LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. In use since the 1990s, the term LGBT is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase gay community beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the community in question felt did not accurately represent all those to whom it referred. The initialism has become mainstream as a self-designation and has been adopted by the majority "sexuality and gender identity-based" community centers and media in the United States and some other English-speaking countries. The term LGBT is intended to emphasize a diversity of "sexuality and gender identity-based cultures" and is sometimes used to refer to anyone who is non-heterosexual or cisgender instead of exclusively to people who are homosexual, bisexual, or transgender. To recognize this inclusion, a popular variant adds the letter Q for those who identify as queer and/or are questioning their sexual identity as "LGBTQ", recorded since 1996. In Malaysia, LGBT rights are partially recognized. LGBT individuals encompass all races and ethnicities, religions, and social classes. Sexual orientation and gender identity questions are not asked on most national or State surveys, making it difficult to estimate the number of LGBT individuals and their health needs. Research suggests that LGBT individuals face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of their civil and human rights. Discrimination against LGBT persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide. Experiences of violence and victimization are frequent for LGBT individuals, and have long-lasting effects on the individual and the community. Personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity affects the mental health and personal safety of LGBT individuals.
TERMS AND CONCEPTS RELATED TO SEXUAL ORIENTATION & LGBT
It is important to recognize the difference between sexual orientation and sexual behavior as well as the differences among sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender role. Sexual orientation is the affectional or loving attraction to another person. It can be considered as ranging along a continuum from same-sex attraction only at one end of the continuum to opposite-sex attraction only at the other end. Heterosexuality is the attraction to persons of the opposite sex; homosexuality, to persons of the same sex; and bisexuality, to both sexes. Sexual orientation can be seen as part of a continuum ranging from same-sex attraction only (at one end of the continuum) to opposite-sex attraction only (at the other end of the continuum). Sexual behavior, or sexual activity, differs from sexual orientation and alone does not define someone as an LGBT individual. Any person may be capable of sexual behavior with a person of the same or opposite sex, but an individual knows his or her longings—erotic and affectional—and which sex is more likely to satisfy those needs. It is necessary to draw a distinction between sexual orientation and sexual behavior. Not every person with a homosexual or bisexual orientation is sexually active. A person’s sexual orientation does not tell us if she/he is sexually active or does it define her /his specific sexual behaviors. Similarly, sexual behavior alone does not define orientation. A personal awareness of having a sexual orientation that is not exclusively heterosexual is one way a person identifies herself or himself as an LGBT person. Or a person may have a sexual identity that differs from his or her biological sex—that is, a person may have been born a male but identifies and feels more comfortable as a female. Sexual orientation and gender identity are two independent variables in an individual’s definition of himself or herself. Sexual identity is the personal and unique way that a person perceives his or...
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