What does the A in LGBTQIA+ really stand for? No, not Ally…


What does the ‘A’ in LGBTQIA+ really stand for? No, it’s not Ally. It stands for Asexual, Agender or Aromantic.

Disclaimer: Throughout this article, ‘queer’ is not used as a slur. It is used to refer to any identity other than cisgender and/or heterosexual/romantic.

Now, this in particular has been a long and tiresome debate in the queer community, although I do feel like I’m a little late to the party.

The question: What does the ‘A’ in LGBTQIA+ really stand for?

Some people claim that it’s for the allies, the people who support the community, but who aren’t actually queer themselves.

Most people, however, say that is for the agender, asexual, or aromantic individuals. If you’ve not heard of any of these orientations, the quick Q&As below might help:

What is ‘agender’?

‘Agender’ is when a person feels genderless, without any aspect of any gender in them. It’s a gender under the non-binary umbrella, which is used to describe anyone who does not feel strictly like a man or a woman.

What is ‘asexual’?

‘Asexual’ is when an individual doesn’t typically feel sexually attracted to any gender. Most people consider this to be a spectrum identity, which means it’s more of an umbrella term, and you can partially identify with asexuality. An asexual can still feel romantic attraction, but of course, any two identities can intersect.

What is ‘aromantic’?

‘Aromantic’ is the romantic equivalent to asexual, meaning people who are aromantic don’t feel romantically attracted to any gender. Just like asexual, it is a spectrum identity. You can still feel sexually attracted to other people.

Allies: the ‘A’ in LGBTQIA+ is not for you.

A lot of people are getting really frustrated over allies trying to claim that the ‘A’ is for them, while many allies are saying that they deserve it.

First off, I’d like to point out that you don’t ‘deserve’ anything for being a decent human being. Not a cookie, not an award, not a letter in an acronym.

Think of it this way: What is a cis man’s place in feminism? He doesn’t get one, because feminism is a place designed to be safe for all women. If he wants to be a feminist and help, he takes his own place in society and makes it feminist, rather than taking a place in feminism.

So, under this logic, an ally doesn’t need and shouldn’t get a place in the LGBTQIA+ community. They should take their place in the world and make it queer-safe, right?

What do you think? Should the letter ‘A’ be used as representation, or for an ally?

Further reading:

If anything in this article has peaked your interest, you can go here for some more LGBTQIA+ identities and orientations explanations, or here as a queer-exclusive safe site.