Michael from New York
City wrote that a friend of his used an acronym new to him: LGBTQQIA community. Most people know that LGBT stands for
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender, but this represents a significant
It turns out that LGBTQQIA
stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex,
and Allies. [For a thoughtful definition of Intersex, go to The Intersex Society of North America.] I fully
understand that this is an attempt to be sensitive and all-inclusive in a
community that is often marginalized by others, but it is in danger of being called a
macronym instead of an acronym.
A minor distinction:
while both are abbreviations, there is a useful distinction between acronyms
and initialisms. Acronyms can be pronounced as if they were words: UNICEF,
RADAR, BATA, NASA, etc. Initialisms cannot be pronounced as if they were words;
each letter must be spelled out: FBI, TGIF, TNT, AC/DC, etc. So I would rather
call LGBTQQIA an initialism.
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