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When I came out as gay more than 10 years ago, there were only four letters commonly

used to group various sexual and gender minorities: L, G, B and T.

These letters were an evolution toward inclusion — an expansion of the language used to
represent a disparate group that had often just been called “the gay community.”

Despite their intent, the letters proved to be limiting.

Times and attitudes have changed, and the language used to discuss sexual orientation
and gender identity has also changed. As a result, the established L.G.B.T. abbreviation
has acquired a few extra letters — and a cluster of ancillary terminology around both
sexuality and gender. Not everyone has adopted them yet.

Take, for example, the addition of “Q” that became increasingly popular as the 20th
century turned into the 21st. Some insisted this stood for “questioning,” representing
people who were uncertain of their sexual orientations or gender identities. Others
declared it was for “queer,” a catchall term that has shed its derogatory origins and is
gaining acceptance.

Now there’s also I, for intersex; A, for ally (or asexual, depending on whom you’re
talking to); and often a plus sign meant to cover anyone else who’s not included:

However that’s just the beginning. In the year since The New York Times first published
this article in Summer 2018, the language used to describe the gender and sexuality
spectrums has grown, with new terms becoming more prominent.

When the idea of MY LGBT PLUS first originated, our team wanted to find a way to
incorporate all identities into our resource. To do so we looked at the two most
commonly used acronyms to define the “gay community”

• L.G.B.T (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and

• L.G.B.T.Q.Q.I.A (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning,

intersex, asexual)

The PLUS (+) in our name ensures that we will always be inclusive of all identities to
make our community feel welcomed and that nobody is left out. We make it a goal to
not have a closed focus mind of the continuing ways people define themselves as.
And yes, straight allies are included in our LGBT+ acronym!
LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender, questioning and
“plus,” which represents other sexual
including pansexual, asexual and
omnisexual. It’s the accepted and
inclusive way to refer to the queer
community, who can be grouped by one
common theme: the fact they don’t
identify as straight or cisgender.
It is, of course, good practice to become well-versed at understanding each of
the subsects of sexuality and gender, so you can be prepared socially for
people who identify as something other than lesbian, gay, bisexual or

It’s also worthwhile noting that another widely accepted term for the
community is queer.

What else does the “+” in LGBTQ+ stand

The “plus” is the least obvious part of the LGBTQ+ initialism, and stands for
those who aren’t questioning their sexuality, but identify as part of a group that
might not be so well known or understood.
We’ve outlined the definitions of some of the “plus” terms below, but for a full
and comprehensive understanding of all the correct language for all sexual
identities, read PinkNews’ comprehensive glossary of all our community’s

GLAAD, or the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, has explained
why we needed to add the plus at the end of LGBTQ.

“Coverage of LGBTQ issues has moved beyond simplistic political

dichotomies and toward more fully realised representations, not only of the
diversity of the LGBTQ community, but also of LGBTQ people’s lives, their
families, and their fundamental inclusion in the fabric of… society,” the
organisation states.

And this has made a tremendous difference, GLAAD adds.

“Today, LGBTQ people’s stories are more likely to be told in the same way as
others — with fairness, integrity, and respect. Journalists realise that LGBTQ
people have the right to fair, accurate, and inclusive reporting of their stories
and their issues.

“Fair, accurate, and inclusive news media coverage has played an important
role in expanding public awareness and understanding of LGBTQ people”.