The collective initials referring to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community.
Collective term to refer to the collection of minority groups, that are not Heterosexual. Not necessarily in reference to simply those who are Homosexual, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender.
However, it is generally considered to be an umbrella term, to describe those who have a different sexual orientation, than male with female.
Prior to the 1960's, there really was no term that didn't have some sort of negative connotation.
In the 1860's the term 'Third Gender' was used, but never gained popularity.
Homosexuality was first used, but many considered it derogatory, which then developed into Homophile, then Gay.
As more Lesbian's became active, seeking recognition within the community, the phrase was expanded to be 'lesbian and gay' that then drew the focus of the bisexual and transgender groups, who also sought recognition from society.
Despite the Stonewall Riots, that brought LGBT rights to the forefront of society, there was considerable resentment of the Bisexual and Transgender groups.
Many purists of the time believed that bisexuals were simply those too afraid to admit to being homosexual, or lesbian.
The perception of Transgender, which still persists today, was that their situation was more about sexual identity, rather than sexual orientation.
GLBT or LGBT more or less gained prominence during the 1990's to become more inclusive of all persons, who were not heterosexual.
It was also considered to be more descriptive, of the entire community, versus earlier definitions, such as 'gay' or 'homosexual'.
GLBT was considered the original definition, that was later changed due to the emergence of more Lesbian participation within the community, though there is no clear or absolute evidence that the change to LGBT was made to appease any specific group.
Either use is considered acceptable.
Both a social grouping of likeminded persons, as well as a political action grouping, designed to be inclusive of those who have different sexual associations.
It is not free of tension, as the more general grouping marginalizes the Transgender grouping, believing that they are more about a sexual identity than about orientation.
The primary goal was to create a more acceptable term to refer to those who are NOT heterosexual in orientation. Used to provide a more positive definition.
Practice (Associated Acts):
In a political sense, LGBT is at the forefront of supporting rights for those included under the umbrella of the organization. Unlike other action groups, there are no true defined leaders, but more of a collective consensus.
The primary grouping is for identification purposes, to provide a non derogatory classification, though some within the community disagree with the political correctness of the term.
There are some who would prefer simple words, like Queer, however due to the derogatory connotation, many within object.
At the same time, many add initials to the term, to include more specific groupings.
LGBTQ for example is used to describe Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning. Objections to this, is that some will assume that the 'Q' refers to Queer.
Other letters sometimes used and included, are F for those into fetishes, O for those who refer to themselves as Omnisexual. P for Pansexual, and even the number 2 for reference to being two spirited, rather than T for Transgender.
In 1791, France was the first nation to de-criminalize homosexuality.
Until after the 12th Century, early Christianity was either unconcerned about homosexuality, or actually embraced it. Attitudes began to change, afterwards, until its present form today.
During the 1920's and until the early 1930's, Homosexuality was generally accepted within the United States.
Many popular songs were recorded in that time, with reference to homosexual behavior. One such song was titled 'Masculine Women, Feminine Men' which was also recorded by several of the top recording artists, of the time.
One of the leading actors of the time was openly homosexual, and was a huge box office success. (William Haines who also lived openly with his lover, Jimmy Shields, was called the #1 Male Box Office star.
Openly gay clubs operated, called 'pansy clubs' and were frequented by non gays as well.
In 1927, Mae West wrote a play about homosexuality, that was a box office success, at the time. It was called 'The Drag'
Many in the African American community prefer to use SGL rather than LGBT/GLBT, as a means of distinguishing themselves from what they perceive is a white dominated grouping.
The term refers to 'Same Gender Loving'
MSM is more of a clinical term used to describe males having sex with males, without distinguishing sexual orientation.