An umbrella term that refers, with some variants (see below), to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual—representing communities that have banded together as a larger coalition of sexual/gender minorities in the U.S. to advance their interests socially and politically. From a progressive perspective, this coalition represents a modern day civil rights movement, hearkening back to African-American activism in the 1960s. From a religious conservative perspective, the analogy with race and former civil rights activism is limited and, at times, misleading. Some religious communities experience what they call same-sex attraction but do not identify with the larger LGBTQIA community.
A movement to be inclusive of all members of the community, representing them in both name and letter, is evident in the name changes of one advocacy group: it started as the National Gay Task Force in 1973, later changed the name to National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and as of 2014 had exchanged that name for National LGBTQ Task Force.
Many variations of this abbreviation (and its corresponding terms) exist in current usage. The Q can also mean questioning; the A can refer to agender or ally. Many people use the shorter version LGBT; others use LGBTQ on the basis that the Q itself is an umbrella term; still others refer to LGBTQ+. Critics deride the “alphabet soup” feel of the abbreviation, and some jokingly refer to it as LGBTQIA LMNOPQRS… (singing the rest of the alphabet).
“LGBTQIA Resource Center Glossary,” University of California, Davis
Jacob Tobia, “LGBTQIA: A Beginner’s Guide to the Great Alphabet Soup of Queer Identity,” Policy.Mic, March 2, 2013
“What Does LGBTQIA Mean?” Tahoe Safe Alliance
Tracy Hollister, John Backman
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