LGBT (or GLBT) is an initialism referring collectively to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community", which many within LGBT communities felt did not represent accurately all those to whom it referred. In modern usage, the term LGBT is intended to emphasize a diversity of "sexuality and gender identity-based cultures" and is sometimes used to refer to anyone who is non-heterosexual instead of exclusively to people who are homosexual, bisexual, or transgender. To recognize this inclusion, a popular variant adds the letter Q for those who identify as queer and questioning their sexual identity (e.g., "LGBTQ" or "GLBTQ").
The acronym has become mainstream as a self-designation and has been adopted by the majority of LGBT community centers and LGBT media in many English-speaking countries.
The initialisms are not agreeable to everyone that they literally encompass. On the one hand, some intersex people want to be included in LGBT groups and would prefer the term "LGBTI". On the other hand, some individuals of one group may feel no relation to the individuals in other groups denoted and find such persistent comparisons offensive. Some argue that transgender and transsexual causes are not the same as that of LGB people. A correlate to these ideas is evident in the belief of "lesbian & gay separatism", which holds that lesbians and gay men should form a community distinct and separate from other groups normally included. Other people also do not care for the term as they feel the lettering comes across as being too politically correct, an attempt to categorize various groups of people into one grey area, and that it implies that the issues and priorities of the main groups represented are given equal consideration.
See also: Human sexual behaviour
Transgender actress Candis Cayne called the LGBT community "the last great minority", noting that "We can still be harassed openly" and be "called out on television."Before the sexual revolution of the 1960s, there was no common non‐derogatory vocabulary for non‐heterosexuality; the closest such term, "third gender", traces back to the 1860s but never gained wide acceptance.
The first widely used term, homosexual, was thought to carry negative connotations and tended to be replaced by homophile in the 1950s and 1960s, and subsequently gay in the 1970s. As lesbians forged more public identities, the phrase "gay and lesbian" became more common. The Daughters of Bilitis folded in 1970 over which direction to focus on: feminism or gay rights issues. As equality was a priority for lesbian-feminists, disparity of roles between men and women or butch and femme were viewed as patriarchal. Lesbian-feminists eschewed gender role play that had been pervasive in bars, as well as the perceived chauvinism of gay men; many lesbian-feminists refused to work with gay men, or take up their causes. Lesbians who held a more essentialist view that they had been born homosexual and used the descriptor "lesbian" to define sexual attraction, often considered the separatist, angry opinions of lesbian-feminists to be detrimental to the cause of gay rights.This was soon followed by bisexual and transgender people also seeking recognition as legitimate categories within the larger community. After the initial euphoria of the Stonewall riots wore off, starting in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, there was a change in perception; some gays and lesbians became less accepting of bisexual or transgender people. It was thought that transgender people were acting out stereotypes and bisexuals were simply gay men or lesbian women who were afraid to come out and be honest about their identity. Each community that is collectively included has struggled to develop its own identity including whether, and how to, align with other gender and sexuality-based communities at times excluding other subgroups; these conflicts continue to this day. LGBT was likely first used to address the entire community by LGBT student activists who have been documented as active in the late 1960s although it is unclear how often and widespread the term may have been employed.
Not until the 1990s did it become common to speak of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people with equal respect within the movement. Although the LGBT community has seen much controversy regarding universal acceptance of different member groups (bisexual and transgender individuals, in particular, have sometimes been marginalized by the larger LGBT community), the term LGBT has been a positive symbol of inclusion. Despite the fact that LGBT does not nominally encompass all individuals in smaller communities (see Variants below), the term is generally accepted to include those not identified in the four‐letter acronym. Overall, the use of the term LGBT has, over time, largely aided in bringing otherwise marginalized individuals into the general community.
|2007 Pride parade in Buenos Aires organized by the Argentine Federacion of LGBT people with the|
LGBT acronym visible in the groups' banner,
Many variants exist including variations that merely change the order of the letters; LGBT or GLBT are the most common terms and the ones most frequently seen in current usage. Although identical in meaning, "LGBT" may have a more feminist connotation than "GLBT" as it places the "L" (for "lesbian") first. When not inclusive of transgender people it is sometimes shortened to LGB. LGBT or GLBT may also include additional "Q"s for "queer" or "questioning" (sometimes abbreviated with a question mark) (e.g., "LGBTQ", "LGBTQQ", or "GLBTQ?"). Other variants may add a "U" for "unsure"; a "C" for "curious"; an "I" for intersex; another "T" for "transsexual" or "transvestite"; another "T", "TS", or "2" for "Two‐Spirit" persons; an "A" or "SA" for straight allies; or an "A" for "asexual". Some may also add a P for pansexuality or polyamorous, and an O for other. The order of the letters has not been standardized; in addition to the variations between the positions of the initial "L" or "G", the mentioned, less‐common letters, if used, may appear in almost any order. Variant terms do not typically represent political differences within the community, but arise simply from the preferences of individuals and groups.The terms pansexual, omnisexual, fluid and queer-identified are regarded as falling under the umbrella term "bisexual". Likewise, the terms transsexual and intersex are regarded by some people as falling under the umbrella term "transgender" though many transsexual and intersex people object to this (both for different reasons).
