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What is FLINTA and why is it an important acronym?

What is FLINTA and why is it an important acronym?

What is FLINTA and why is it an important acronym?
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The German-originated term is gaining popularity, but what does it mean?

@andrewjstillman


So what's the tea with FLINTA?

What is FLINTA and why is it an important acronym?

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These days, it can be hard to keep up with all of the terms and acronyms used within the LGBTQIA+ communities. As people become more comfortable discussing who they are and how they identify, we need to be able to properly identify ourselves and how we fit into the intricate web.

A more recent acronym you may have heard or seen floating around is FLINTA, a German-based term gaining recognition for its inclusivity and acknowledgment of the identities society tends to overlook.

Keep reading to find out what FLINTA is and why it’s a term that matters.

What is FLINTA?

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In German, “FLINTA” stands for Frauen, Lesben, Intersexuelle, Nicht-binär, Transgender, and Agender, which translates in English into Female, Lesbian, Intersex, Nonbinary, Transgender, and Agender.

In other words, it’s a term that includes those who don’t fit into a cis or male gender identity.

Just in case anything is still unclear, quick recap:

  • Females are those who identify as women
  • Lesbians are those who identify as female and are attracted to other females
  • Intersex individuals are born with physical sex organs that don’t fit into the binary male and female dichotomy
  • Nonbinary individuals do not identify as either male or female
  • Transgender individuals don’t align with the gender identity assigned to them at birth
  • Agender individuals do not adhere to any gender identity

When did FLINTA start?

@safe_space

Follow @lesbianbarproject to keep up-to-date with their upcoming new season of their award-winning series, which will include their first international episode about Germany and all things FLINTA! 😍 Series 1 streaming now on @The Roku Channel 🏳️‍🌈 #lgbtq #lesbianbarproject #lesbians #flinta

The term FLINTA originated in West Germany and West Berlin, and the feminist movement out there began in the 1970s. 1976 saw the first women’s shelter in West Berlin, which already housed plenty of places for lesbian groups and cafes for women which allowed for a significant lesbian presence.

However, the term has only seen more recent acknowledgment. A TikTok video from the account @safe_space posted in August 2023 went around asking different people if they knew what the term was during Berlin Pride and recorded the various answers. In the end, it served as an educational video that brought more light to the term and what it really means.

Why is this important?

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Outside of simply respecting people’s identities, it’s important to recognize FLINTA because the bulk of understanding in gender revolves around men and the overall binary system. Although the term “LGBTQIA+” has all of the same pieces as FLINTA, moving the conversation toward those who identify on the FLINTA scale helps encourage a better understanding of what gender norms actually are.

More so, acknowledging FLINTA allows for more visibility and recognition to the spectrum of nonbinary and cisgender presentations of gender and orientation. Doing so helps reduce stigma and also provides a safer space for those who identify in these different presentations to allow them to be more themselves.

How does "FLINTA" differ from "QUILTBAG"?

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If you’ve heard of the term “QUILTBAG,” then FLINTA might sound a little familiar to you. If you haven’t heard of QUILTBAG, it stands for Queer, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, TransgenderTranssexual, Bisexual, Allied/Asexual, and Gay/Genderqueer. In other words, it’s an easier way to say “LGBTQIA+.”

The difference between QUILTBAG and FLINTA is that FLINTA only focuses on those that do not identify on the male spectrum of the binary whatsoever.

Why does the term exclude some people?

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This is a complex question that basically boils down to one thing: Patriarchal and heteronormative structures need to be challenged. FLINTA is a reminder that there is so much more out there than just cisgender and male-identifying people. Of course, an ideal world doesn’t let us exclude anyone, but society makes that goal more than a little difficult to achieve.

Although plenty of people don’t approve of FLINTA, it still creates a safer space for women and women-identifying people who need a place to feel more understood. This also includes cisgender straight females, as well, which helps add more allegiance to the overall struggle against patriarchy and sexism. Said struggles continue to focus on transgender individuals, transgender females especially, and this reminds everybody that the fight is for equality, first and foremost, regardless of anything else.

How common is FLINTA?

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The above mentioned TikTok video has not only brought more awareness to the term, but also took it more outside of just Germany. Dating apps like HER have started offering FLINTA groups on their platform, and the Lesbian Bar Project mentioned in the TikTok video is also starting to use the term.

As the term grows in popularity, as do the people who try to enter into FLINTA spaces and the various forms of rejection they receive. For example, someone who is a masc-presenting intersex person or a male transgender individual may be denied due to the groups and leave some people wondering if they would actually be accepted or not.

Are there any other variations of FLINTA?

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There are a couple of variations of the term, including the use of a + or a * afterward to indicate anyone whose identity may not be specifically included but would also be accepted. Other variations include:

  • FINTA* - FINTA removes the term “lesbian” from its acronym because of its focus on sexual orientation and not gender identity. Doing so lets the focus remain on gender identity only, though it’s questionable as to whether the “intersex” term should be included.
  • FLINT* - The only difference here is removing “agender” and puts it in theory under the non-binary umbrella.

Regardless, FLINTA is the most commonly used and accepted term.

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Andrew J. Stillman

Contributing Writer for Pride.com

Andrew J. Stillman is a freelance writer and yoga instructor exploring the world. Check him out at andrewjstillman.com or follow him @andrewjstillman on all the things.

Andrew J. Stillman is a freelance writer and yoga instructor exploring the world. Check him out at andrewjstillman.com or follow him @andrewjstillman on all the things.