LGBTQIA+ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender,[1] 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.[2] 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".[3] QUILTBAG is an alternative with additional meanings for each letter.[4]



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.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14] The term is generally used as a self-identification of sexual or romantic orientation.[14] Although lesbians are frequently defined as women who are exclusively attracted to women,[6] another definition is women primarily attracted to other women.[13] Some prefer to use or additionally use "gay" or "gay woman" as an identifier.[15]

Definitions vary in whether or not they use expanded language, such as a person who self-describes as a woman,[13] or phrasing that explicitly includes people who do not identify only as women, such as woman-aligned[note 1][15] and some genderqueer and/or non-binary people who feel a connection to womanhood.[16] Lesbians may be cisgender or transgender;[6][17][18] since gender is a separate concept from sexual orientation, someone may be both trans and lesbian.[note 2][6][17] 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.[19]

Certain lesbians have used the label to describe their gender in addition to their attractions.[20] 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.[21]

For over a century, lesbians have debated who shares their identity and is part of the lesbian community.[22] 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.[24]


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.[25] This is most commonly associated with men,[26] as a gay woman may prefer to use the term "lesbian" instead.[27][28] Queer and bisexual are also among the terms used for those who are attracted to members of the same gender.[29] In a broader sense of the word, gay can also be used as an umbrella term to identify any LGBTQIA+ individual,[30] though some note that doing so excludes other sexual orientations and gender identities and should thus be avoided.[31]

"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.[32] 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.[33]

Being gay is also referred to as "homosexuality" and thus forms the counterpart of "heterosexuality", the sexual attraction to individuals of the opposite gender.[34] 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.[3]


The B stands for bisexual. Bisexual is a label that describes attraction to two or more genders on the gender spectrum.[35][36] Some bisexual people have a preference toward one or several genders, while others do not.[37] An alternate definition is the sexual attraction to one's own gender and different gender(s).[38]


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).[39] Infants are assigned a sex[40] that is recorded on their birth certificate,[39] 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.[40] 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.[41]

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".[42] Transgender people might transition socially and/or physically from their assigned gender to their actual gender identity.[41]


The Q stands for queer. Queer is an identifier for individuals and/or the community of people who are not cisgender heterosexual.[3][32] 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,[3] whether as a standalone term or part of another like genderqueer.[43] The "Q" in LGBTQIA+ and similar acronyms commonly means Queer.[3] As a reclaimed word, it has been used in fights for LGBTQIA+ rights and liberation[44] as an inclusive and sometimes defiant term. PFLAG[32] and GLAAD[3] 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.[3][32] In addition, the term may be used in preference to other identifiers by members, for a variety of reasons.[45] The "Q" may also stand for questioning.[3]


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.[46][47]


The A stands for asexual. Asexual refers to people who do not experience sexual attraction toward others.[48] They may experience other forms of attraction, such as romantic, sensual, or aesthetic attraction. Asexuality is a sexual orientation,[49] 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.[50] 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.[48]


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.


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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.


An eight-stripe pride flag by Baker

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.[51][52][53]

A seven-stripe pride flag without pink

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.[54]

A six-stripe pride flag without pink and turquoise

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.[54]

An eight-stripe pride flag with black and brown stripes at the top

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.[55]

A six-stripe pride flag with a triangle to the left comprising of white, pink, blue, brown and black colors

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.[2][56][57]

A six-stripe pride flag with a triangle to the left comprising of white, pink, blue, brown and black colors and a red umbrella placed at the top of the triangle

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.[58]

A six-stripe pride flag with a triangle to the left comprising of yellow with a purple circle, white, pink, blue, brown and black colors

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.[59]


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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

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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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Examples of labels used to self-identify as both lesbian and bisexual include bisexual lesbian, bi-lesbian, and lesbian-identified bisexual.[23]
  4. "Binary gender" refers to "man" or "woman".
  5. Non-binary is an umbrella term for genders that are not exclusively man or woman.