"SGL" (i.e. "same gender loving") is sometimes favored among African‐Americans as a way of distinguishing themselves from what they regard as white‐dominated LGBT communities. "MSM" (i.e. "men who have sex with men") is clinically used to describe men who have sex with other men without referring to their sexual orientation.
A phrase introduced in the 2000s, "minority sexual and gender identities" ("MSGI"), used to include all letters and acronyms, has yet to find its way into common usage. The magazine Anything That Moves coined the acronym FABGLITTER (from Fetish such as the BDSM lifestyle community, Allies or poly-Amorous as in Polyamorous couples became more used, Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Intersexed, Transgender, Transsexual Engendering Revolution or inter-Racial attraction), although this term has not made its way into common usage.
Another acronym that has begun to spread is QUILTBAG, from Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans, Bisexual, Asexual, Gay. Again, this is not a common term.
|LGBT families, like these in a 2007 pride parade, are unlikely to label themselves|
non-heterosexual although researchers do so for a variety of reasons,
The terms LGBT or GLBT are not agreeable to everyone that they literally encompass. For example, some argue that transgender and transsexual causes are not the same as that of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people.This argument centers on the idea that transgender and transsexuality have to do with gender identity or a person's understanding of being male or female irrespective of their sexual orientation. LGB issues can be seen as a matter of sexual orientation or attraction. These distinctions have been made in the context of political action in which LGB goals may be perceived to differ from transgender and transsexual goals like same‐sex marriage legislation and human rights work that is not inclusive of transgender and intersex people.Similarly, some intersex people want to be included in LGBT groups and would prefer the term "LGBTI" while others insist that they are not a part of the LGBT community and would rather that they not be included as part of the term.
A reverse to the above situations is evident in the belief of "lesbian & gay separatism" (not to be confused with the related "lesbian separatism"), which holds that lesbians and gay men form (or should form) a community distinct and separate from other groups normally included in the LGBTQ sphere. While not always appearing of sufficient number or organization to be called a movement, separatists are a significant, vocal, and active element within many parts of the LGBT community. In some cases separatists will deny the existence or right‐to‐equality of non‐monosexual orientations and of transsexuality. This can extend to public biphobia and transphobia. Separatists have powerful opponents - Peter Tatchell of the LGBT human rights group OutRage! argues that to separate the transgender movement from the LGB would be "political madness".
Many people have looked for a generic term to replace the numerous existing abbreviations. Words like "queer" and "rainbow" have been tried but most have not been widely adopted. "Queer" has many negative connotations to older people who remember the word as a taunt and insult and such (negative) usage of the term continues. Many younger people also understand "queer" to be more politically‐charged than "LGBT". "Rainbow" has connotations that recall hippies, New Age movements, and organizations like Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition in the United States.
The term is not adopted by all as some see that the lettering comes across as being too politically correct or as an attempt to categorize various groups of people into one grey area word. Another concern is that the term LGBT may imply that the issues and priorities of the main groups represented are given equal consideration.
The portrayal of an all-encompassing "LGBT community" or "LGB community" is also disliked by some lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people as well as ontologists. Some do not subscribe to or approve of the political and social solidarity, and visibility and human rights campaigning that normally goes with it including gay pride marches and events. Some of them believe that grouping together people with non-heterosexual orientations perpetuates the myth that being gay/lesbian/bi makes a person deficiently different from other people. These people are often less visible compared to more mainstream gay or LGBT activists. Since this faction is difficult to distinguish from the heterosexual majority, it is common for people to assume all LGBT people support LGBT liberation and the visibility of LGBT people in society, including the right to live one's life in a different way from the majority. In the 1996 book Anti-Gay, a collection of essays edited by Mark Simpson, the concept of a 'one-size-fits-all' identity based on LGBT stereotypes is criticized for suppressing the individuality of LGBT people.