Let's explore LGBT Diversity and Inclusion!

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The world is becoming more diverse and accepting of different ways of life, and the LGBT community is at the forefront of this movement.

With increasing visibility and representation in media and politics, LGBT individuals are gaining the recognition and respect they deserve.

However, despite the progress that has been made, there are still many challenges and barriers that they face.

In this article, we will explore various aspects of LGBT identity, including history, culture, rights, and current issues, to gain a better understanding of the experiences of LGBT individuals and their impact on society as a whole.

Whether you're a member of the community, an ally, or simply curious about this important topic, this article is a great place to start.

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What is LGBT?

The term LGBT has become increasingly common since the 1990s, standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.

This initialism and its variations serve as an umbrella term that encompasses a range of sexualities and gender identities.

Origins of the LGBT Initialism

The LGBT initialism emerged in the mid-to-late 1980s as an adaptation of the LGB initialism, which was created to replace the term gay (or gay and lesbian) and better encompass the broader LGBT community.

The term LGBT gained prominence as a more inclusive and comprehensive descriptor.

Inclusion of Non-Heterosexual and Non-Cisgender Individuals

LGBT refers to anyone who identifies as non-heterosexual or non-cisgender, and not solely to those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

Non-cisgender refers to individuals whose gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. It includes people who don't identify strictly as male or female, such as those who identify as non-binary, genderqueer, or genderfluid.{alertInfo}

The shorter initialism LGB is still used when referring to individuals who do not identify as transgender.

Variations of the LGBT Initialism

To acknowledge the inclusion of those who identify as queer or are questioning their sexual or gender identity, the initialism of LGBTQ has gained popularity.

"Queer" is a term used to describe sexual orientations and gender identities that are not exclusively heterosexual or cisgender. It can be used as a self-identifier or as an inclusive term for the LGBTQ+ community.{alertInfo}

The "Q" in this variation stands for "queer" or "questioning."

However, it's important to note that not everyone agrees that the initialisms LGBT or GLBT are inclusive of all identities they're intended to represent.

Importance of LGBT Inclusion

Using inclusive language like LGBT can help create a more welcoming and accepting environment for individuals who identify as non-heterosexual or non-cisgender.

It's essential to respect and acknowledge individuals' identities and avoid invalidating their experiences.

History of LGBTQ Terminology and Its Evolution over Time

The LGBTQ community has come a long way in terms of gaining recognition, rights, and acceptance.

However, the evolution of LGBTQ terminology has been a complex and controversial issue, with various terms being used over time to describe this community.

Here, we will explore the history of LGBTQ terminology, how it has evolved over time, and the controversies surrounding its usage.


The first widely used term to describe non-heterosexual individuals was "homosexual".

However, this term has often been associated with negative connotations in the United States.

Today, it is mostly used in scientific contexts.

The Rise of "Gay"

In the 1970s, "gay" became a more popular term, especially as lesbians started to forge more public identities.

This led to the phrase "gay and lesbian" becoming more common.

However, disagreements arose as to whether the primary focus of political aims should be feminism or gay rights, leading to the dissolution of some lesbian organizations, such as Daughters of Bilitis, which was founded by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon.

Equality was a priority for lesbian feminists, and they rejected gender role play that had been pervasive in bars, as well as the perceived chauvinism of gay men.

The Emergence of LGBTQ

Some lesbians who believed that their sexual orientation was innate and used the term "lesbian" to describe themselves often disagreed with separatist views held by lesbian feminists.

They felt that these separatist opinions were harmful to the progress of gay rights.

Bisexual and transgender people also sought recognition as legitimate categories within the larger minority community.

However, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, after the Stonewall riots, some gays and lesbians became less accepting of bisexual or transgender people, arguing that they were simply afraid to come out.

The Stonewall Riots were a series of protests by the LGBTQ+ community in 1969 in New York City. The riots were a response to police raids and mistreatment at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar. These events marked a turning point in the LGBTQ+ rights movement and are commemorated each year during Pride Month.{alertInfo}

From around 1988, activists began to use the initialism of LGBT in the United States.

Not until the 1990s did gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people gain equal respect, prompting some organizations to adopt new names.

Although the LGBT community has seen much controversy regarding the universal acceptance of different member groups, the term LGBT has been a positive symbol of inclusion.

The Preferred Initialism - LGBTQ

In 2016, GLAAD, an LGBTQ+ media advocacy organization, stated that LGBTQ is the preferred initialism to refer to the community.

This is because it is inclusive of younger individuals who embrace the term "queer" as a way to describe themselves.

However, it's important to note that some older members of the community view "queer" as a derogatory term that originated from hate speech.

As a result, they reject its usage and prefer other terms to describe themselves.

Understanding the Variants in the LGBTQ+ Acronym

The LGBTQ+ acronym has become more popular in recent years, and it is used to represent a community of people with different sexual orientations and gender identities.

The acronym has gone through many variations, and it is important to understand the meaning behind each variant.


