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Acronym addition invites more inclusion

plusOver the past few weeks, it may have been noticed by members of the UNH community that some of the LGBTQ+ community information on campus has included “IAP” at the end of the acronym, thus making the full acronym: LGBTQIAP+. According to Audrey Johnson, a member of the LGBTQIAP+ community and former member of UNH Alliance Club’s executive board, “Alliance [Club] has been saying [LGBTQIAP+] this year.”

“There’s a lot of variations of the acronym and there’s no one set acronym that everyone agrees on,” Johnson said in explanation of the change.

Johnson noted that some people “think it’s getting too long or too complicated,” while others “say that it’s good because we’re trying to include the most people that [we] can.”

According to Johnson, the plus sign in LGBTQ+ indicates that there are more identities that aren’t being included in the acronym but are still part of the community.

“But something that’s gaining traction in the past few years is the adding of a couple extra letters on the end,” she said.

Alliance Club member Evan Smith said, “We’re trying to incorporate more into the acronym. It gets shortened a lot (to LGBT+ or LGBTQ+) to make it easier to say or write.”

In case not everyone understands the implications of these added few letters, or at least to clarify, Johnson explained what the additional letters stand for.

“In the case of the IAP+ ending: ‘I’ stands for Intersex: those whose bodies don’t conform to the stereotypical ideas of male and female, in terms of either their chromosomes or anatomy. ‘A’ can stand for a couple different things: A-sexual, A-romantic and/or A-gender. Whereas A-sexual is somebody who doesn’t experience or experiences a lack of sexual attraction, A-romantic people don’t experience, or experience a lack of romantic attraction. It’s more specific to romantic attraction and whether they feel that. ‘P’ stands for Pansexual and Panromantic, which means or pertains to all: So somebody who experiences attraction to people of all different genders.”

For those who aren’t certain, the other letters stand for: lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender or transexual and questioning or queer.

“I wouldn’t say that we’re the first or even at the beginning of it but it is a more recent general trend within the community,” Johnson said.

Smith agreed with Johnson. “I wouldn’t say it’s a college specific [phenomenon]. It’s more of a community [change], rather than geographic,” he said.

It seems that on campus this will be the new way of referring to this community. As for community events, not many actually mention LGBTQIAP+.

For instance, with the annual Drag Ball, Smith said,  “The catch phrase we use for that is ‘Dress how you want, bring who you want.’ We generally don’t specify a demographic. We don’t want to seem like we’re targeting any one group, because if you want to come, you can come.”

However, there is one major rule at LGBTQIAP+ community events: “The only thing that we do frown upon at our events is people coming with the intent to harass people. We will absolutely throw people out if they are harassing people,” Smith said.

Though it’s not the only accepted version of the acronym, this new one is more reflective of the LGBTQIAP+ community’s diversity than previous variations of it. 

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