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An LGBTQIA Glossary of Terms


lgbtq_sanctuaryA few years ago, the prevailing acronym for the gay community was, “LGB,” which stands for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi-Sexual. Over time, it grew to a more inclusive, “LGBT,” with the addition of Transgender to the mix. Pretty soon, people were using “LGBTQ” and “LGBTQIA” and a whole host of other versions until it all got a bit confusing!

So which acronym is the “right one” and which terms are ok to use? What does LGBTQIA mean? Well, there’s no simple answer there, which is why we’re providing this Glossary of Gender and Sexuality Terms to help you navigate the sometimes-unclear waters of LGBT-related language.

First, it’s important to note that a single label, acronym, or letter within an acronym could never sum up a whole group of people or even a single individual. We are all so much more than the categories into which we fit. But having these categories, labels, and terms helps us understand the topic at hand, helps us speak intentionally and clearly, and helps us demonstrate respect for the individuals to whom we are referring or speaking. That said, let’s talk terms! Read More…


~Jackie Robinson

~Jackie Robinson

In the ongoing, online, in-person, seemingly ubiquitous discussions about equal rights for women, gays, lesbians, minorities – pretty much anyone other than rich, white, American men – there is constant talk of “paradigm shift” and “changing the dialog.” And, while it’s true that we need to have meaningful discourse and that we need to talk about what actually matters, these phrases are becoming such overused buzz-terms that people are starting to tune out, which is exactly the opposite of what needs to happen.

What truly needs to happen is just one thing: We need to have respect for one another as human beings. Perhaps it seems like an overly simplistic answer, but when we stop to think about it, really, what is the main barrier to resolving these issues in our society? Typically, it’s a failure to communicate and interact in a meaningful, authentic manner because so many people simply do not value and respect those who think, live, do, speak, look, love, parent, and act differently than they do.

When we have respect for one another, we’re more willing to engage in a meaningful interaction – yes, that paradigm-shifting, dialog-changing conversation we keep hearing about. Those who are willing to oppress, marginalize, victimize, and dehumanize others do not respect the people they hurt. If they respect anyone, it’s not those they view as less, but those they view as equal. Would the civil rights movement have progressed without the support of those who weren’t being forced to the back of the bus? Would the women’s liberation movement have been successful without the support of forward-thinking men? Most likely, no, they wouldn’t, at least not on the same time frame or with the same level of success. Why? Because those who would oppress others don’t respect those they marginalize, and therefore true change must come from within their perceived peer group. Once white people and men joined these causes, it freed others to come forward and say, “I agree. This is wrong,” so that together, we could progress. Read More…

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