The Lightning Letter

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The Lightning Letter

The Lightning Letter

The ‘A’ in LGBTQIAP+

So, what’s the A stand for? Ally? Asexual? Agender? Aromantic? Let’s see.
The letter ‘a,’ decorated in rainbow shades.

If you’re not aware of what LGBTQIAP+ stands for, I’ll lay it out. It’s a lot of letters, but they all come out (get it?) to something quite simple. The L stands for lesbian, or someone who’s attracted to people who identify as female. The G is gay, someone’s attracted to people who identify as male. The B, bisexual, is someone who is attracted to both genders, and the P is someone who’s attracted to all. The T is transgender, someone who doesn’t identify as their birth sex, and the I stands for intersex, people who have biological traits of both male and female. The Q is queer, which is sort of a blanket term for the community (it’s a slur that’s been reclaimed). The reason there’s a plus sign is because there will always be more words and terms and identities people use, and adding onto the already-large acronym makes it even bulkier to say and spell. It’s just saying, “hey, I acknowledge you’re here and you exist, but we’ve sort ran out of space so have a fun, inclusive plus instead!”

Now, what’s the A stand for? Even in LGBTQIAP+ spaces, it’s commonly known to stand for ally- hold your groans, fellow aces, aros, agenders, and everyone else!- but that’s not the only word it can represent. Allies to the queer community are important and much welcome, and I’m not denying that, but simply saying, “oh, it stands for ally. Onwards!” erases the other important communities that also come together under this term. People who are asexual- the most commonly-known A-starting LGBTQIAP+ identity- face erasure and discrimination even within the community as a result.

So, you might be asking, what are all these words you’ve been throwing around? I’ll explain.

  • Asexual: someone who doesn’t experience sexual attraction. This is a spectrum (like a lot of things), but that’s basically all it breaks down as. I’m ace- the common shorted version of the term- and I have no intention or interest in having sex with anyone. Some people might not want to have sex until they know the person well, or various other things, and those all fall under the asexual umbrella as well.
  • Aromantic: someone who doesn’t experience romantic attraction. It’s also a spectrum. I’m aro, and ace, so online I might say that I’m aroace instead of someone who’s asexual and aromantic- it’s simpler. Aromantic people still experience platonic love- that’s love for friends, or family, or really anything that’s not romantic or aesthetic (liking how someone looks). I, for example, could say, “Oh, she’s so pretty,” or “Whoa, cool eyes!” without the intention of dating them or having a romantic relationship. Not to brag, but it definitely makes friendship easier! 😉
  • Agender: someone who doesn’t have a gender or perceives themself as gender-less. I don’t really see myself as any gender – the closest I could get was nonbinary (someone outside the binaries of male and female) – so I consider myself agender as well. I’ll apologize for this joke in advance, but I personally think it’s quite funny: I’ve got three A’s, so a I’m a triple-A battery 🙂

Whether you fall into any of these spectrums, if you’re LGBTQIAP+ or not, it’s important to learn. Knowledge is power, after all, and opening our eyes to new ideas can lead to things we never would have imagined!

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