Seen in various LGBT documentation spaces online:
This history of the acronym goes back to the last sustained trauma in the LGBT world: the AIDS pandemic of the 1980s and 1990s. ... a more significant and largely unacknowledged support in the care of men with AIDS was a community of lesbians, creating a level of solidarity between gay men and lesbians that didn’t exist before. From the earliest days of the epidemic, lesbians stood by their gay brothers.
This claim apparently spread from a 2016 medium.com post which also asserts very emphatically,
When civic and religious leaders call us "GLB" or "GLBT" rather than a now normative version of LGBT, it is not unlike those awkward years in the 1970s when well meaning white people struggled to learn to say “black” or “African American” [et cetera, et cetera]
I don't know where to find more careful historical documentation of this. I am skeptical of this claim because:
- This is the kind of story that Tumblr users make up.
- In my dim memory, GLBT was used interchangeably with LGBT until the early 2000s. (I could remember wrong, however)
- It seems to me that the LGBT could have come to be the favored acronym simply because it was more euphonious than GLBT.
A positive answer could involve either oral history by a specific person who was involved in the community at the time, or a period publication advocating for the "LGBT" order for AIDS-related reasons. A negative answer could involve secondary sources adding more complexity to the issue, or an original source being misinterpreted, or period publications advocating for the "LGBT" order for other reasons.