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The LGBT rainbow flag, based on the one designed in 1978.

LGBT is short for "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender." It is the most well-known collective term for the community of gender, sex and sexuality minorities. Many towns and universities have LGBT groups for local socialising, networking, and activism.

Variant and alternative acronyms[edit | edit source]

The LGBT acronym is sometimes written as LGB, intentionally not including transgender people as part of this group. This can be accurate for resources and groups are only about sexual orientation, not gender identity. LGBT is also sometimes written in a different order: GLBT.

Since the use of the term LGBT became widespread, other minorities have been accepted into the community and added to the end of LGBT acronym in various combinations. These include: Intersex, Pansexual, Asexual, Queer, Questioning, and others. This results in a variety of acronyms, such as LGBTQ, LGBTIQAP, and LGBTQQAP. Since the string of letters can get very long, some writers just imply them by writing a plus sign on the end, such as LGBT+, or LGBTQQAP+. The A, when it is added, typically refers to asexual and aromantic. However there has been some argument by exclusionists that the A stands for allies, as a tactic to separate them from the larger community.

Because the ever longer acronym can become cumbersome to say, some propose rearranging the letters into different acronyms. Others propose an entirely different acronym that summarizes the commonalities of LGBT+ identities, rather than listing them, such as:

  • QUILTBAG (queer/questioning, undecided, intersex, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, asexual, gay) was among the first proposed alternative acronyms. Though it is longer, having the acronym be a pronounceable word made it easy to talk about. However this also leads to confusion, as it is not a distinct word.
  • SAGA (Sexual and Gender Acceptance) is among the acronyms that seek to describe the common threads amongst the community, rather than list out all the possible identities. However, like QUILTBAG, it is a word that has a different meaning, which causes confusion.It also describes an organization, Sexuality and Gender Alliance.
  • GSM (gender and sexuality minorities), or GSRM (gender, sex, and romantic minorities). Criticisms of this term: This excludes some people it shouldn't, such as intersex people, whose sex is neither a gender nor a sexuality. This term has been considered harmful because it could include some kinds of people it shouldn't: people who aren't LGBT+, such as cisgender heterosexual people who consider themselves "sexuality minorities" because they have unusual sexual fetishes, or even harmful paraphilias such as pedophilia.[1]
  • MOGAI (marginalized orientations, gender alignments, and intersex), or MOGII (marginalized orientations, gender identities, and intersex). These terms include intersex people, while excluding people who aren't LGBT+.[2] MOGAI is perhaps easier to say, while MOGII is more accurate, because the correct phrase is "gender identities," not "gender alignments." Though this term seeks to be the most inclusive, it has been criticized by some for the same reasons "GSM" has gained criticism.

Queer[edit | edit source]

Queer is a word with a complex history. Some people choose not to use an acronym, and instead use the word "queer" as a collective term for all these LGBT identities. It is used as a concise way of referring to all parts of the LGBT community. It's also used for all the more difficult-to-define identities that are not heterosexual and/or not cisgender.

Beginning in around the 1980s the word "queer" began to become a political reclamation. Flyers like one circulated in the 1990 New York Pride Parade proclaimed queer as a word indicative of a rejection of heteronormative standards [3] . For many people even today, "queer" represents a rejection of assimilation and respectability politics.

However, "queer" has, and remains in some places, a slur used towards LGBT people[4][5]. The degree to which queer is an offensive word varies by region and by generation. In the early 1990s, the academic discipline of queer theory emerged. This comes from the use of "queer" as a political statement and a gender stance, which places the queerness as being against assimilation. The field of queer theory not only looks into LGBT history, but the ramifications of queer theory itself[6].

However, in other settings, whether rural or urban, queer is a strong slurs against LGBT people. In hate crimes, the word is used along with or instead of strong slurs. As with other hate speech, it is very common among LGBT+ people for the word to be a trigger for post-traumatic flashbacks of memories of violence, harassment, and abuse. As explained by non-gendered activist Christie Elan-Cane, LGBT people who are used to hearing it used as a slur don't want academics and psychologists apply it to them, and they don't like the word genderqueer.[7][8]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Bird. "About MOGAI and MOGII."
  2. Bird. "About MOGAI and MOGII."
  4. Cassell's Dictionary of Slang, 2nd ed (2005), p. 1161.
  5. The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang and Unconventional English (2008), p. 792-793.
  7. Christie Elan-Cane. November 5, 2011.
  8. Mac. November 7, 2011.

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