Gay, Explained

Preston Grant

The LGBTQQIAAP (or LGBTTIQQ2SA) Community, and Why

When I was first out, in the early 1980s, we called ourselves the Gay community.

Then Lesbians got angry about their lack of visibility and wanted separate billing, which meant we had to distinguish the Bi people too, and soon the letters piled up into a huge jumble as everybody left out of hetero “normality” wanted in.

Sometimes gay men lament that we can’t just be the gay community again, while those who don’t want to be left behind push for ever-expanding identification.

I laughed recently when I saw LGBTQQIAAP:

  • L: Lesbian. Women attracted to women.
  • G: Gay. Men attracted to men.
  • B: Bisexual. People attracted to both sexes.
  • T: Transgender. People who are the opposite sex internally than the body they are born into, whether male to female (MTF) or female to male (FTM).
  • Q: Queer. People who don’t want to label themselves by their sex acts but do want to claim being different, eccentric, and fabulous. Reclaimed from a hate term, Queer can still be highly offensive, depending on usage.
  • Q: Questioning. People still working out who they are attracted to.
  • I: Intersex. People born into bodies that are not clearly, or only, male or female. This includes people with ambiguous genitalia, or bits of both male and female plumbing, or
  • A: Asexual. People who just aren’t that into sex with anybody.
  • A: Allies. Straight people who support the XXXX community.
  • P: Pansexual. People attracted to others by individual personality, not gender.

In Canada they make it LGBTTIQQ2SA by adding respect for a non-European category:

  • 2S: Two Spirit. The traditional way to identify gender variant people in First People communities. Many two spirits served as the community’s visionaries and healers.

All of this tumult because we define heterosexuality so narrowly. As I mentioned in discussing heteronormativity, the straight world defines heterosexuality so narrowly they define most humans out of it. The result is everyone, including most straight people, wonder what they are doing wrong.

The LGBT+ community is the “everyone else” community. One of the funny things about living in San Francisco is seeing all the straight people who love the gay community partly because it offers everyone a place where narrow old restrictions don’t apply. People get to be themselves. A nice discussion of straight people experiencing gay bars here.

Part of our role as the LGBTQQIAAP(+2S) community is to make the space for everyone, straight or gay. It is the place everyone can just cut the crap and be who they are, Out and Proud.

I wish we could just acknowledge that People Vary, and leave it at that.

20 comments to The LGBTQQIAAP (or LGBTTIQQ2SA) Community, and Why

  • Aaron

    “Inconclusive inclusive syndrome” ? – – -

  • […] marginalized communities and citizens categorized as “other” with a concept frame and focus on LGBTQQIAAP and Drag Queen communities. Monae expands on the idea speaking on her fascination and […]

  • Selina Van Laecken

    The whole is the sum of its parts, meaning that the further we divide our community into smaller creationary sects, the more difficult it will be to gain the inalienable rights we have been denied for so long. The TTIQQ2SA community should be recognized and I believe everyone would agree with me however it is important not to lose focus of the bigger picture. We all want the same thing. Wouldn’t it be easier to just leave it at LGBTAVOP. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and All Varieties Of People. Recognition of our Individuality can be easily attained amongst ourselves.

    The more I read and re-read the acronym, the sillier it becomes. Under the definitions described above wouldn’t Pansexual and Bisexual be the same thing? Or when Queer or Asexual people choose someone to be with would they then drop the Q or A and adopt one of the L, G, B or T letters? Absurdity afoot.

    The decision to include Allies, Questioning and 2 Spirit is also confusing to me. Last time I checked all people following into one of the above categories are still able to marry, adopt children, be covered under their partner’s insurance or are generally accepted into mainstream society.

    In the quest to be distinguished as each being a seperate group worthy of distinction we further move from the end objective which is not to be different from heterosexuals but to be included as people “worthy” of the same rights as others.

    That is all.

  • […] Prom is the prom that the LGBTQQIAAP students may not have been able to comfortably participate in during high school,” said […]

  • […] Prom is the prom that the LGBTQQIAAP students may not have been able to comfortably participate in during high school,” said […]

  • Eliza

    Thanks for this explanation. There are so many letters! I just wish we could all come up with something a little easier to remember…

  • ki

    “•I: Intersex. People born into bodies that are not clearly, or only, male or female; hermaphrodites.”

