Many years ago they were all gay. That is what I remember. But somehow the word “gay” started to mean “gay men” more than women. So to include women the gays switched to the more inclusive “gay and lesbian.” I have been confused and now, although everchanging, I wanted to know what does LGBYQIA+ mean?

After that, Bisexuals, who were only part-time gays, wanted to be added as well. So, the gays (not without some protest), and by the early 1990s became the LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) community.

With increase recognition and a power grab for federal funds, specifically the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, during the late ’90s, a few gay rights groups and activists started using a new acronym, LGBT — adding T for transgender/transsexual.

So where are we now, and what does it mean, LGBT and LGBTQIA+ are acronyms used to describe the community of people who don’t identify as heterosexual, straight, or cisgender. 

What Does LGBTQIA+ Stand For?

The acronym LGBTQIA+ is an ever growing and evolving acronym. It is an inclusive term covering people of all genders and sexualities, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual, and allies. Since this is not one group but several different groups, it’s important to examine what each different letter stands for.

Meaning of LGB

The first three letters of LGBTQIA+ deal with sexual identity. LGB can be broken down into lesbian, gay, and bisexual. Explore the meanings of these different terms.

  • lesbian – term for women sexually and affectionately oriented toward other women. However, the term can also be used by non-binary individuals, especially those that are attracted to women or feel connected to womanhood
  • gay – homosexual person or those attracted to same gender
  • bisexual – those that are sexually and affectionately attracted both to men and women

The T Defined

The T in LGBTQIA+ can have several different meanings, but typically deals with gender identity. Some words have fallen out of favor or their meanings are slightly different depending on the person.

  • trans – an inclusive term for transgender, non-conforming, and non-binary individuals
  • transsexual – can mean someone transitioning from one sex to another using surgery or medical treatments. However, this term has fallen out of favor for trans or transgender.
  • transgender – term for someone that identifies as a different gender than what was assigned on their birth certificate

What Does QIA Mean

QIA stands for questioning/queer, intersex, and asexual. Dive into the meanings of these letters in the acronym.

  • questioning – when a person is exploring their sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression
  • queer – this term can have various definitions but can be seen as an inclusive term or as a unique celebration of not molding to social norms
  • intersex – this word can have various meanings; it’s used for individuals that don’t fit into specific gender norms of woman or man; it can also be used for those with reproductive anatomy that isn’t typical
  • asexual – use for those that don’t feel sexual attraction to either sex or that don’t feel romantic attraction in the typical way


LGBTQIA+ Meaning

To be inclusive to everyone, the LGBTQ full acronym has changed to add the plus at the end. This works to allow the acronym to cover new subsects of the community like:

  • ally – a term for individuals that support and rally the cause even though they don’t identify within the community
  • pansexual/omnisexual – similar to bisexual, this describes individuals with desire for all genders and sexes
  • androgynous – describes those with both male and female traits
  • genderqueer – a gender term used for those with no, both, or a combination of genders
  • two-spirit – typically used by Native Americans to describe a third gender
  • demisexual– describes someone that requires an emotional bond to form a sexual attraction
  • polyamorous– term for those open to multiple consensual romantic or sexual relationships at one time.

While this works to cover some of the different initials in LGBTQIA+, it is far from an all-inclusive list. New terms can be added under the “umbrella” of the plus at the end of the acronym.

Defining LGBTQIA+ Acronym

In most circles, LGBTQIA+ means lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, and asexual. However, the plus allows the term to cover all different subsects like allies, pansexual, androgynous, and polyamorous. Keep your exploration of acronyms going by looking at a list of common acronyms.

So there you have it. You now know what LGBTQIA+ means.