As you’ll know, if you’re a regular reader of Spreadlove™ blog posts, we’re big supporters of the LGBTQ cause. We make sure we regularly cover stories relevant to the groups involved. Something that struck us recently was the way that the acronym is growing to incorporate a more comprehensive group. The latest version of the acronym seems to be LGBTIQQPA2SA.
We thought we’d discover how the acronym, that had begun with gay, has developed into something more all-encompassing. Let’s take a closer look and identify the groups that make up the acronym.
It was in the 1940s that the term gay first came into use as a slang term referring to homosexual men and women. However it soon became apparent that people used term mostly in reference to male homosexuals so any discussion of homosexuality using the term gay would focus solely on men.
Increasingly female homosexuals also wanted to be form part of the discussion. However it wouldn’t be until the feminist movements of the 1960s that the term lesbians would come to wider use to identify them.
The terms Bisexuals and Transgenders were added late in the 1990s to form LGBT after a long campaign for inclusion. The reason for the reluctance? Bisexuals weren’t seen as gay. In fact there still exists some dwindling resistance against bisexuals from members of the gay community. Meanwhile those from the transgender community were seen as belonging to gender identity rather than sexual orientation.
Ok, I knew all that. What are the new terms?
Well, each emerging group wants recognition, and essentially, respect. Each group wants to be recognized for their role in shaping a more open-minded society. This is acronyms such as LGBTIQ are now becoming more widely used.
Intersex has emerged as the modern update on hermaphrodite and those identifying themselves as such want to be seen as part of the force changing people’s perceptions. Intersex is for those who have a pattern of chromosomes, internal reproductive organs and genitalia that differ from being either male or female.
Queer was, and still is to many people, a derogatory term referring to anyone who didn’t identify as heterosexual or fitting the usual gender identities. However queer is being reclaimed and used in a more positive light as a general term for anyone whose sexual inclinations aren’t strictly heterosexual. Despite its use as part of the acronym, Q for Queer remains offensive to a lot of people. Many from the community refuse to use it.
Another Q is for those Questioning their sexual inclinations and/or gender identification. They are facing their own period of struggle or discovery (depending on how you see it) about the sexuality, gender identification etc.
Pansexual is for those who find themselves attracted to people of all and any sexual orientation and/or sexual identity.
Asexuals are not sexually attracted to anyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender definition. This does not affect their ability to create strong romantic and emotional ties to people.
There are other letters that are specific to regions of the world. For example, there is the 2S community in North America. 2S, or Two-Spirit (or Twospirit), is a general term given by Indigenous Americans to those in their community who are homosexuals, bisexuals or question their birth-assigned gender type.
Allies are those who strongly support all or some of the groups that make up the ever-widening community. They don’t usually have any inclinations towards homosexuality or have had the need to question their gender. This means that some in the LGBT… community do not recognize their addition to the acronym. For many the community is for those who face oppression and they feel that allies do not face the kind of prejudice that they do. Some even feel that those who identify as allies only do so to be seen as liberal and bask in the warm light of approval
With people finding the courage to be heard and recognized they found others with similar inclinations and formed the groups that make up LGBTIQQPA2SA. What the beautiful burgeoning of this acronym means is that, as society has become more aware of the wider range of sexual inclinations, it has expanded to accommodate these groups.
We could say that the number of characters now needed for this acronym is getting ridiculous. On the other hand we can also say that the longer the acronym gets, the more open-minded we are becoming as a society. Yes, the acronym is getting longer and LGBTIQQPA2SA is already difficult to rattle off but it is also cause for celebration!
What do you think? Are there some letters you think should be added or omitted? Let us know your thoughts in our comments section.