  1. "Definition of LGBTQIA". Merriam-Webster. (Archived on January 21, 2022).
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Trans Language Primer: "LGBTQIA+". The Trans Language Primer. (Archived on October 31, 2021).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 GLAAD: "Glossary of Terms - Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual / Queer". GLAAD Media Reference Guide - 10th Edition. (Archived on September 26, 2021).
  4. The Trans Language Primer: "QUILTBAG". The Trans Language Primer. (Archived on October 29, 2021).
  5. Davis, Chloe O.. The Queens' English: The LGBTQIA+ Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial Phrases. Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2021. ISBN 9780593135013. "Lesbian: adjective: As a woman, having a sexual and emotional attraction toward other women." […] "noun: A lesbian woman."
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Holleb, Morgan Lev Edward. The A-Z of Gender and Sexuality: From Ace to Ze. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019. ISBN 9781784506636. "LESBIAN — A woman who is sexually or romantically attracted to women. Lesbian can mean women who are attracted exclusively to other women, but it is also a broader term for women and femmes who are attracted to other women and femmes. This includes bisexual and pansexual women, asexual women who are romantically attracted to women, and non-binary people who identify with womanhood."
  7. Huegel Madrone, Kelly. LGBTQ: The Survival Guide for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens. Free Spirit Publishing, Inc., 2018. ISBN 9781631983023. "lesbian: A woman who is emotionally, romantically, and sexually attracted to other women."
  8. Martínez, Elena M.. Lesbian Voices From Latin America. Routledge, 2017. ISBN 9781351817899. "In this book, the word 'lesbian' is used to refer to the representation of women who have erotic and sexual interest in each other and whose fundamental emotional connections are with other women. My definition coincides with the one proposed by Catherine R. Simpson and Charlotte Bunch, for whom both the erotic and sexual involvement of women is intrinsic to the definition of lesbianism."
  9. Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Issues and Research Gaps and Opportunities. The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding. The National Academies Press, 2011. ISBN 9780309210621. "Lesbian—As an adjective, used to refer to female same-sex attraction and sexual behavior; as a noun, used as a sexual orientation identity label by women whose sexual attractions and behaviors are exclusively or mainly directed to other women."
  10. Merriam-Webster Dictionary: "Lesbian". "Lesbian: (adj.) of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to other women or between women" […] "(noun) woman who is sexually or romantically attracted to other women : a gay woman" (Archived on December 3, 2021).
  11. Coalition of African Lesbians: "Violence based on perceived or real sexual orientation and gender identity in Africa" (PDF). "Lesbian: A woman who is emotionally, romantically, sexually and relationally attracted to other women." (Archived on December 28, 2021).
  12. ILGA-Europe: "ILGA-Europe Glossary". "Lesbian: A woman who is sexually and/or emotionally attracted to women." (as PDF)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 LGBTIQ+ Health Australia: "'LGBTI' people and communities" (2019-06-28). "A lesbian is a person who self-describes as a woman and who has experiences of romantic, sexual, and/or affectional attraction solely or primarily to other people who self-describe as women. Some women use other language to describe their relationships and attractions." (Archived on April 20, 2021).
  14. 14.0 14.1 Stonewall: "List of LGBTQ+ terms". "Lesbian: Refers to a woman who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards women. Some non-binary people may also identify with this term." (Archived on November 17, 2021).
  15. 15.0 15.1 McNabb, Charlie. Queer Adolescence: Understanding the Lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual Youth. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781538132814. "Lesbians are women or woman-aligned people who are sexually or romantically attracted to other women or woman-aligned people. Some lesbians prefer to identify as gay or as gay woman."
  16. Hardell, Ash. The Gay BC's of LGBT+: An Accompaniment to The ABC's of LGBT+. Mango Media Inc., 2017-11-09. "Lesbian: This term is commonly used to refer to women who are attracted to other women. However, some non-binary and/or genderqueer people who feel a connection to womanhood and who are attracted to women, also identify with this term." (web archive)
  17. 17.0 17.1 The Trans Language Primer: "Lesbian". The Trans Language Primer. "Lesbian: Someone, who can be transgender or cisgender, who generally considers themself to be a woman who is attracted to other women. This attraction does not have to be exclusively to women, though many are exclusively attracted to women. Being a lesbian is separate from the concept of gender, and so it is possible for a trans person to be both trans and lesbian. Also, it is generally understood that people who are trans and lesbian are attracted to people of the same broad category of gender, not necessarily of the same trans status." (Archived on October 22, 2021).
