What does LGBT, GLBT, LGBTI, LGBTIQ+ all mean?

In the 21st century, the term “Gay” has become the standard accepted term for a homosexual person throughout the English-speaking world. But still, so many people ask, “what does the LGBT, or GLBT, acronym stand for?” Well, it goes something a little like this; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender persons!

Unfortunately, there is a lot of people out there who don’t and won’t take out the time to research and learn about their sexuality and gender identity – little own the true meaning behind the acronym LGBT or our culture and history.

Not all transgender people are “Gay”, not all “Gay” guys are fem, the acronym LGBT was created to help emphasise the diversity of sexuality and gender in humans. however, many LGBT activists believed that the term “gay community” did not accurately represent them.

The term “GAY” originates from the Old French term “gai”, which means to be cheerful/ happy. In 1960s the term “GAY” was adopted by homosexual men to describe themselves because if you were labeled as “homosexual” you would be ostracised by mainstream society.

The term HOMOSEXUAL means “people who are sexually attracted to people of one’s own sex”, in its modern sense typically refers to men (lesbian being the standard term for homosexual women) but in some contexts, it can be used interchangeably for both homosexual men and women.

The History

The history of the acronym dates back to the AIDS pandemic of the 1980s and 1990s. During that time, as most people are aware, thousands of gay men and transwomen died (as did many straight and bisexual men and women). With the development of retroviral drugs, HIV/AIDS became a chronic rather than a fatal condition to have. [b] At the same time, as treatments for AIDS became more promising and more available and affordable, gay men themselves increasingly recognised the role lesbians had played in mitigating the crisis.

Furthermore the Don’t AskDon’t Tell (DADT) policy, was the byname for the former official U.S. policy (1993–2011), which prohibited homosexual from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because their presence “would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability”. (Bullshit!) Even today, DADT and Stigma are having a devastating impact on our youth and thousands of our bravest men and women. These policies not only created segregation, it also sent a clear message to heterosexual people that they can harm and discriminate against gay, lesbian and transgender people because they are not “normal”. This became a breeding grounds for a host of other injustices – including retaliation against service members who reported sexual assaults.


Issues of racism and classism within the LGBT community undermine our unity and strength. The LGBTIQ+ movement should be seen as a marker of our freedom and our ability to provide support and build solidarity, during times of inequality.

The treatment of our trans sisters and brothers, whose needs often seemed to many of us to compete with the needs of more socially normative “good gays,” is only beginning to change. And, you will certainly hear LGBT+ people who are unfamiliar with our own history flip the letters. We’re not perfect and certainly, there is much to do on that front still. What do you think?


[a] Retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT on the 27/07/2018

[b] Retrieved from: https://medium.com/the-narthex/glbt-lgbt-lgbtqia-whats-in-a-name-a5608849c9fa on the 27/07/2018

[c] Retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_ask,_don%27t_tell on the 27/07/2018

[d] Retrieved from: https://www.britannica.com/event/Dont-Ask-Dont-Tell on the 27/07/2018

[e] Retrieved from: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/gay on the 27/07/2018

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *