LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender diverse, intersex, queer and questioning, asexual and aromantic, plus other related identities. There are many alternative acronyms out there, including GLBT, LGBTIQ, LGBTQIA+, LGBTTIQQ2SA or LGBTIH, to name just a few. Sometimes, you’ll see the word Queer used as an umbrella term for these various identities as well.
Since the 1980s, the term ‘queer’ has been reclaimed as a positive self-identifier. This word operates as an umbrella term for diversity within sex, gender, and sexuality by challenging the societal labelling of some people as “acceptable” and others as “unacceptable”.
We use the term queer in LGBTIQA+ as a way of including the constantly evolving set of identities that exist within the diversity of sex, gender, and sexualities across cultures, times, and contexts.
LGBTQIA+ communities are diverse, and each member of the community will have had different experiences. However, members of LGBTQIA+ communities have in common that they do not fit the ‘heteronormative’ model of society (that is, the model in which cisgendered heterosexual people are considered the ‘normal’). Importantly, many members of LGBTQIA+ communities experience intersectional marginalisation, in that they experience overlapping forms of discrimination and marginalisation (for example, they are both LGBTQIA+ and disabled).