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Back view of transgender and gender fluid group and homosexual people celebrating LGBTQ+ pride month in colorful dress and rainbow flag to embrace the difference and understanding concept

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June is pride month and as the exploration of love, self and sexuality continues to expand, there are many ways humans can define themselves. Identifying as Heterosexual or Homosexual is only the surface. The LGBTQIA+ acronym has evolved over the years with many avenues that fall under this umbrella term.

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The LGBTQIA+ acronym began as only referring to the gay and lesbian community as “gay” but since the 1970s the expansion of that term started to evolve. Overall the LGBTQIA+ community “represents those people who in some way do not identify with heterosexuality and/or the gender binary,” explained by historian and associate professor Chelsea Del Rio. Continue reading below for the definition of the LGBTQIA+ acronym provided by

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Women who are romantically or sexually attracted to other women. The term came into popular usage in the late 1800s when the first known lesbian rights organization in the US, The Daughters of Bilitis, formed in San Francisco.


Romantic or sexual attraction towards a person of the same sex, typically referring to men who are attracted to other men. This term entered the public vernacular in the 1960s during the gay liberation movement. It included history-making events like the Stonewall Riots.


Romantic or sexual attraction to more than one gender. The National Bisexual Liberation Group was founded in 1972, at which point use of this term began to spread.

The term “pansexual” has since entered the chat. Note on pansexual vs bisexual: Pansexual is defined as someone who has romantic, emotional, and physical attractions to any person, regardless of gender. The terms “bi” and “pan” are often said to live under the same umbrella.


People whose gender expression or identity is different from the biological sex they were assigned at birth may identify as transgender. The word wasn’t coined until the 1960s — the earliest usage was found in a psychology book from 1965. Transfeminine activists like Virginia Prince popularized it in place of the outdated term “transexual,” as they argued that gender and sex are separate.

Queer or Questioning

The New York group Queer Nation in 1990 adopted the term and made it a popular and positive label as the HIV/AIDS epidemic took over the country. Any LGBTQIA+ community member can identify as queer. It typically indicates that someone is not straight, or that their sexuality or gender identity changes over time or doesn’t fit into a specific identity. In the past, it was — and occasionally is today — used as an insult. But overarchingly, “queerness” has been reclaimed by the LGBTQIA+ community, who use it as a term of pride.

The Q can also stand for “questioning” — someone who’s exploring their sexuality or gender.


Someone born with sex characteristics (genitals or chromosomes) that don’t fall into the binary male or female categories. There are multiple ways that a person can be intersex. It can be in reference to their internal sex organs, chromosomes or external genitals.

Doctors often assign intersex children into the gender binary of male or female. That doesn’t mean it’s the gender they’ll identify with. The term was coined in the 1950s as doctors performed surgeries on intersex children to alter their anatomy. In the 1990s, advocates spoke up against these surgeries and provided a spotlight for the intersex community.


Someone who experiences little to no sexual attraction to others (also known as “ace”).  Hungarian Karl-Maria Kertbeny introduced the idea of asexuality in 1868 while discussing the idea of monosexuality (people who only masturbate) in response to a sodomy law in Germany.


The “+” represents any of the other lesser-known terms within the community such as;


Someone who doesn’t identify with having a fixed gender.


Feeling sexual attraction to someone who you have an emotional bond with.


Different than asexual. This is someone who doesn’t feel a desire for romance or romantic attraction.

Gender Non-Conforming

Not following the traditional feminine or masculine norms set by society.


Meaning someone who’s in multiple loving relationships at the same time.


When someone falls somewhere between sexual and asexual.


When someone only experiences sexual attraction with someone who is attracted to them (aka reciprocates).


Someone who may feel sexual attraction but may not want those feelings returned.


Someone who’s sexual attraction changes over time (aka fluctuates).




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Happy Pride Month: Here’s What The LGBTQIA+ Acronym Stands For  was originally published on