LGBT; LGBTQ; LGBTQIA: what acronym does the queer community use?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
July 28, 2023, 8:05 AM GMT+0

Young queer Britons in particular favour LGBTQ+

Anyone reading about issues affecting the queer community will come across numerous acronyms used to refer to people from sexual and gender identity minorities. These typically begin with ‘LGBT’ (standing for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender, respectively), but can vary depending on the context and author.

But outside of the editorial choices of individual writers and publication style guides, what acronym are the queer community themselves using?

We asked almost 1,000 queer Britons to write directly what acronym they tend to use, with most common answer being LGBTQ+, at 29%. The Q stands for Queer and/or Questioning, while the plus represents those who don’t identify with one of the letters in the acronym. This seems to be the favoured acronym of Stonewall, probably Britain’s most prominent queer charity.

Usage of LGBTQ+ is particularly prevalent among the youngest queer Britons – those aged 16-24 – at 41%.

LGBTQ+ is also the preferred acronym of the Guardian’s style guide, however other outlets seem to prefer LGBT, which is the next most common acronym used by queer people, at 21%, followed by a plus-less LGBTQ, at 13%.

One in nine (11%) use the more extensive LGBTQIA+ – the I standing for intersex and the A for asexual, aromantic, or agender – while 8% use LGBT+.

Combining the results for the same acronym with and without the ‘+’ shows LGBTQ(+) to be the largest by some way, at 42%, followed by LGBT(+) at 29%. LGBTQIA(+) comes in a distant third, at 13%.

Overall, 56% of 16-24 year old queer Britons use either LGBTQ or LGBTQ+.

See the full results here

Photo: Getty

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