  18. DIVA Media Group, et al.: "Not in our name" (2018-12-18). DIVA. "DIVA, Curve, Autostraddle, LOTL, Tagg, Lez Spread The Word, DapperQ, GO Magazine and LezWatch.TV believe that trans women are women and that trans people belong in our community. We do not think supporting trans women erases our lesbian identities; rather we are enriched by trans friends and lovers, parents, children, colleagues and siblings." (Archived on June 29, 2021).
  19. Cromwell, James. "Transgender". Lesbian Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia. Zimmerman, Bonnie (editor), Garland Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0815319207. (web archive)
  20. Calhoun, Cheshire. "The Gender Closet: Lesbian Disappearance under the Sign 'Women'". Feminist Studies. vol. 21, no. 1, Spring 1995. (web archive)
  21. "[GC2021 Worldwide Raw Data - DO NOT EDIT]" (Google Sheets).
  22. Whisnant, Clayton J.. Queer Identities and Politics in Germany: A History, 1880–1945. Harrington Park Press, 2016. ISBN 9781939594105.
  23. Weise, Elizabeth Reba. Closer to Home: Bisexuality & Feminism. Elizabeth Reba Weise (ed.), Seal Press, 1992. (web archive)
  24. "Defining 'Lesbian'". Lesbian Health: Current Assessment and Directions for the Future. Solarz, Andrea L., National Academies Press, 1999. "There is no standard definition of lesbian. The term has been used to describe women who have sex with women, either exclusively or in addition to sex with men (i.e., behavior); women who self-identify as lesbian (i.e., identity); and women whose sexual preference is for women (i.e., desire or attraction)." […] "To the extent that lesbian is defined only by sexual activity with other women, bisexual women may then be included in the category of lesbian. If other definitions of lesbian are used, such as self-identification as lesbian or attraction to women, then a different group is identified that may or may not include women who self-identify as bisexual." (web archive)
  25. "What is LGBTQ?". The Center - The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.
  26. "LGBTQ+ Glossary of Terms". Out Alliance.
  27. GLAAD: "Glossary of Terms - Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual / Queer". GLAAD Media Reference Guide - 10th Edition. (Archived on September 26, 2021).
  28. PFLAG: "National Glossary of Terms". (Archived on January 25, 2022).
  29. Stollznow, Karen (Ph.D.): "Why Is the Word "Homosexual" Considered to Be Offensive?" (2021-05-17). Psychology Today.
  30. Merriam-Webster Dictionary: "Gay Definition".
  31. PFLAG: "National Glossary of Terms". (Archived on January 25, 2022).
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 PFLAG: "National Glossary of Terms". (Archived on January 25, 2022).
  33. "What Is Homosexuality?". WebMD.
  34. Stollznow, Karen (Ph.D.): "Why Is the Word "Homosexual" Considered to Be Offensive?" (2021-05-17). Psychology Today.
  35. American Psychological Association: "Understanding Bisexuality".
  36. Bisexual Resource Center: "What is Bisexuality?".
  37. "What is Bisexuality?" (2022).
  38. "Bisexuality: What Does It Mean?" (2021-06-28). WebMD.
  39. 39.0 39.1 GLAAD: "Glossary of Terms - Transgender". GLAAD Media Reference Guide - 10th Edition. (Archived on October 22, 2021).
  40. 40.0 40.1 The Trans Language Primer: "Birth Assignment". The Trans Language Primer. (Archived on November 1, 2021).
  41. 41.0 41.1 McNabb, Charlie. Nonbinary Gender Identities: History, Culture, Resources. Rowman & Littlefield, 2018.
  42. "Dysphoria = Trans Hub" (2021). Trans Hub.
  43. Cassian: "Gender Census 2021: Worldwide Report" (2021-04-01). Gender Census. (Archived on November 21, 2021).
  44. The Trans Language Primer: "Queer". The Trans Language Primer. (Archived on November 5, 2021).
  45. Scherrer, Kristin: "Coming to an Asexual Identity: Negotiating Identity, Negotiating Desire" (October 1, 2008). National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  46. interACT: "FAQ: What is intersex?".
  47. United Nations for LGBT Equality: "United Nations FACT SHEET Intersex" (PDF).
  48. 48.0 48.1 Asexual Visibility and Education Network: "General FAQ". Asexual Visibility and Education Network. (Archived on January 8, 2022).
  49. Asexual Visibility and Education Network: "Overview". Asexual Visibility and Education Network. (Archived on December 17, 2021).
  50. The Trans Language Primer: "Asexual". The Trans Language Primer. (Archived on October 28, 2021).
  51. LGBTQ PRIDE: Gilbert Baker, creator of rainbow flag, shares story of strength and pride
  52. How The Pride Rainbow Flag Came To Be
  53. Gilbert Baker - The Gay Betsy Ross
  54. 54.0 54.1 Unsung Heroes of the Gay World: Vexillographer Gilbert Baker
  55. The Philly Pride flag, explained
  56. What Do the Colors of the New Pride Flag Mean? Learn about meaning of the colors of the Progress Pride Flag
  57. Paper Mag: Inclusive Pride Flag Campaign Represents Those With HIV/AIDS and QPOC
  58. This new pride flag aims to be the most inclusive ever
  59. Why I redesigned the Pride Progress flag to include intersex