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LGBT, or GLBT, is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. In use since the 1990s, the term is an adaptation of the initialism LGB, which was used to replace the term gay in reference to the LGBT community beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s. Activists believed that the term gay community did not accurately represent all those to whom it referred.
The initialism has become mainstream as a self-designation; it has been adopted by the majority of sexuality and gender identity-based community centers and media in the United States, as well as some other English-speaking countries. The term is used also in some other countries, particularly those which languages use the initialism, such as Argentina, France, and Turkey.
The initialism LGBT is intended to emphasize a diversity of sexuality and gender identity-based cultures. It may be used to refer to anyone who is non-heterosexual or non-cisgender, instead of exclusively to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. To recognize this inclusion, a popular variant adds the letter Q for those who identify as queer or are questioning their sexual identity; LGBTQ has been recorded since 1996. Those who add intersex people to LGBT groups or organizing use an extended initialism LGBTI. This initialism is used in all parts of "The Activist's Guide" of the Yogyakarta Principles in Action. Some people combine the two acronyms and use the term LGBTIQ. Others use LGBT+ to encompass a spectrum of gender and sexuality.
Whether or not LGBT people openly identify themselves may depend on local political concerns and whether they live in a discriminatory environment, as well as on the status of LGBT rights where they live.
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