    Actually, we no longer use the term hermaphrodites to describe intersexed individuals or those with ambiguous genitalia. Hermaphrodites are organisms such as the earth worm that have full male and female reproductive systems. Humans are incapable of being born with full reproductive systems so in essence the term does not apply.

    “•2S: Two-spirit. The visionaries and healers of aboriginal communities, the gay and lesbian shamans. ” 2spirit is a broad term and can also have different meanings. Basically, it means someone who is genderfluid or genderqueer; someone that does not fit into the binary boxes of male and female from a First Nation perspective.

  • Blake

    LGBT covers all of it. The rest is redundant or unnecessary. Q=G, P=B, allies are nice but should not be included. Asexual are just that, and does questioning really need to be included? They are either LGBT or S and just don’t what yet. 10 letters makes a mockery of it and it’s embarrassing.

  • rabers

    We could (and should, no, NEED to) make up a category like Protist on biology. Something (a SINGLE NAME) that comprises everyone. You can’t honestly think everyone is going to write, or even less likely say L G B T Q Q I A A P 2 S A (what is that last A about, again?!?) every time they’re in the need to mention people from all of those communities as a single group (which clearly we can discuss aren’t other than in respect to talking about sexuality and not being heteronormative). I mean, honestly, I can’t even remember half of the letters when I need to or find myself in this situation… and I’m an MD, so I am accostumed to acronyms, medical terminology and latin (aka weird, long as fuck and very very specific) terms.

  • Gary

    I liked your use of “LGBT+ community”. Lets include everyone and keep the acronym short and easy to use. The extra long ones puts too much emphasis on the differences in our community.

  • The Queer

    wait how come we have a space for Allies but not for demi/gray/lithsexual people? Or genderqueer/nonbinary/bigender/genderfluid people?

  • Todd

    Thank you for including asexuality in this. It gets left out too often.

  • Good points, I have updated the blog post accordingly.

  • Actually that is not quite right, as many people do not feel like they are an L, G, B, or T, yet absolutely feel part of the community. People whose sexuality is more fluid, for example, don’t feel like they fit in the little boxes, yet they clearly belong. They may call themselves Queer without wanting to be pigeonholed as Gay. That is what inclusiveness means to me… figuring out how to make sure everyone gets included in a way that makes them feel respected just as they are.

  • I learned a new word! I had to go look up Protist: a kingdom or large grouping of organisms. Thank you for that!

    I agree a meaningful taxonomy for the human condition would be brilliant, but I think our efforts to organize human life into strictly defined categories is an ongoing effort that never reaches a satisfying conclusion. See the ongoing work around the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) for an example of how hard, and ultimately unsatisfying, that project is.

    In the end I think human life defies strict categorization, and I for one celebrate that we are so joyful, abundant, digressive, and defiant that we defy easy categorization! Or at least I know I do. ;)

  • Exactly. The list of who we want to include is endless.

    And graysexual was new to me. From the Urban Dictionary I got: “Whereas sexual orientation exists along a continuum of heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual, sex drive also exists along a continuum. Some people (highly sexual) desire to have sex with anyone they can; some people (strictly asexual) have no sexual desires; graysexuals are predominantly asexual but capable of manifesting sexual desires under specific circumstances. This is not to be confused with an asexual that is satisfying a partner’s sexual desires despite lacking sexual desire of their own.” I am ever impressed by our ability to come up with new ways of nailing down the details. Thanks for that one!

  • I so agree with you. It feels like there is a dynamic tension between getting labels more and more specific and therefore fully respect each individual’s experience, verses the umbrella terms that encompass everyone and promote a more singular solidarity. In a way I think the answer is both/and: We are both all these little groups, and this one big group. But people tend to prefer either/or thinking, and it is harder to get them to a more functional view that sometimes humans are best described with broad generalizing strokes that catch the big picture, and sometimes best rendered in high resolution detail that captures what makes individuals so fascinating.

  • Sergey

    Just a quick note! While I understand that it may not be a big difference of huge deal, but saying “Transgendered” is incorrect. It’s plainly transgender or a transgender person. Just like you wouldn’t call a homosexual man “gayed” or a heterosexual “straightened”. Just trying to educate!! :) Also this is great! Thanks a bunch.

  • Thank you Sergey, you are right. And it is funny to note my own edumucation on the subject, as I would not write ‘transgendered’ today, but obviously wasn’t clear on the distinctions when I wrote this. Good catch. And… There, I fixed it! ;)

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