LGBT, or GLBT, is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. In use since the 1990s, the term is an adaptation of the initialism LGB, which was used to replace the term gay in reference to the LGBT community beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s. Activists believed that the term gay community did not accurately represent all those to whom it referred.
The initialism has become adopted into the mainstream as an umbrella term for use when labeling topics pertaining to sexuality and gender identity. For example, the LGBT Movement Advancement Project termed community centres, which have services specific to those member of the LGBT community, as "LGBT community centers", in a comprehensive studies of such centres around the United States. The term LGBTQ is advocated for use by The Association of LGBTQ Journalists when referring to topics regarding sexuality and gender identity for use by media in the United States, as well as some other English-speaking countries.
The initialism LGBT is intended to emphasize a diversity of sexuality and gender identity-based cultures. It may be used to refer to anyone who is non-heterosexual or non-cisgender, instead of exclusively to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. To recognize this inclusion, a popular variant adds the letter Q for those who identify as queer or are questioning their sexual identity; "LGBTQ" has been recorded since 1996. Those who add intersex people to LGBT groups or organizing use an extended initialism LGBTI. The two acronyms are sometimes combined to form the terms LGBTIQ or LGBT+ to encompass spectrums of sexuality and gender. Other, less common variants also exist, motivated by a desire for inclusivity, including those over twice as long which have prompted criticism.
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