The LGBTQIA+ acronym: What’s it all about?


A recent survey by a British pub chain found that while 69% of the public consider themselves allies of sexually and gender-diverse communities, 30% didn’t know what the common letters of the acronym stood for. So let’s examine the initials that comprise the LGBTQIA+ acronym common in 2022.

Like any large — or small — group of people, the sexually and gender-diverse communities are by definition diverse. Gloriously so. People are different. It’s what makes us interesting. But the sexually and gender-diverse communities gather under various and ever-changing umbrella terms because of a shared history of marginalisation and persecution. At the moment, LGBTQIA+ is increasingly popular.

Some complain the acronym does not remain static. But what does? Times change. People evolve. Language transforms. Mullets go out of style. And return. Life moves on. We no longer call a car a horseless carriage — or even an automobile. And again, people are different. Many prefer to choose their own umbrella term.

Some people call themselves stamp collectors. Others prefer philatelist.


Beat your own drum. Wave your own flag. Choose your own mob. Call yourself what you will. You only live once!

Definitions do evolve and often mean different things to different people. Take these as a generally agreed starting point.


Women sexually and/or emotionally attracted to other women. Some women prefer the term ‘gay women’.


Men sexually and/or emotionally attracted to other men.


Sexually and/or emotionally attracted to more than one gender.


People with gender identities different from that assigned at birth.


People with natural traits, such as hormonal levels or genitalia, that do not match what is typically identified as male or female.


Historically a slur, now reclaimed by many, the meaning of Queer can vary according to the user, meaning sometimes that a person is neither straight nor cisgender or that they reject labelling gender and sexual orientation. Some people maintain their offence to the term.


People unsure of how they identify. Which is perfectly fine. Who does fit neatly into a box?


People who experience either low or nil sexual attraction.


People who experience little to no romantic attraction.


People who are genderless/lacking gender/gender neutral.


A fluid sexual orientation/sexual orientation changes over time).

(Many people believe the A represents Ally: Cisgender and straight people who believe in social and legal equality for LGBTIQA+ people. However, while we love and appreciate the valuable support of our allies, the acronym is intended to describe sexually and gender-diverse people.)

Don’t forget the +

Other people with non-normative gender identities or sexual orientations.

Sistergirls and Brotherboys

In Australia, we also use Sistergirl and Brotherboy for trans and gender-diverse people from some Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities.

LGBTQIA+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy

The most important thing to remember about the LGBTQIA+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy acronym and all its variations is that all the people under those umbrellas are just that.


People — like everyone else — finding their own path through this thing called life. Be tolerant. Be kind. That is easy.

Also: A Glossary of Identity and Gender Terms.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia


  1. Ash
    18 August 2022

    In this, you have gotten a couple things wrong. For starters, you could redefine asexual as “experiencing little to no sexual attraction”, as there is a difference between attraction and desire. Not only this, but you should remove the “Ally” part, as allies are not part of the community OR acronym, they support it. Along with both of these changes, the “A” in “LGBTQIA+” also stands for aromantic (experiencing little to no romantic attraction), agender (a person who is genderless/lacking gender/gender neutral), and abrosexual (someone who has a fluid sexual orientation; their sexual orientation changes over time). If you were to apply these changes, it would be greatly appreciated, as not only will this be more inclusive to the other identities under the “A”, but it will also remove the erasure these identities experience due to all the false claims that the “A” means allies, and that allies are part of the community

    An aroace agender person

  2. 18 August 2022

    Hi Ash, and thank you for your insight.
    We’ll make most of those changes. I discussed ‘Ally’ with my fellow writers here at QNews and the consensus was to retain a mention because of the common misconception but to add context. x

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *