In Sweden, the most common acronym used when referring to people who do not fit into the hetero- and binary gender norm is HBTQ (LGBTQ is a frequently used corresponding term in English). This acronym can be both criticised, expanded and/or reduced, however. H stands for homosexual and B for bisexual, and hence both these letters concern sexual orientation, or who a person tends to fall in love with or be attracted to. T stands for trans, which concerns how people define and express their gender, and Q stands for queer, which can both concern sexual orientation, gender identity, relationships and sexual practice and be an expression of a critical stance in relation to prevailing norms.
Other letters frequently used include I for intersex, a collective term given when a body cannot be assigned a sex (male or female)according to society’s norms; A for asexual, which refers to people with very limited or no interest in sex; P for pansexual, which is a sexual orientation where people feel sexually attracted to others regardless of gender; and L for lesbians, or homosexual women. The L for lesbians is sometimes added because although the H in HBTQ technically covers both men and women who are homosexual, in practice this letter is often more strongly associated with homosexual men. The same is true for the English acronym LGBTQ, which always includes the L since ‘gay’ is broadly reserved for homosexual men although from a linguistic standpoint the term includes women as well. The acronym used can also say something about the political environment and about the thoughts and attitudes of a certain organisation/person/institution regarding sexuality and gender identity.