From the Wikipedia
At one point, the acronym was just four letters, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual/Transgender). Now it’s longer, actually, it is a lot longer. LGBTQQIP2SAA is the full acronym as of 2021. Each letter stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex, pansexual, two-spirit, androgynous, and asexual. However, not everyone follows that exact acronym, and it is always changing and evolving.
From Manitoba, Canada
It changes from place to place, even within countries, and cities. In my podcast Queer is Here to Stay, episode 2 with Rachel Wu, she mentions that the acronym they use. 2STLGBQ+. It is an acronym that stands for Two-Spirit, Transgender, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Questioning. The plus sign is meant to include any identities that have not been captured by the other letters and allows space for people to define themselves along the spectrum of sexualities and identities. This acronym changes over time, and many individuals and organizations use different variations. SERC uses the acronym 2STLGBQ+ in an effort to be as inclusive as possible and acknowledge the diversity of sexualities and identities, as well as to honour the histories of Manitoba.
SERC also offers service provider training for professionals looking to increase their awareness and build capacity around creating safer spaces for 2STLGBQ+ individuals.
Not every label fits a person, so many definitions have been expanded. They are intended to be all-inclusive. Gay of course standing for men who like men, but it can also be for women who like women, even though they also use the term lesbian. Queer covers a lot of the terms within the acronym itself. It could just mean that a person exists outside the so-called normalcy of heterosexuality. It is why I decided to use that term for my podcast because I intend to be all-inclusive as possible. It was a term once used as an insult, but it is now something being reclaimed as a positive term. It is a way to identify outside of societal norms. Not everyone agrees with that but that is important to factor into relationships and conversations.
Definitions of all these terms can have many definitions within it. Not all lesbians are butch, some are feminine, some don’t lean towards a gender appearance. Same with the term Gay. It can be used for men and women who are attracted to the same gender as they are. Asexual is another term that I find to be broad and has different meanings. It is a term that defines a person’s preference toward the act of sex, it is not a gender preference or gender attraction. There are sex-repulsed asexuals but there are also asexuals who will only have sex when they have a certain attraction. It can mean many things.
It does mean that umbrella terms can be overwhelming and at times, frustrating. They are a tool that can be used to help someone figure out who they are.
It is so important to know yourself. Internalizing the anxiety of having an identity on the LGBT spectrum can become difficult. It can cause other issues, such as depression or self-hatred. Finding a way to come to terms with your identity can be helped by these umbrella terms, though that is not the case for everybody. People are unique, everyone is different and that should be embraced.