LGBTQIA+ is an acronym that continues evolving to be inclusive of people of all sexualities and genders— lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual or "ace," ally, pansexual, demisexual, two-spirit, gender-diverse, genderqueer, and gender-fluid.
Each different letter corresponds to a specific identity or group of people. We'll get into the full meaning of LGBTQIA+, as well as the specific details of each letter's meaning below.
The acronym used for the LGBTQIA+ community has evolved and changed over the years in an effort to make it increasingly inclusive, there are still discussion and debates today over the correct terminology.
You may be familiar with the previous acronyms LGB, LGBT, and LGBTQ—which had been in use since the 1990s.
For members of the LGBTQIA+ community, finding an LGBTQ+ affirming therapist who has experience working with people who define as LGBTQIA+ can be essential.
Online directories like Monarch from SimplePractice aim to make it easier to find a mental health therapist matched to your specific individual needs. You can quickly and easily search for and find therapists who specialize in working with members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
The LGB section deals with the sexual identity of an individual. It stands for lesbian, gay, and bisexual:
Lesbian— Women who are affectionately or sexually attracted to other women.
Gay— People who are affectionately or sexually attracted to the same gender, more specifically to describe men who are attracted to men.
Bisexual— Individuals that are affectionately and sexually attracted to both women and men.
The TQIA section comes down to gender identity, queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual. Below is a comprehensive look at what each letter means:
Transgender (or Trans, for short)— An individual whose gender identity doesn't match the sex assigned on their birth certificate. This is also an all-inclusive, umbrella term for a non-binary, gender-diverse, genderqueer, genderfluid, no gender, or multiple gendered person.
Queer— Any gender identity or sexual orientation that is not cisgender or heterosexual.
Questioning— People exploring their gender expressions, gender identity, and sexuality.
Intersex— Commonly used for people that don't match traditional gender norms of man or woman. Can also mean an individual whose reproductive anatomy isn't typical.
Asexual or "ace"— Individuals who may have little or no interest in having sex, even though most desire emotionally intimate relationships and friendship
The + sign at the end is included to represent members of the community who identify with a sexual orientation or gender identity that may not yet be specifically included in the LGBTQIA acronym, including ally, two-spirit, demisexual, pansexual, and others.