LGBTQIA Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

In this guide, you’ll learn LGBTQIA’s meaning, the origin of the acronym, how to use it, synonyms, examples, and much more.

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The term LGBTQIA means a lot to a lot of people. It can have many meanings, and those meanings have grown and changed over time. As we learn more about ourselves, the term will likely change and evolve again or continuously. 

This article will not attempt to give a permanent and concrete definition of LGBTQIA, but it will explain its current use and origins.

What Does LGBTQIA Mean?

LGBTQIA is an abbreviation. As the dictionary defines it, LGBTQIA is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (as it relates to your sexuality or gender identity), intersex, and asexual/aromantic/agender. As with any abbreviated term with multiple words, it’s best to look at each part individually to understand the overall picture better.


Lesbian is characterized as an attraction that is sexual or romantic between women. The word is derived from the poetry of the Greek poet Sappho from the Island of Lesbos. She wrote beautiful poetry about other women. One of her famous pieces was “Ode to Aphrodite.” 


Gay is characterized as attraction, sexual or romantic, to other people of a person’s same sex. Typically, the term gay is used to refer to men primarily. The term has also meant happy, bright, lively, merry, and excited. However, the word has fallen out of use in this context.


Bisexual is the sexual or romantic attraction to people of the same sex and the opposite sex. As our understanding of sexuality and genders evolves, the more inclusive umbrella term multisexual is being used to describe people’s attractions to more than one gender. The term is meant to include people who are bisexual, polysexual, omnisexual, and more.


Transgender is the term for a person whose gender identity is different from the sex they were identified with at birth or had at birth. A transgender person usually identifies as the opposite gender than the one they were assigned at birth, and they may elect to have corrective surgery.


Queer is characterized as sexual or romantic attraction to other people that does not fit within the limitations of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation. Previously, queer refered to same-sex attraction, but it has become an umbrella term over time. Before being used in this context, the word queer also mean eccentric or unusal. This use of the term has fallen out of popularity. 


Questioning is the process of exploring your own gender identity or expression and sexual orientation. The human mind’s natural curiosity requires exploring new and different ideas. Learning about your sexuality and identity is part of the human experience.


Intersex is a term for people with intersexuality. Intersexuality is a medical condition such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia or androgen insensitivity syndrome. Children are born with either both male and female gonadal tissue occurring in one individual or the gonadal tissue of one sex and the external genitalia of the opposite sex. Sometimes the external genitalia is ambiguous. 

Often, a decision is made at birth and a gender is assigned or surgically decided. Intersex people may elect to have corrective surgery or assume the gender expression of the gender identity they feel represents them best.


Asexual can have two meanings. An asexual person can be described as a person with no sexual feelings towards others. An asexual person might also be described as a person who does not have or show a particular sexual identity.

Aromantic is defined as having little or no romantic feeling towards others. 

Agender refers to a person who feels that they have no gender. They feel genderless or neutral. While non-binary is a term that is sometimes confused with agender, this is actually its antonym. Non-binary people feel that their gender is the presence of a full spectrum of gender identity and expression.

What Is the Origin of LGBTQIA?

Unfortunately, members of the LGBTQIA communities have been persecuted for centuries. These stories of persecution predate LGBTQIA as a term, and they make it evident that different gender identities and sexualities have existed since ancient civilizations. 

As society has grown more open towards sex generally, culture has begun to shed the unjust judgment towards these sexualities and identities. In its place, pride and acceptance have grown. 

In 1994, the United States began annually observing LGBT History Month or Pride Month. It was meant to highlight LGBT rights and drive home the issue of civil rights for people in the LGBT community. Other countries have since introduced the observance, and the movement towards equal rights began to gain speed. 

At the time, the term was just LGBT for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. The term later grew to the more inclusive term LGBTQ. It has since evolved to be more inclusive and representative of all genders and sexualities to the current LGBTQIA. 

People in the LGBTQIA community still have to deal with and are fighting against:

  • Discrimination
  • Transphobia
  • Homophobia
  • Extreme prejudice
  • Violence

When Do You Use the Term LGBTQIA?

The broad spectrum term LGBTQIA should be inclusive and representative of all gender identities and sexualities.

Are There Synonyms for LGBTQIA?

Synonyms are another way to express the same meaning. Here are some synonyms for words that are abbreviated with LGBTQIA:

  • Pansexual
  • LGBT
  • Gender binary

Are There Antonyms for LGBTQIA?

Antonyms mean the opposite of a word. As an abbreviation for several words, there are antonyms for the words within the abbreviation. Some of the antonyms include:

  • Cisgender
  • Cis
  • Monosexual
  • Nonqueer
  • Straight

Examples of Using LGBTQIA in a Sentence

  • LGBTQIA is the first inclusive community I’ve felt like I belong.
  • I will be attending the LGBTQIA parade as an ally in support of my best friend.
  • LGBTQIA rights are human rights.

With a better understanding of what each term of the abbreviation represents individually, the abbreviation’s origins, and common uses, it’s easier to see the comprehensiveness of LGBTQIA.


  1. LGBTQIA Definition & Meaning | Merriam-Webster 
  2. What does transgender mean? | Live Science 
  3. LGBTQIA Resource Center Glossary | UC Davis