What Does LGBTQIA+ Mean to Members?

The meaning behind the acronym.


Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

Kianna Koeppen, Health & Lifestyle Editor

The acronym LGBTQIA+ means different things to different people, especially to people within the LGBTQIA+ community.

LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, Intersex, asexual, aromantic or all, and the + represents the other sexualities and genders that exist. A person could affiliate themselves with just one or multiple letters. But how do queer people feel about the acronym and do they feel like fit in with the letters?

It means to me just a bunch of people with different sexualities that want to express themselves in different ways,” said Mason Yeh, treasurer of Woodside’s Rainbow Club, a junior at Woodside, and an activist for LGBTQIA+. “I don’t mean to be rude, but how people feel their sexuality and what not.”

To many members of the community it encompasses unity and a way to express who they really are.

When I think LGBTQIA+, I think that people can choose to identify as something and be something in the world today,” said Chandler Young, president of Woodside’s Rainbow Club, a junior at Woodside, and an activist for LGBTQIA+. “It means that I can be who I want to be because there is a name for anything I want to be.”

For many people the acronym means a way to find out who they are and express the true version of themselves that they wouldn’t express otherwise.

My affiliation with it, I’m so gay, and I’m gonna stick with it,” said Yeh. “I’m not going to change. [My affiliation with LGBTQ] has always been the same throughout high school. It’s been the same, I haven’t changed it a bit.”

Queer is a term that has been used for decades as an insult for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, etc., and it only just came around as a positive umbrella term.

“For sure [other terms can come around],” said Yeh. “Any slang can come around. As you know, for, like, racial slurs they have dug up from the past; so I think words will come around in general. I think [queer] is a defining label. If people don’t know who they are they can identify as queer. It’s more of a ‘I don’t know yet, but maybe’ so they’ll put themselves in that category.”

Young queer people see “queer” as an umbrella term that describes anyone who is not heterosexual and/or cisgender, not as the negative insult that older queer people associate with the word.

“Queer slang has made a return as like a thing that queer people say either as their sexuality or as like a take back the night thing” said Young.

The acronym has changed over the past couple decades from just a few letters to eight to more and encompasses the fluidity and emensement that is LGBQIA+.

“To me lgbtqia+ means unity,” said Lauren Hodgson, a sophomore bisexual activist. “A group of people that is indestructible and determined to have equality and to take strides to achieve equality. It’s thousands of people willing to band together through the good and bad and stick to each other’s sides. It’s a loving and safe community that, for the most parts, accepts everyone for who they are and who they love.”