It’s pride month! I’m going to do a quick breakdown of the pride acronym and share a few variations!
The most common acronym that you’ll see around is LGBTQ . You’ll also get LGBT, LGBTQIA, LGBTQIAP, LGBTQ+, LGB, QuILTBAG, etc . These letters stand for:
Lesbian – a woman who is primarily or exclusively attracted to other women
Gay – a person who is attracted primarily or exclusively to people of their own gender
Bisexual – a person who is attracted to people of their own gender, and to people of different genders *
Transgender – a person whose gender does not match the gender they were assigned when they were born
Queer – an umbrella term, once used as a slur, now reclaimed by the community of people who are not cisgender and straight. It can be used in a huge number of ways, but the people who use it do not experience attraction and/or gender in a manner celebrated by our society.
Questioning – a person who thinks they may be a part of one of these groups, but isn’t sure yet. They may be trying on different gender labels or presentations, or wondering if they experience same-gender attraction.
Intersex – a person who has physical/biological markers of more than one sex. This could be in genital presentation, internal reproductive anatomy, or chromosomes.
Asexual – a person who does not experience sexual attraction.
Pansexual – a person who is attracted to people of multiple genders *
Now, unless you use a full LGBTQAIP+ acronym every time you write it out, it can feel like you’re leaving identities out of the acronym. The word “queer” helps with that a little – it’s a great umbrella term that indicates any kind of non-typical gender experience or sexual attraction, but it also is a heavily charged word. It was used as a slur against the community for decades, and still gets thrown around as an insult in some places. I wouldn’t suggest using the word queer unless you identify under that umbrella, or someone you personally know has asked you to use that word to identify them.
Two acronyms sometimes used in academic writing about the queer community are GSM and MOGAI.
Those are ‘Gender and Sexual Minorities’ and ‘Marginalized Orientations, Gender Alignments, and Intersex’. These acronyms are carefully designed to cover the entire group of oppressed or marginalized people under the queer umbrella. They’re a bit awkward to say, and uncommon, but they serve good purpose in academic discourse.
If you’re writing or talking about any of the groups I mentioned above, make sure you use the acronym that you’re actually talking about. I see a lot of studies that say that they polled “LGBT men”, for example, or “LGBT students” but later go on to explain that they didn’t speak with any trans students. If your conversation excludes a group, don’t include them in your acronym, because you aren’t appropriately representing all of the groups you’re mentioning.
On the other hand, if you mean to be talking about all of the groups under the queer umbrella, but realize that you aren’t appropriately representing all of them, change the conversation. Include the people that you forgot. Make your work or your conversation more inclusive.
I’ll be writing a bunch more posts on these topics as the month goes on, so stay tuned**!
* bi v. pan breakdown to come later this month
** other topics on the docket: cissexism, cops at Pride parades, supporting queer people of color, asexuality and aromanticism, why A sometimes does stand for ally, and more. Any requests?