to those with an enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to people of the same gender. This is most commonly associated with men, as a gay woman may prefer to use the term "lesbian" instead. Queer and bisexual are also among the terms used for those who are attracted to members of the same gender. In a broader sense of the word, gay can also be used as an umbrella term to identify any LGBTQIA+ individual, though some note that doing so excludes other sexual orientations and gender identities and should thus be avoided.
"Gay" as an identity is defined by the attraction and self-identification as such rather than having had any sexual experience with people of the same gender. Thus, having had sexual intercourse with someone of the same gender does not make anyone gay by definition. There is not just one way to experience same-sex attraction, nor is there a set period in life to discover that you experience it. While some may know that they experience same-sex attraction from a young age, it can take others decades to figure it out or be comfortable enough with their identity to acknowledge it to themselves and others.
Being gay is also referred to as "homosexuality" and thus forms the counterpart of "heterosexuality", the sexual attraction to individuals of the opposite gender. However, controversy has arisen surrounding the use of the word "homosexuals" to refer to gay people, as it has been considered an outdated term that is derogatory and offensive to many lesbian and gay people due to its usage by anti-LGBTQIA+ individuals to imply that gay people are somehow diseased or psychologically/emotionally disordered.
The B stands for bisexual. Bisexual is a label that describes attraction to all genders on the gender spectrum. Some bisexual people have a preference toward one or several genders, while others do not.
The T stands for transgender. Transgender, often shortened to trans, is an umbrella term that describes an individual whose gender identity differs from their assigned gender at birth (AGAB). Infants are assigned a sex that is recorded on their birth certificate, which is usually based only on the appearance of external genitalia. The birth assignment—generally defaulting to assigned male at birth (AMAB) or assigned female at birth (AFAB)—assumes that the individual's gender identity will correspond to their assigned sex. A person's gender identity—their sense of gender—usually develops when they are very young. The realization that their gender is different from what they were assigned can occur as early as three years old or in childhood prior to the onset of puberty. It may also happen later in life.
Transgender people can be binary[note 4] or non-binary[note 5]. Some transgender individuals may experience at least one form of gender dysphoria during their life, usually manifesting as an intense distress with their assigned gender. However, not all transgender people experience gender dysphoria. Conversely, some transgender individuals may experience what is known as gender euphoria, a term used to describe a "positive and exciting feeling of one's gendered self". Transgender people might transition socially and/or physically from their assigned gender to their actual gender identity.
The Q stands for queer. Queer is an identifier for individuals and/or the community of people who are not cisgender heterosexual. It can be used instead of, or in addition to, other identifiers of sexual orientation, such as lesbian, bisexual, or gay. Queer can also refer to gender identity or gender expression, whether as a standalone term or part of another like genderqueer. The "Q" in LGBTQIA+ and similar acronyms commonly means Queer. As a reclaimed word, it has been used in fights for LGBTQIA+ rights and liberation as an inclusive and sometimes defiant term. PFLAG and GLAAD are two of the organizations that recommend only using it for people who self-identify as queer because it has varying meanings and is not universally accepted. In addition, the term may be used in preference to other identifiers by members, for a variety of reasons. The "Q" may also stand for questioning.
The I stands for intersex. Intersex is an umbrella term for people who are born with or develop sex characteristics that differ from the binary notions of a "male" or "female" body. These differences are called variations, and may involve one's hormones, chromosomes, external and internal reproductive organs, or secondary sex characteristics. An individual's intersex traits may include variations in one or multiple of the aforementioned types. These differences can be noticed at birth or later in life.
The A stands for asexual. Asexual refers to people who do not experience sexual attraction toward others. They may experience other forms of attraction, such as romantic, sensual, or aesthetic attraction. Asexuality is a sexual orientation, not a gender identity, behavior, or medical condition. Some asexual people choose to engage in sexual activities for various reasons despite not experiencing sexual feelings and desire toward any particular person. Asexuality is part of the asexual spectrum (abbreviated "ace spectrum"), an umbrella term and a broad community of identities that are closely related to asexuality when placed on a spectrum ranging from asexual to sexual.
The + stands for all other members of the community, including those who are questioning.
A wide range of things can be mentioned here, this section is for general impacts that people who identify as this term have on society. For example, this section can mention miscellaneous things that people of this group have achieved and contributed to that do not fall into the other sections, or be left blank.
Document the community's most important history, including facts such as key events, breakthroughs in improving the community's wellbeing and rights, or historical figures known to belong to the community.
The original pride flag was designed by Gilbert Baker for the 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Day celebration. It had eight colors: pink stood for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit.
Due to a lack of fabric when the demand for pride flags soared after the assassination of gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk on November 27, 1978, the pink color was removed and in years 1978 and 1979 a seven-stripe version of Baker's flag was used. This started with the Paramount Flag Company using fabric with seven stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue, and violet; soon afterwards Gilbert Baker himself removed the pink color as well from his flag.
In 1979, Baker intended to decorate streetlamps with rainbow banners. To make the process easier, he decided to remove the turquoise color from the flag, so he could have a design with an even number of stripes flanking each lamp pole along the streets. His third and most famous version of the pride flag has six colors and is a widely used pride flag to this day. It has six stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
In 2017, the Philadelphia's Office of LGBT Affairs led by civil rights activist Amber Hikes redesigned the flag to include two new stripes: black and brown. Those stripes were added to include and honor queer people of color. This flag is known as the Philadelphia Pride Flag or Philly Pride Flag.
In 2018, Daniel Quasar modified the Philadelphia Pride Flag and included the colors of the transgender pride flag, as well as expanded the meaning of the black stripe to represent those who are living with HIV and AIDS. The arrow-shaped hoist is meant to symbolize a progressive community that continues to evolve and move forward, and those colors are separated from the rest to emphasize what is currently important in the LGBTQIA+ climate and to recognize that those experiences must be put to the forefront by the wider community as we work toward progress. This flag is known as the Progress Pride Flag.
In 2020, Jason Domino, a sex-worker rights advocate, modified the Progress Pride Flag by adding the red umbrella symbol which is used by sex-workers to include them and honor those LGBTQIA+ rights activists who were also sex workers.
In 2021, Valentino Vecchietti of Intersex Equality Rights UK adapted the Pride Progress flag design to incorporate the intersex flag, creating this Intersex-Inclusive Pride flag 2021.
If there has been a specific variety of this identity-phobic discourse that has led to discrediting it please detail that here. If there have been similar -phobic discourses around popular flags, it can also be documented in this section.
Perceptions and discrimination
This section focuses more on the specific kinds of discrimination and oppression that these people may face. Examples would be mentioning systematic transphobia and non-binary erasure on the page for agender, mentioning rates of mental health issues in this group, etc.
This section should be used to elaborate on the portrayal and representation of this identity in various forms of media, which can include a listing or links to various artists or movies, series, etc.
Here you can place useful resources relevant for the described topic.
- Gender identity is a personal experience, so defining "woman-aligned" may lead to different answers depending on whom you ask, but it generally refers to a non-binary person who is partially aligned or identifies with being female, with femininity, and/or with womanhood. They may or may not individually identify with this term, and their identity may be fluid between others. Its use here attempts to encapsulate multiple identities without listing each possibility.
- While transgender people are generally implied in definitions, trans lesbians are explicitly noted here to make clear that lesbian identity is not limited to cisgender women.
- Examples of labels used to self-identify as both lesbian and bisexual include bisexual lesbian, bi-lesbian, and lesbian-identified bisexual.
- "Binary gender" refers to "man" or "woman".
- Non-binary is an umbrella term for genders that are not exclusively man or woman.