A guide to sexuality as Pride month rolls in Thailand
New governor Chadchart Sittipunt has designated June as “Pride month” in Bangkok, reflecting the city’s diverse sexuality and respect for human rights.
LGBT Pride month is being celebrated around the globe to commemorate the landmark Stonewall uprising, when the gay community of New York rose up against police oppression in June 1969.
Former US president Bill Clinton enshrined June as "Gay & Lesbian Pride Month" in 1999 while his successor Barack Obama declared June as LGBT Pride Month in 2009.
The abbreviation LGBT was coined in the 1980s by gay rights activists. Over the past 40 years, it has expanded to incorporate more sexual orientations, and LGBTQIA+ is now recognised across the globe.
Each sexuality in LGBTQIA+
Used by human rights activists since 1988, the four letters LGBT stand for:
- L (Lesbian) – a woman who is attracted to other women
- G (Gay) – those who are attracted to people of the same gender (most commonly associated with men)
- B (Bisexual) – a person who is attracted to two or more genders
- T (Transgender) – people with a gender identity or gender expression that differs from the sex that they were assigned at birth.
The original letter order was GLBT but this was changed in the 1990s when lesbians stepped up in solidarity with the male gay community who were facing the HIV crisis, donating blood and showing solidarity through activism. The L was duly moved up to reflect lesbians' significant role in the fight for gay rights and recognition.
In 2016, the American NGO GLAAD added the letter Q to reflect another recognised sexual orientation.
- Q stands for Queer – people who are neither heterosexual nor cisgender (a person who gender-identifies with their birth sex)
Q can also be defined as “questioning”, to describe people who are questioning and undecided about their sexuality.
Then came the letters I and A.
- I (Intersex) – individuals born with sex characteristics – including chromosome patterns, gonads, or genitals – that do not fit binary notions of male and female bodies.
- A (Asexual) – a person who lacks sexual attraction to others, or has a low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity.
- A (Agender) – those who identify as having no gender or being without a gender identity.
However, the number of sexual orientations is increasing, so the plus symbol has been added.
Genders not represented by the letters in LGBTQIA include:
Non-binary describes gender identities that are not solely male or female — identities that are outside the gender binary.
Two-spirit is a term for people who identify as having both a masculine and feminine spirit as per Indigenous North American tradition.
Pansexual denotes people who have an attraction toward other people regardless of their sex or gender identity.
Demisexual is a term used to describe those who do not experience sexual attraction to others unless they form a strong emotional bond with someone first.
The terms mentioned above represent the variety of human sexuality as we know it now. It is up to each person to define their sexuality for themselves, so they feel happy and comfortable in themselves. Each of us is different, as reflected in the variety of terms to define sexuality, but all of us have value and human dignity.