What does LGBTQIA+ stand for and what does it mean?

You’ve probably heard the terms LGB, LGBTQ or even LGBTQIA+. The letters are an abbreviation for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Intersex Asexual +. The term is an inclusive way to describe a diverse group of people who identify as having different characteristics, including biological sex, gender identity, and sexual attraction.

For many years the term LGBT was widely used to describe people who do not identify as exclusively heterosexual. However, terms LGBTQIA and LGBTQIA+ have become more widespread, in recognition of the fact that there are a wide range of differences between how people identify. So what does LGBTQIA+ stand for?


What does the L in LGBTQIA+ stand for?

Lesbian. Someone who identifies as female who is attracted to people who also identify as female. Attraction isn’t necessarily limited to sexual attraction, attraction can be physical, emotional or romantic.


What does the G in LGBTQIA+ stand for?

Gay. Generally, someone who identifies as male who is attracted to people who also identify as male. As mentioned above, attraction can take different forms depending on the individual.

Gay is also a widely used generic term to describe homosexuality, such as a gay man or gay woman.


What does the B in LGBTQIA+ stand for?

Bisexual. A person who is attracted to people from both genders or sexes.

The extent of attraction can vary considerably between individuals. For some people there is an equal level of attraction to genders or sexes, whereas others may prefer one gender or sex over another.


What does the T in LGBTQIA+ stand for?

Trans. An abbreviation for the terms transgender and transsexual.

Generally speaking, the gender or sex identify of a transgender person is different to their biological gender or sex.

A transsexual person has physically changed their body (often with medical assistance and/or surgery) to closer match their gender or sex identity.


What does Q in LGBTQIA+ stand for?

Queer. Like the broader use of the word gay, queer is an all-encompassing term referring to people who are not exclusively heterosexual. It would typically apply to everyone under the umbrella term LGBTQIA+.

Queer was historically a derogative term. It has been widely accepted that the word has been reclaimed by the LGBTQIA+ community.


What does I in LGBTQIA+ stand for?

Intersex. Intersex people are born with biological characteristics that may not fit the traditional definition of a male or female body. These variations may include genetic factors like chromosomes and/or physical characteristics like genitalia. It can also refer to people who identify as both male and female.


What does A in LGBTQIA+ stand for?

Asexual. Someone who does not feel strong sexual attraction.

It may signify agender, meaning someone who either does not identify, or prefers not to be identified with, a specific gender.

It may even signify allied, meaning people who do not identify as LGBTQIA+ but who acknowledge or are even actively involved in confronting prejudice and discrimination.


What does the plus symbol in LGBTQIA+ stand for?

Others. Signifies other forms of attraction, gender and sex not already covered by the term LGBTQIA. It may include, but is not limited to:

  • Someone attracted to any gender or sex across the whole spectrum.
  • Someone attracted to people who are not heterosexual, including LGBTQIA+ people as well as people who identify as androgynous and gender fluid.
  • Used instead of, or in addition to, the term queer, these are people who are still figuring out their identity.


Need help? You can find support services in northern Queensland or complete a self-administered K10 test for depression and anxiety. You can also join the online social and mental health forum to talk with like-minded people.