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What Does LGBTIQCAPGNGFNBA Really Stand For?

You’re likely familiar with the acronym LGBT. You may also be aware of LGBTQ and LGBTQ+. It’s common knowledge that this represents the gay community. Yet, a new acronym is making waves. What is Lgbtiqcapgngfnba, and is it important?


When you see the “+” at the end of LGBTQ, you should know it includes a wide variety of sexuality types. For an already-marginalized population, some critics think that it’s better to use the full, inclusive acronym rather than relegating many of the identities to a symbol.

Lgbtiqcapgngfnba stands for:

  • Lesbian
  • Gay
  • Bisexual
  • Transgender
  • Intersex
  • Queer/questioning
  • Curious
  • Asexual
  • Pansexual
  • Gender Nonconforming
  • Gender Fluid
  • Non-binary
  • Androgynous

Whether you find the acronym over the top or better representative of human sexuality is up for debate, but let’s break down all the different types of sexual and gender expression represented here.

Sexual Identities Within the Acronym

This inclusive umbrella of terms representing the gay community includes both sexual identities and gender identities. Please note the differences.

Sexual identities refer to attraction while gender identities refer to how a person identifies themselves.

We all have a sexual identity and a gender identity.

For example, heterosexual (or straight) individuals who identify as the gender they were assigned at birth are cisgender. Their gender identity will either be male or female.

Their sexual identity is heterosexual, or a person who is attracted to the opposite sex.

Straight people don’t typically go around identifying their sexual orientation because they don’t have to; it’s the assumed and majority orientation.

For people who are gay or whose gender differs from that assigned at birth, the labels that many see as one long acronym represent who they are and form a community of others just like them. Representation matters.


The term lesbian encompasses any woman who is attracted to other women only. A woman who only dates or partners other women is a lesbian.


The term gay includes men who attracted to other men only. However, it is also used to represent any member under the LGBTIQCAPGNGFNBA umbrella as a general term for the community.


Individuals who are bisexual are attracted to both men and women. It can also encompass anyone who doesn’t have an exclusive gender preference they find most attractive.

hands with colored acronym LGBTQIA+ on fingers
Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

Gender Identities Within the Acronym


Transgender, or trans, individuals identify as a gender other than what they were assigned at birth.

While some trans individuals seek gender reassignment surgeries, hormone replacement therapy, and other medical interventions, many do not.

The opposite of transgender is cisgender, or people who still identify as the gender they were assigned at birth.


Intersex individuals were once referred to as hermaphrodites.

People who are intersex were born with male and female reproductive organs and cannot be assigned to either category although parents sometimes make a decision at birth to raise them as one particular gender.

Many intersex individuals later change that gender, identifying more with one set of characteristics than another.


The questioning aspect of this acronym is the simplest to explain. Questioning includes anyone who is still exploring their sexual or gender identity but has yet to decide.

Queer, on the other hand, is more complicated.

It has been used as an offensive term in the past but has evolved over the years to be embraced by many in the gay community.

While the word means “odd”, it can be used by anyone who chooses it.

There’s even a subsection that’s in dispute where heterosexuals sometimes define themselves as queer if they are involved in polyamorous or kink relationships.

Yet, many would argue that only people who meet other criteria on the gay spectrum can use the term queer.

For instance, someone who is a trans-man attracted to other men may want to embrace the label of queer, but a cis-gender man in a polyamorous relationship with women only wouldn’t qualify.

It could even be considered cultural appropriation to adopt the queer label without the other identifiers.


A person who is curious does not identify as bisexual but does have an attraction to more than one gender.

This label allows someone to explore this attraction without having to identify as a particular sexuality in the process. There are individuals who feel attracted to both genders but only partner the opposite sex.

This would fall under the category of Curious.


Asexual individuals are not people who practice celibacy or abstinence. People who are asexual either don’t have sexual desire or have a particularly low sex drive.

They might still choose to have sexual relationships, but they don’t identify as a sexual person or see that as a natural part of their identity.

This sexual identity isn’t a temporary choice like with abstinence. It’s a part of their identity.


Pansexual people feel attracted to all genders and sexual orientations. They do not have a preference.

While many call this omnisexual, omnisexuals sometimes prefer one gender identity or orientation more than others while pansexual individuals express no preference.

Gender Nonconforming

People who identify as gender nonconforming may be trans or intersex, but they may also take on different gender norms.

For instance, butch, femmes, and tomboys could fall under the category of gender nonconforming.

Gender Fluid

Gender fluidity encompasses a person whose gender may change throughout their lifetime.

This could include people who are exploring gender and the labels society assigns them. Someone who is gender fluid may change their pronouns or elect for a they/them identity.


A non-binary individual could include bigender and trigender individuals. In short, they may identify as more than one gender or no gender at all.

They have also been referred to as enby. Non-binary can also include gender fluid and gender nonconforming individuals, and many will adopt they/them pronouns.

Instead of Ms., Mrs., or Mr., these individuals likely prefer the gender neutral Mx.


An androgynous individual has traits of both men and women and can include non-binary, intersex, and genderqueer individuals.

Androgynous fashion can be worn by anyone, but it is often embraced by people who have strong characteristics of both genders.


Do you feel like you’ve already forgotten the initials and what order they go in? It would be easy to do. It’s why most people just tack a “+” at the end of the LGBTQ and leave it at that.

The “+” is there to fold everything neatly in, but many argue that it makes the first 5 categories important and relegates the others to lesser importance.

No one wants to feel like who they are is somehow less important. Yet, it’s also important to note that a long acronym that causes frustration might not be the best form of representation.

What might matter more is understanding and accepting the many different sexual and gender identities in the world.

We can expect other identities to emerge as people learn more about themselves and find even more labels to describe them.

Whether or not you want to absorb this acronym into your vocabulary is up to you, but it’s important to be an ally to any community that falls under this umbrella.

Here are a few ways to be a better ally:

  • Don’t deadname transgender people. If someone has identified as a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth, be sure to use their chosen name rather than their birth name.
  • Don’t argue the merits or validity of someone’s gender or sexual orientation. Imagine if someone did the same with cisgender heterosexuality. It’s inappropriate and offensive on every level to assume you know them better than they do.
  • Remember Pride isn’t just for gay people. I don’t mean that we should have straight pride parades. Rather, even straight people can go support the rights of their gay friends by participating in Pride events and advocating for equal rights and treatment.
  • Vote as an ally. Don’t vote for candidates who would eliminate the rights of these sexual or gender orientations. Your vote should consider the larger ramifications than just how it will impact you.
  • Speak up. Do you notice discrimination against someone in your life based on their sexuality or gender? Speak up. Get loud about it. Don’t be the person who ignores it because it’s uncomfortable to address. Being a good ally is to be willing to tell your friend that their joke was tasteless or point out when you notice other forms or aggression against the community.
  • Use preferred gender pronouns. It’s easy to find out what someone prefers and to use it. It’s actually not hard to refer to someone as they/them. In fact, many writers who write to a universal audience have learned to do this to make articles more inclusive and accessible. It’s not hard to remember, and it shows respect for the other person’s gender identity.

Final Thoughts

Educate yourself.

Don’t assume you know everything because you know the label. Be willing to confront your own bias and privilege, but don’t expect the gay community to educate you.

Take the time to do your own research so that you are well-informed.

While the long acronym might be hotly debated, it’s just common courtesy to include others and respect their labels.

It’s not about being “woke” or progressive. Frankly, it’s just kindness, plain and simple.

Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

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