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The 'Q' in LGBTQIA+ and how the meaning has evolved

Pride month in San Diego lets us reflect on the importance of the LGBTQIA+ acronym, its meaning and how it has evolved over generations.

SAN DIEGO — Pride month in San Diego celebrates our LGBTQIA+ communities and the importance of representation in the acronym and identities.

“All of those letters signify a person who is not heterosexual or non-cisgender,” said Evan Johnson, Community and Youth Programming Manager, Transfamily Support Services.

The LGBTQIA+ acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual or Ally and now 2S has been added to represent Two-Spirited which is used by Indigenous people to describe their sexuality or gender and the plus sign encompasses inclusivity.

“Everyone we add on a new part to this acronym what it essentially is saying is that we see you for who you are,” said Johnson.

The letter “Q” and its meaning for Queer has evolved over the years. What was once used as a derogatory word is now embraced by younger generations. Johnson studied linguistics and explained its meaning to them as a non-binary person.

“For myself to take this word 'queer' and use it as a word of community and family encompasses that not all of our experiences are reliant on the gender binary,” said Johnson.

For older generations, the word queer can sting.

“It's easier to be queer when you’re younger. The older generation went through so much to get where they are, and we also need to respect where they come from,” said Jacob Lolarga, a visitor from Canada.

News 8 also spoke to Air Force veteran, Victor Pulido, 52, who served during "don’t ask, don't tell" and remembers the word queer was not used kindly.

“Even when I was serving in the military I heard that a lot,” said Pulido.

Now the younger generations are proudly calling themselves queer.

“It's this natural moment of taking language that has been used and taking language that used violently against us, taking language that has been used negatively against us and taking away its power,” said Johnson.

This era is about a community that loves all no matter their identity.

“Regardless of if I'm gay or not, or queer it doesn’t matter because you know I am living my life and I'm living my truth,” said Pulido.

Activists say as identities continue to be visible the LGBTQ+ acronym will continue to evolve.

For a list of Pride events click here.

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