One of the most common variants is LGBTQIA, where the "A" stands for asexual, aromantic, or agender.

This acronym is used to include people who identify as

  • asexual: They have no sexual attraction.
  • aromantic: They have no romantic attraction.
  • agender: They don't identify with any gender.


The "+" in LGBTQIA+ represents those who are part of the community but for whom LGBTQ does not accurately capture or reflect their identity.

This can include people who identify as genderqueer, non-binary or any other identity that is not included in the original acronym.

Criticism of Longer Acronyms

Longer acronyms such as QUILTBAG or LGBTTIQQ2SA have been criticized for their length, leading to the term "alphabet soup".

"Alphabet soup" is a humorous term used to refer to the expanding collection of letters or acronyms that represent diverse identities within the LGBTQ+ community. It highlights the inclusivity of different sexual orientations and gender identities but can also be seen as complex or unwieldy.{alertInfo}

The implication that the acronym refers to a single community is also controversial since it fails to reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community.

Order of Letters

The order of letters in the acronym has not been standardized, and variations exist.

For example, in Spain, LGTB is used, reversing the letters "B" and "T".

The terms pansexual, omnisexual, fluid, and queer-identified are regarded as falling under the umbrella term bisexual.

Other Variants

Other variants of the acronym include adding a "U" for "unsure," a "C" for "curious," another "T" for "transvestite," a "TS" or "2" for "two-spirit" persons, or an "SA" for "straight allies".

However, including straight allies in the acronym has proven controversial, with many accusing them of using LGBTQ+ advocacy to gain popularity and status.

Straight allies are individuals who are not part of the LGBTQ+ community but support and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and equality.{alertInfo}

The Inclusion of Allies

Adding allies to the acronym has sparked controversy, with some seeing the inclusion of allies in place of asexual/aromantic/agender as a form of LGBTQ+ erasure.

It is essential to note that variant terms do not typically represent political differences within the community but arise simply from the preferences of individuals and groups.

Transgender and Intersex Inclusion in the LGBT Community

The LGBT community has come a long way in terms of inclusion and acceptance, but there are still many challenges to overcome.

Two groups that often face discrimination and exclusion within the community are transgender and intersex individuals.

Here, we will explore the importance of including trans and intersex people in the LGBT community and the challenges they face.

Transgender Inclusion

Transgender individuals have been a part of the LGBT community for decades, but the term "trans*" has emerged as a more inclusive alternative.

While "trans" has traditionally been used to describe trans men and trans women, "trans*" covers all non-cisgender identities, including as follows:

  • Transgender
  • Transsexual
  • Transvestite
  • Genderqueer
  • Genderfluid
  • Non-binary
  • Genderfuck
  • Genderless
  • Agender
  • Non-gendered
  • Third gender
  • A two-spirit
  • Bigender
  • Trans man and trans woman

However, some transsexual individuals object to being grouped under the umbrella term "transgender."

One of the main challenges faced by trans individuals is discrimination and violence.

Trans people face higher rates of physical violence, sexual assault, and murder than any other group within the LGBT community.

Inclusion within the community can help to raise awareness and advocate for the rights of trans individuals.

It is also important to acknowledge that trans individuals face unique challenges, such as access to healthcare, legal recognition of their gender identity, and acceptance from family and friends.

Intersex Inclusion

Intersex individuals are those born with sex characteristics that do not fit typical male or female classifications.

Adding intersex people to the LGBT community has been a topic of discussion for many years.

Some use the initialism LGBTI or LGBTIQ to include intersex individuals, while others prefer not to be included as part of the term.

The relationship between the intersex and the LGBT community is complex.

While some intersex individuals are same-sex attracted, others are heterosexual.

Inclusion within the LGBT community can help to raise awareness and advocate for the rights of intersex individuals.

However, it is important to recognize that inclusion within the LGBT community can fail to address intersex-specific human rights issues.

Research has shown that intersex individuals have higher rates of same-sex attraction than the general population.

However, this research has been used to explore means of preventing homosexuality, which is not an appropriate use of this information.

Intersex individuals have unique challenges, such as access to healthcare and legal recognition of their sex characteristics.

Inclusion within the LGBT community can help to raise awareness and advocate for their rights.

The Complexities of LGBT Identity

The LGBT initialism is a widely recognized acronym for individuals with non-heterosexual orientations.

However, the umbrella term has been the subject of debate among individuals who believe that the acronym's scope is too broad, lacking the necessary specificity to describe the diversity of the community.

Differing Identities

The LGBT or GLBT initialisms are not universally accepted as encompassing all gender identities and sexual orientations.

Those who are transgender, or transsexual argue that their cause is distinct from that of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals.

This argument is based on the idea that gender identity, or one's understanding of being or not being a man or a woman, is separate from sexual orientation or attraction.

Distinctions have been made in the context of political action in which LGB goals, such as same-sex marriage legislation and human rights work, may not include transgender and intersex individuals.

Thus, the inclusion of the "T" in the acronym has been the subject of debate.


