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What is LGBTQIA+ Exactly?


Ever see a big string of letters and a rainbow flag and wonder what the heck is going on? I’m here to explain a little bit of that to you.

I realize I talk about many of these terms and there are probably some you are not familiar with. This is by no means exhaustive, but should give you a basic idea as well as some of the things represented by the + sign.

First, we have to understand that there is a difference between orientation, expression, and identity. The term LGBTQIA+ refers to a mix of all three of these. I’ll touch more on this later.

L is for Lesbian. This is for anyone who identifies as a woman and is attracted to people who identify as women.

G is for Gay. These are people who identify as men and are attracted to others who identify as men.

B is for Bisexual and these are people who are attracted to two or more genders.

T is for Transgender. These are people who identify as a different gender (or lack thereof) than the gender assigned at birth.

Q is for Queer. This is an umbrella term for nonbinary sexual orientation and nonbinary gender expressions. There is some debate that this stands for Questioning.

I is for Intersex. These are people who have chromosomes that do not fit XX or XY. This usually results in a mix of primary or secondary sex characteristics.

A is for asexual and aromantic. This is for people who do not feel sexual or romantic attraction. However, they are not mutually exclusive. Both of which are on their own spectrum and deserve an article for themselves.

+ could stand for lots of things. Given that Queer has its own spectrum of things. As well as asexual, aromantic, and trans.

The major one with + is pansexual, meaning an attraction to all genders.

There are also things like Two-Spirit that native Americans have as well various other cultures each with various perspectives on gender.

Imagine most of these are on a spectrum. There are people who lean hard one way (transfem/transmasculine), sit somewhere in the middle (genderqueer, bigender, androgyne,) only sometimes close to one side (demigender,) jump around (genderfluid) or outside altogether (agender.)

Then we have the asexual and aromantic spectrum that explains how someone may not feel sexual or romantic attraction and the specific situations where they sometimes might. The common ones for that autochorrisexual, fraysexual, lithsexual, demisexual, gray asexuality, and quiroromantic. These are nuanced definitions that generally speak to the fact that not every asexual does not engage in engage in sexual activities but sometimes does. These are generally coined by the community, academics, authors, and fully explored by a number of people who also feel this way.

Back to the bigger picture:

LGBA are orientations. They explain who you are attracted to.

Trans* relates to the gender(s) or lack thereof you identify as.

Gender expression is does not have its own letter, but can play an important role in how an intersex, queer, or trans* person chooses to present themselves to the public (or just at home if they haven’t come out yet, or not at all because some people choose not to express anything.)

I hope this has helped a little bit. If you already knew it, there’s a new article every Friday. Sometimes about the culture, sometimes about occultism, sometimes both!




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