The Acronym LGBTQIA+ … Helpful or Not? You Decide.

By Caroline Harroe (Harmless CEO)

Using the LGBTQIA+ acronym is an inclusive term that encompasses a broad spectrum of identities relating to sexual orientation and gender. While this terminology aids in fostering a sense of community unity and raises awareness about non-heteronormative identities, it risks oversimplifying and homogenising the vastly different experiences, struggles and stories of those within its scope. 

Each individual group – Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender individuals, Queers, Asexuals, and others under the ‘+’, have unique journeys. Their realities, shaped by culture, society, personal relationships, legalities and health perspectives, often significantly differ. For example, the discrimination faced by a transgender person may not parallel the challenges an asexual individual faces. Moreover, each group’s needs and concerns regarding mental health, healthcare, legal recognition and societal acceptance differ remarkably.

Framing all these diverse identities and experiences under one collective umbrella term like LGBTQIA+ can also inadvertently lead to the marginalisation of less recognised or understood identities like asexuality and bisexuality. Often, these identities find less representation, get overshadowed or face erasure when discussed in the broader LGBTQIA+ context.

While the inclusive terminology is essential for collective advocacy, rights movements and broad conversations about sexual and gender diversity, it is not a panacea. Acknowledging and understanding the unique experiences and issues of each subgroup is equally important. 

In conclusion, the LGBTQIA+ terminology has value, but a nuanced, respectful and in-depth understanding of each subgroup’s experiences is also crucial for meaningful conversations, policies and interventions that relate to sexual orientation and gender identity.

At Harmless, we are committed to acknowledging the individuality of each person, ensuring their gender identity or sexual orientation does not influence the support they receive, but instead illuminates it. Thus, irrespective of who you are, we guarantee to provide the help that you rightfully deserve.