Acronyms 101

By Nick Atling

An acronym is a series of letters which are used to represent a connected string of words or sounds, like ‘TV’, which is an easier way of saying television.

In the ‘gay’ community, there’s lots of variety which the word gay doesn’t quite cover.

If you’re familiar with the ‘gay community’ you’ve probably heard the acronym LGBT, LGBTQ+, or maybe even LGBTQI+.

The number of letters after LGBT has grown - this is because lots of the LGB and T community have expanded our definitions of sex and gender.

This means our community is more representative and fosters a sense of belonging for more people than ever. Great right?

Here’s a quick rundown of some generally accepted definitions for LGBTQ+ acronyms:

  • Lesbian: a woman who’s attracted to other women
  • Gay: someone, often male, who’s attracted to the same gender
  • Bisexual: someone who’s attracted to both men and women
  • Transgender: a person whose gender identity is different from the sex that they were assigned at birth
  • Queer - originally a slur, the word has been reclaimed

Many members of the community still find 'queer' offensive, it has recently increased in popularity as an umbrella term for lots of people who identify as a gender or sexual minority.

Queer is a way of defining someone without using neat boxes (binaries).

LGBTQ-QIAAP is less often used, as it can be both a mouthful when said out loud, and encompasses lots more letters so isn’t as easy to remember.

QUILTBAG is another less-often used combination of letters, but let’s keep unpacking LGBTQQIAAP first.

Let's keep going... from Q!

  • Questioning: someone who’s exploring their sexuality or gender identity
  • Intersex: someone whose body is not definitively male or female.
  • Asexual: someone who doesn’t experience sexual attraction
  • Pansexual: a person whose sexual attraction isn’t based on gender

QUILTBAG, similar to LGBTQQIAAP has a few more letters to remember, but puts the letters into an easier-to-remember word.

QUILTBAG stands for queer or questioning, undecided, intersex, lesbian, trans, bisexual, asexual or allied and gay or genderqueer - helpfully some of these letters also double up.

As you can see there are lots of acronyms to describe loads of different people. Allies can be covered by the ‘plus’ in LGBTQ+, in the A of LGBTQQIAA and also of QUILTBAG. Allies are part of our community.

Here are a few more acronyms you might sometimes hear or see:

  • FTM / F2M – female-to-male: A transgender person assigned female at birth but is transitioning or has transitioned to the masculine side of the gender spectrum
  • MTF / M2F – male-to-female: A transgender person who was assigned male at birth but is transitioning or has transitioned to the feminine side of the gender spectrum
  • GSM – Gender and Sexuality Minority: an umbrella term for people in the LGBTQQIAAP community
Similar articles

Learn more about the LGBTQ+ community, how Deliveroo supports them and how you can too