What Q Stands ForMany people wonder what the “q” stands for in LGBTQ. There are generally two answers, both of which endow the commonly used abbreviation with greater inclusivity.

Some will respond that the Q stands for Questioning.  Thus, it encompasses those who are not quite sure at this point how or if they want to label themselves, but they feel as if they may belong to a community that does not define itself as “straight.”

The Q can also stand for Queer.  Many people, particularly those who are a bit older, are uncomfortable with the word Queer because it was used for so long in a derogatory manner toward, in particular, gay men.  They will choose not to use the word because they still see it as offensive.  However, Queer is now used by many as an umbrella term that allows for the idea that one does not have to label oneself as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.  Mosaic’s use of it is an acknowledgment that many see sexual orientation, sexual desire, and sexual identity as occurring along a continuum and, thus, not easily classified using current terminology.  Those who identify as members of the “queer community” may consider themselves in some way transgressing what they believe society deems as “the norm.”

Finally, it is worth noting that some include other letters at the end of LGBTQ.  “I” stands for intersex and “A” stands for asexual.  We have chosen to stop at Q and allow that to serve as our umbrella term.

Glossary of Terms