What Does The '+' in LGBTQ+ Mean?
Have you ever wondered what the “+” in LGBTQ+ stands for?
Well, the short answer is that it literally means ‘plus’. Using this symbol in relation to LGBTQ is an inclusive and all-encompassing way to refer to the expanding spectrum.
by Alice Reed
In this post we will explore just some of the many terms that fit into this spectrum. Some of these terms can overlap slightly with other terms, however none of them mean exactly the same thing.
We’ll start with Queer,
which can be seen as an umbrella term – this means that it covers a wide range of concepts within this particular category of life. Queer is for everyone who doesn’t fit into the heterosexual “norm” that is the current state of the world. It is a very inclusive term and creates a sense of acceptance as it can be used by anyone within the LGBTQ spectrum. You can use queer to convey your orientation, or your identity.
A person who identifies as Genderqueer is someone who doesn’t subscribe to the conventional gender distinctions, rather they will identify with none, or a combination of male, female, and non-binary genders. As such, this is a term which is commonly used by people whose gender identity does not fit in with the societally constructed “norms”. And of course, it is always important to remember that Gender Identity is one’s own valid internal experience and perception of self – biological sex factors do not determine gender.
Non-binary is another umbrella term and it can mean different things to different people. Typically, it is used by people who do not identify exclusively as male or female. There are numerous ways in which a person can identify as non-binary. For example, a person who is non-binary may feel that they are a mix of genders, or they may feel that they do not identify with any gender at all, or someone may even feel that they are a combination of no gender and other genders.
This part of the spectrum is not to be confused with Intersex. A person who is intersex is someone who was born with both male and female biological traits. Intersex people can be any gender, as they do not fit into either of the two binary sexes. One thing to always remember, to shout from the rooftops if you desire, is that a person who is intersex is NOT mutilated or wrong in any way.
Genderfluid is a gender identity and refers to a gender which changes over time. To be fluid means to be able to flow and change states/forms and that is exactly how people can experience their gender – it isn’t something that is set in stone. This shifting can be between all genders and can happen all the time at any time, so if you know someone who identifies as genderfluid then it is always best to check with them to find out what pronouns they prefer or use for themselves.
Genderflux can be seen as a form of genderfluidty, but it is not the exact same. The suffix “-flux” means the action or process of flowing/flowing out, or continuous change. Bringing that bit of knowledge in, genderflux is a gender identity in which the intensity of the gender can change over time, but the gender typically stays the same. Genderflux people can identify as any gender.
Androgynous comes from the Greek language comprising of “andros” meaning male, and “gyn” meaning female. This term refers to a person who presents themselves with a combination of what are seen as typically male and female characteristics which come together to create an ambiguous form. This may be expressed with regards to gender identity, gender expression, sexual identity, or biological sex.
With Agender and Bigender the meaning comes from the prefixes. “A-“ means without, so a person who is agender actually doesn’t identify with any gender at all. They are gender-free, or gender-neutral. This comes under the umbrella of non-binary, but it is its own identity and so deserves to be mentioned outside of the non-binary identity as well.
“Bi-“ derives from Latin and means two. A person who is bigender typically identifies as two genders – this can be male, female, or any non-binary gender identity. These two genders can be felt or expressed simultaneously, or there can be a variation between the two.
As mentioned at the start, this is not a complete representation of the LGBTQ+ spectrum as the spectrum is always expanding and evolving. This post has been an exploration of just some of the terms that are included in the spectrum.
As we have the opportunities to explore ourselves and find ways in which we do or do not fit in with the society around us, new terminology is created and found. People then have the chance to find communities of other people who have similar experiences and create connections with these people.
And the more we are able to get to know ourselves, then of course it follows that our understanding of the world and all the people around us will expand and grow.
It is important to remember that gender, sexuality, and identity are all different things which can all combine in so many different ways.