QUILTBAG: Labels, acronyms and explanations

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the LGBT acronym keeps getting more letters added to it. This is great when you want to include more people, but not so great for those of us who are a bit forgetful. What do we add next? Which order do the letters come in? Have I forgotten anyone? I was reminded of a brilliant alternative acronym the other day, which is easy to remember because it’s a word… sort of. Wikipedia lists QUILTBAG as one of the variants of the LGBT acronym, and it stands for Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans, Bisexual, Asexual, Gay. Hmm… I wonder if anyone’s ever made a QUILTBAG quilt bag?

Having a nice neat acronym to help you refer to things in shorthand is all well and good, but what if you need to explain what the labels themselves mean? I’ve had trouble wrapping my head around how and why gender identity and gender expression differ, and quite a few people have pointed me in the direction of a fantastic infographic. Sam Killermann of itspronouncedmetrosexual.com produced the Genderbread Person to help explain gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and sexual orientation into an easy to understand format. He’s currently developing a new version using feedback from fans of his Facebook page, so do pop over there and take a look.

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  1. I like the acronym QUILTBAG, and now I want a QUILTBAG quilt bag. Summer project maybe… But it also often strikes me that the acronym does mix sexual orientation with gender identity… And whilst the two can be quite closely linked, and I really don’t want to make the acronym any longer, if we’re being inclusive, what about cis-gendered, straight folks?

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