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Cracking the Rainbow Code: The meaning of LGBTQIA+ Alphabet


The LGBTQIA+ alphabet can be a complex and evolving language, even for people within the community. The number of letters and the varying terminology can make it challenging to keep up. However, it is crucial to strive to understand this alphabet. By doing so, we show respect towards people and create a more inclusive society. Furthermore, it’s important for businesses to be aware of these identities as, by UK law, they must not discriminate against people based on characteristics protected by the Equality Act 2010, which include sex, sexual orientation, and gender reassignment. In this article, we will explore the meanings behind each letter in the LGBTQ+ alphabet, shedding light on this essential aspect of human diversity.

It is generally acceptable to use the "LGBTQ+" or “LGBT+” acronym for ease of writing and speech. The "+" symbol represents inclusivity and acknowledges that there are additional identities beyond the ones explicitly listed.

LGBTQ letters on someone's 2 hands

Understanding Each Letter: LGBTQIAP+

L - Lesbian: Lesbians are women who are emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to other women. They form deep connections and engage in intimate relationships with women. Interestingly, the first acronym to describe the community was “GLBT”. However, because lesbians played a vital role in the gay rights movement since the 1990s, the acronym was updated to “LGBT” to pay them respect and honour.

G - Gay: Gay is a term often used to refer to men who are attracted to other men. However, it can also be used more broadly to encompass people of any gender who are attracted to the same gender (women can describe themselves as gay, too). Gay people are an important and the most visible part of the LGBTQ+ community, bringing their unique experiences, perspectives, and contributions.

B - Bi / Bisexual: People who have the potential for emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attraction to people of more than one gender. This attraction can be fluid and may vary over time and in different situations.

T - Trans: Trans people have a gender identity that does not align with the sex assigned to them at birth. They may choose to transition through various means to live as their true gender, but transitioning is a personal decision that varies for different reasons. Trans people face unique challenges, including accessing inclusive healthcare, societal stigma, and legal hurdles, thus it is essential to respect and support their journeys.

Q - Queer or Questioning: The term "Queer" is an umbrella term that encompasses people who identify as not exclusively heterosexual or cisgender. It is a term that used to be derogatory but it has been reclaimed by the community, empowering individuals to embrace their diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

"Questioning" refers to people who are exploring and questioning their own sexual orientation or gender identity, allowing for self-discovery and growth.

Inclusive rainbow flag in the wind

I - Intersex: People who are born with physical sex characteristics that do not fit typical binary definitions of male or female. Intersex people may have a variety of chromosomal, gonadal, or anatomical differences. Some people never discover they are intersex. It is crucial to understand that being intersex is a natural variation of human biology.

A - Asexual: Asexual people experience little or no sexual attraction to others. They may still experience emotional or romantic attraction and form meaningful relationships. Asexual individuals contribute to the diversity of human experiences and remind us that there are many ways to connect and bond with others beyond sexual attraction.

P - Pansexual: People who are attracted to others regardless of their gender or gender identity. Pansexual people recognise that love, attraction, and connection can transcend traditional gender boundaries. They are open to forming emotional, romantic, and sexual relationships with people of all genders, including those who identify as male, female, non-binary, or any other gender identity. How are they different from bisexual people? Generally, bisexuality refers to being attracted to more than one gender, while pansexuality can be defined as attraction regardless of gender.

The "+" symbol: It represents the inclusion of additional identities beyond the ones explicitly listed. It recognises the diversity within the community, ensuring that all individuals who identify with various sexual orientations and gender identities are embraced and acknowledged. It promotes inclusivity and emphasizes the importance of recognising and respecting the full spectrum of human experiences and identities.

By including the "+" symbol, the LGBTQ+ community demonstrates its commitment to being open, accepting, and supportive of all people, regardless of their unique sexual orientations, gender identities, or expressions.

The Importance of Education and Understanding

Learning about people different than us is crucial for fostering inclusivity and dismantling stereotypes and prejudices. By understanding other identities, we can create safer spaces, promote acceptance, and ensure equal treatment for all people. It is our responsibility to challenge our own biases (conscious and unconscious) and actively learn about other people’s experiences.

Woman wearing a tshirt with anti-homophobic anti-racist slogans


Understanding the diverse identities within the LGBTQ+ community is a step closer toward building a more inclusive society. By recognising the meaning behind each letter, we can demonstrate respect, compassion, and acceptance towards people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. They are our children, our friends, our colleagues.

As a business, it is essential to be aware of these identities to comply with anti-discrimination laws and create inclusive environments for employees and customers alike. Let’s continue to grow by self-learning, challenge prejudice and stereotypes, and promote understanding and equality for all!


At Queerify we understand the importance of fostering an inclusive environment in the hospitality industry, and that's why we offer comprehensive diversity and inclusion training for your staff.

Our training not only ensures that your customers are respected and addressed correctly but also helps you comply with legal requirements against discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender reassignment.

In the ever-evolving landscape of the hospitality industry, training your staff in LGBTQ+ awareness and inclusion is particularly crucial for your success. Here's how our training can benefit your business:

  1. Attracting Diverse Customer Demographics: By embracing diversity and inclusivity, you can attract a wide range of customers from different backgrounds, creating a welcoming environment for all.

  2. Ensuring Customer Satisfaction: Our training equips your staff with the knowledge and skills to address your guests/customers and their unique needs correctly. By providing excellent service, you increase the likelihood of customers returning and recommending your establishment to others.

  3. Building a Positive Reputation: By prioritising LGBTQ+ inclusivity, you can establish a strong reputation as an inclusive business, earning the respect and loyalty of customers and employees alike.

  4. Expanding Your Customer Base: An inclusive approach often attracts customers with high disposable income, providing opportunities for growth and increased revenue.

A team of 5 young people brainstorming

At Queerify, we specialise in providing tailored training sessions for the hospitality industry. Our most popular training, available in both live online and in-person formats, is the LGBTQ+ Awareness and Inclusion training. This comprehensive 1.5-hour session covers the following topics:

  • LGBTQ+ Terminology: Understanding the language and terminology associated with the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Addressing LGBTQ+ Guests/Customers: Ensuring respectful and appropriate interactions with LGBTQ+ individuals and meeting their specific needs.

  • Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity: Enhancing knowledge and awareness of different sexual orientations and gender identities.

  • Trans Awareness & Pronouns: Learning about trans people and respectful language usage, and the importance of using correct pronouns.

  • LGBTQ+ Legislation in the UK: Familiarising your staff with relevant laws and regulations pertaining to LGBTQ+ rights.

  • Creating an Inclusive Workplace: Promoting an inclusive and supportive work environment for LGBTQ+ staff.

  • Q&A: Providing an opportunity for staff members to ask questions and deepen their understanding of the topics covered.

If you're interested in creating a training session tailored to your industry and specific business needs, we are more than happy to accommodate your requirements. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us through our website:

Investing in LGBTQ+ inclusion training not only supports your legal obligations but also ensures that your business thrives in an increasingly diverse & competitive world. We would love to be your trusted partner in building an inclusive hospitality environment.



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