Another point of debate within the LGBT community is the belief in "lesbian and gay separatism."

This belief holds that lesbians and gay men should form a separate community, distinct from other groups included in the LGBTQ sphere.

While not always appearing in sufficient numbers or organization to be called a movement, separatists are a significant, vocal, and active element within many parts of the LGBT community.

In some cases, separatists deny the existence or right to equality of bisexual orientations and transsexuality, leading to public biphobia and transphobia.

Biphobia refers to prejudice against bisexual individuals, while transphobia refers to prejudice against transgender individuals. Biphobia involves stereotypes and denial of bisexuality, while transphobia includes discrimination and hostility towards gender identities that don't conform to societal norms.{alertInfo}

However, some argue that the separation of the transgender movement from the LGB community would be "political madness."

They believe that queers and transgender people are gender deviant and celebrate their discordance with mainstream straight norms.

The Myth of an All-Encompassing Community

Not all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals subscribe to or approve of the political and social solidarity that normally goes with the "LGBT community" or "LGB community" label, including gay pride marches and events.

Some of them believe that grouping people with non-heterosexual orientations perpetuates the myth that being non-heterosexual makes a person deficiently different from others.

These individuals are often less visible compared to more mainstream LGBT activists, and it is common for people to assume that all LGBT people support LGBT liberation and the visibility of LGBT people in society.

In the 1996 book Anti-Gay, a collection of essays edited by Mark Simpson, the concept of a 'one-size-fits-all' identity based on LGBT stereotypes is criticized for suppressing the individuality of LGBT people.

Reforming Alliances

In 2014, Julie Bindel questioned whether the various gender groupings now, "bracketed together[,] ... share the same issues, values, and goals?"

She refers to several possible new initialisms for differing combinations and concludes that it may be time for the alliances to either be reformed or go their "separate ways."

In 2015, the slogan "Drop the T" was coined to encourage LGBT organizations to stop supporting transgender people.

The campaign has been widely condemned by many LGBT groups as transphobic.

Exploring Alternative Terms

Sexual and gender minorities have often been referred to by various initialisms like LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQ+, and others.

However, many people are now searching for a more generic term that can replace the multiple existing initialisms.

Here, we will explore some of the alternative terms that have been proposed and adopted.


Queer has been used as an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities, but it has not been widely adopted.

The term has negative connotations for older people who remember it as a taunt and insult.

It also has political connotations that some younger people understand but do not necessarily relate to LGBT.

Despite this, some people still prefer the term queer, as it is more inclusive than other initialisms.


SGM, or GSM, which stands for sexual and gender minorities, has gained traction in government, academia, and medicine.

It has been adopted by the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the UCLA Williams Institute, which studies SGM law and policy.

The term is inclusive of those who may not self-identify as LGBT or those who have specific medical conditions affecting reproductive development.

An NIH paper recommends the use of SGM for this reason.

Similarly, GSRM is used to include romantic minorities such as aromanticism.

Aromanticism is an orientation where individuals do not experience romantic attraction or have a limited desire for romantic relationships. They may still experience other forms of attraction.{alertInfo}

This term is more explicitly inclusive of minority romantic orientations and polyamory.

Polyamory is a relationship style where individuals have multiple open and consensual romantic or emotional relationships at the same time. It involves honesty, communication, and consent among all parties involved. It is important to differentiate polyamory from cheating, as it is based on ethical non-monogamy and mutual agreement.{alertInfo}

In Nepal, the Constitution identifies "gender and sexual minorities" as a protected class.


The term rainbow has been used to describe the LGBT community.

However, it has connotations that recall hippies, New Age movements, and other groups.

SGL, or same-gender-loving, is sometimes favored among gay male African Americans as a way of distinguishing themselves from what they regard as white-dominated LGBT communities.

Further Umbrella Terms

In Canada, the term 2SLGBTQ+ is used, with the first two characters standing for Two-spirit.

This term is intended to encompass all sexual and gender minorities, and for some indigenous people, two-spirit invokes a combination of identities, including sexual, gender, cultural, and spiritual.

Some people advocate the term "minority sexual and gender identities" (MSGI) or "gender, sexual, and romantic minorities" (GSRM).

These terms are more explicitly inclusive of minority romantic orientations and polyamory.

Other rare umbrella terms are Gender and Sexual Diversities (GSD), MOGII (Marginalized Orientations, Gender Identities, and Intersex), and MOGAI (Marginalized Orientations, Gender Alignments, and Intersex).


In public health settings, MSM ("men who have sex with men") is clinically used to describe men who have sex with other men without referring to their sexual orientation.

Similarly, WSW ("women who have sex with women") is used as an analogous term.


MVPFAFF is an abbreviation for Māhū, Vakasalewa, Palopa, Fa'afafine, Akava'ine, Fakaleitī (Leiti), and Fakafifine.

This term was developed in 2010 at the Asia Pacific Games Human Rights Conference by Phylesha Brown-Acton.

It refers to those in the rainbow Pasifika community who may or may not identify with the LGBT acronym.

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