LGBTQ+: What Does the Q+ Stand For?

With the passing of time, so many sexual identity and gender labels have changed. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the word LGBT started being used to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Now, ‘Q’ and ‘+’ have made their way to the scene as more and more people are finding the four letters not inclusive enough of the entire queer community. With these changes have come some confusion as to what the ‘Q’ and ‘+’ actually represent. This confusion is for good reason too as there is no official stance on what the ‘Q’ actually stands for!

What ‘Q’ Stands For

There are two commonly used words in relation to ‘Q’; Queer and questioning.

Queer is essentially an umbrella terms used to describe all of the letters (LGBT) and more. In fact, the reason Queer is making its way into the alphabet soup of letters (LGBT) is because it lacks a precise definition and label. Identifying as Queer could simply mean you don’t identify as heterosexual and/or cis-gender. This is perhaps why it’s so appealing to so many groups of people.

For instance, one of the groups ‘Queer’ appeals to is minority groups. Minority groups have an added layer of complexity to their sexuality and gender orientation as they interact with both racial and cultural issues and relating those issues to sexual orientation and gender identity. Another group that has been embracing the word ‘Queer’ is young people in high school and college.

Reclaiming the Word ‘Queer’

Although the term ‘Queer’ is now being used in the LGBTQ+ community, it’s also a known slur used against LGBTQ+ people. So, in one sense, ‘Queer’ is being reclaimed as the LGBTQ+ community use a word that was once used against them.

With that being said, there are still those within the LGBTQ+ community who find the word to be offensive, so it’s best if you only use it when someone has referred to themselves that way.

‘Q’ Is For Questioning

The second way ‘Q is used is to describe those who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexual identity. While ‘Queer’ is used more frequently than questioning, it is still a word that holds its own weight. If someone identifies as questioning it simply means they haven’t yet figured out how they want to identify.

What About That ‘+’

In addition to the ‘Q’ a ‘+’ sign is now frequently being used. The ‘+’ sign is used as “plus” in order to describe all the other gender and sexual orientations that don’t fit into the letters (LGBTQ+). So, for instance, intersex, asexual, aromantic, and pansexual are just a few other gender and sexual identities. There are dozens of other identities out there as well. So, the “+” represents the inclusivity of everyone regardless of their identifiers not fitting into the letters.

So there you have it. LGBTQ+ is just one set of initials that is continuing to evolve and change and shape the future of the Queer community, but at least you know the most current understanding of the acronym.

5 Things Only LGBT Couples Understand

The LGBT community has experienced long-awaited triumphs toward equality in the recent past. While same-sex couples have been around since the beginning of time, they are more are open about their relationships now than any time in history. Over 6 million Americans have come out on Facebook. In the past year alone, 800,000 Americans have changed their Facebook profiles to reflect same gender attraction.
With the Supreme Court decision in June that overturned bans on same-sex marriage, the community has experienced massive strides; however, many people still hold misconceptions about LGBT couples. Here are eight things that only gay and lesbian couples understand but would like for you to know.

1. They did not choose their sexual orientation.

Just as they did not choose the color of their eyes or skin, they did not choose their sexual orientation. It is innate to who they are. They understand that straight people do not just decide one day to be straight, and they wish people would understand that they do not decide to be gay. They cannot change whom they are attracted to.

2. Coming out is never a one-time event.

Although coming out to family and loved ones is usually the conversation that is most stressful, coming out is never a single, one-time-only event. It is a lifelong process that every LGBT person faces any time they meet new people, move, or change jobs. They must continually determine with whom and in what situations they want to reveal their sexual orientation.

3. They often feel the need to lead a double life.

If they have not yet come out, they may go to great lengths to keep their relationships hidden, such as telling others their partner is just a “roommate”, or worse, having their partner go elsewhere if someone is coming by for a visit. It can put stress on the relationship and takes tremendous effort to have both a public and private persona, but many still feel they have no choice.

4. They are excellent parents to happy, well-adjusted children.

LGBT couples have always known that sexual orientation has nothing to do with their ability to be a good parent. Studies conducted throughout the years confirm that children of gay and lesbian parents fare no differently than children of heterosexual parents. It is the quality of the relationship between parent and child that affects a child’s well-being, not the sexual orientation of the parent. LGBT couples love their kids no differently than their straight counterparts.

5. Being LGBT is not a lifestyle.

Just like every other couple on planet Earth, being LGBT is only one small facet of who they are, not their entire lifestyle. LGBT couples have jobs, pay bills, take out the garbage, go to school, raise kids, feed their pets, go grocery shopping, watch TV, have hobbies, go to church, and take part in the same activities as straight couples. It is these activities that make up their lifestyle, not their sexual orientation.