Dear Minerva,

In a couple of your articles you have used "LGBTQIA+." I know what the "LGBT" is. Can you explain the "QIA" and especially the "+" please?

Sincerely, XYZ?

Dear XYZ,

The LGBT initialism has expanded. In an attempt to be inclusive of people who don't fit within just LGBT, letters have been added to help show support for our friends who are still marginalized.

"Q" is for Queer. While an often controversial term, many people have reclaimed the power of this word and feel most comfortable with it as an identity.

"I" is for Intersex. Intersex people are born with chromosomal, hormonal, glandular or genital differences that do not fit typical definitions of male or female bodies, often resulting in long-lasting issues with gender assignment at birth, stigma, and sometimes unwanted or unnecessary surgical procedures in order to try to make the child fit into a specific definition.

"A" is for Asexual. That's right. It is NOT for ally. Asexual people feel no sexual attraction to others or desire to have sex. People who identify as asexual are often misunderstood and are stigmatized for that.

The "+" is about acknowledging that the initialism we are currently using does not encompass (nor could it) the incredible diversity of human experience. While people are quick to accept the millions of differences in flora and fauna without question, there are still many people who cannot do so with their fellow humans. Until such time, we must continue being bright, beautiful, visible wildflowers.

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