Saturday, August 1, 2009

Open Forum: LGBTQAIZ5123?

Labels for the community have been evolving and continue to evolve to this day. It started with "Gay" which included same-sex attracted males and females, then it branched out to include "Lesbians" as their own separate label. Over time other movements like the "Bisexuals" and "Transgender" populations joined in under the acronym "GLBT". The acronym was thought to be biased towards the "G" and hence the more popularized acronym became "LGBT". Now we see movement to change the acronym so that perhaps the "B" or "T" come before the "L" or the "G" in the sequence of the letters to be more reflective of an inclusive community.

Just when you thought the whole "LGBT" or is it "GLBT" drama was settled we now have new movements boarding the sexual/gender minority bandwagon. "Queer" people who reject the notion that sexuality is fixed and who don't attach binaristic labels want "Q" added to the ever long list of letters in the acronym. People who are "Questioning" their sexuality or are curious want the "Q" to represent the term "Questioning". "Intersex" people don't want to be lumped under the "Transgender" umbrella and want the "I" added to the list. "Asexuals" want to be recognized as a legitimate sexual orientation and have "A" added to the list. "A" has also been representative of those who consider themselves "Allies" to the community.

So we already have a long and varied list with letters overlapping for different communities who want representation. Confusing huh? Well there are also movements by "Polyamorous" families, fetish groups, "Pansexuals", "Two-spirits", and others who want to be part of the acronym.

How far do we go with the acronym, is the label "LGBT" fair and inclusive? Or should we come up with a new term to describe all of these sexual/gender minorities. Is Queer too broad and open so that if we use it nobody will know what we are talking about? Share your thoughts on this ever growing and evolving debate...

26 comments:

Goose said...

ABCDEFG
I don't know how I feel about it all. Queer seems to sum up a great deal of it, but if you saw me on the street you'd probably not think I coded queer, but rather relatively vanilla straight. Is queer more of a coded identity or action or is it any of us that just don't quite fit the norm?
What the heck is two spirits? I"ve never heard of that.
Interesting topic.

Miss Vicki said...

can you spell h-e-a-d-a-c-h-e, lol.
maybe we'll give the straighters a big fat one by trying to keep up with all our titles and labels -

they'll surrender - giv'em what they want!

GDad said...

On my blog and in comments I leave, I always mix up the letters and put (etc.) at the end. So, TGBLQ(etc.).

Zoe Brain said...

The problem is that we are conflating completely different issues - like having a conglomerate of Jews, Blacks, and Gays, whose only similarity is that the same kind of people beat them up.
Throw one group under the bus though, and we hurt our own - the Gay Black Jew for example, as some of us are under more than one category.

I'm straight, intersexed, and with a transsexual past (as do all those with 5ARD or 17BHDD, people whose Intersex condition gives them a "natural sex change").

Queer? Not really, rather a vanilla conventional staid and straight woman with a really unusual endocrine system and an even more interesting past.

BTW, 5ARD etc give an FtoM change, I have a rare one which does the reverse.

Patti said...

We need to respect all people and variations, however if we add a letter for all people, we will wind up with an acronym that no one can remeber. My vote is to leave it as GLBT and make sure all are included in our efforts to gain equality.

Pikku said...

I don't mind what it's called, but if it gets too long, I'm going to call it the, "Alphabet Community."

GDad said...

Zoe Brain really got it. The community is a group whose "only similarity is that the same kind of people beat them up."

When I was in college, I was an officer in an organization that started off as the Gay Alliance, turned into the Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GALA) before I joined, became BGALA during my tenure, and became much longer since.

Queers United said...

Zoe & GDad you make a good point that we all share in common that the same people beat up on us. I also think though there are some other intersections between our struggles. Coming to terms with our identities, coming out of the closet, and many of the same rights or general acceptance from society.

Adriana said...

GDad, I like your solutions. Two Spirits is a term in many Native American cultures - it can be pretty loose but tends to include trans as well as bisexual, and is very respected in most tribes as someone with special gifts.

What does anyone think about the term "sexually fluid?" Not sure it works as a name for the community, but I like its inclusiveness, personally.

Adriana Kraft

Queers United said...

Adriana I tend to think of sexual fluidity falling under queer, since queer eschews being boxed into a category it would seem someone whose sexual/gender identity changes would not want to be labeled either. I don't think the term can be an umbrella term since many are not fluid in their orientation. I am still a fan of queer as an umbrella term but think we need some other words too.

svollga said...

I've been thinking about it for a long time. For me, 'queer' sums it all up nicely, as in 'unusual' (where I mean 'usual' as monogamous heterosexual cisgender, which is, I suppose, the most common, 'traditional' lifestyle for the countries of european/american culture, or at least presented as such). I'm polyamorous pansexual bigender, and actually prefer to call myself 'queer' because everything else is too long and needs too much explaining.
For me, and queer rights movement is about the right of every person to be taken for whatever they are, and not be forced to be whatever other people think 'right'. So, I think 'queer' can include anyone - people of any sexual orientation, gender identity and relationship lifestyle.

libhom said...

The word queer includes all lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people. Adding it to the longer acronym is redundant.

Queers United said...

lib there are 2 types of queer. queer as an umbrella term for LGBTIA and queer as an actual identity for one who does not fall into LGBTIA but rather has fluid sexual/gender identity.

Nox said...

I tend to use queer in it's dictionary meaning... unusual/uncommon. and I feel it pretty well fits the whole of the categories (being applied to sex and gender), even allies to an extent (though I hedge that bet and use queer allies). But I only think it's useful when speaking about the collective group. each individual group also has some of it's own specific concerns, and i've always felt that those are best addressed individually, but there is plenty of crossover, so the super group for me is "Queer".

PS. I once tallied up any letters I could find and found that I fit in about a third of them, and plenty of labels to boot =P

Sharon said...

I'm not going to worry about the acronym until the actual bias against queers by other queers has been taken care of. Let's just all be queers and stop judging one another's lives.

Saskplanner said...

GL. Don't believe in Bi (people who aren't strong enough to fight what they are told is the norm) and the rest. ACK. Gay and Lesbian. The end.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think all of this bullshit is completely unnecessary and utterly annoying.
I think 'Queer' should just be an umbrella term used for LGBT (etc.) persons.
Easy, simple and right to the point.



(And fuck that, why should questioning even be a label?)

Nox said...

uhm Sask, just for my own curiousity... which norm don't you think they fight? the one that says people can only be attracted to the opposite sex, or the the one that says you can only be attracted to one? or maybe the norm that says that there are only two? something to think about.

Anonymous said...

I'm bisexual. I really don't give a damn if you include us in your little acronym or not. Everyone else is just stuck on after the LG or the GL so that homosexuals can convince themselves they're open-minded. Sorry, some of us know better. The way that both homosexuals and heterosexuals seem to think that their "belief" in bisexuals is required for us to exist is pure bullshit, and in the case of homosexuals, pure hypocrisy. We are not the tooth fairy; your belief in us is not required for us to exist. We exist, whether you like it or not, whether you understand us or not, whether you choose to believe it or not. You may be confused about who we are, but that doesn't mean that we're confused. I know who I am, and I'm not gay or straight, and I'm not half one and half the other. I am bisexual, and I'd rather use the whole word than have the initial stuck into someone else's acronym as lip service.

Anonymous said...

To the last comment: Good for you. You tell those idiots. :)

mewi said...

Anonymous = homophobia? You accuse others of being biphobic yet pretty much make intolerant speeches against homosexuals as a general?

Anyway on topic,

Asexual: Is there really a need to add asexual here? I mean, if they are dating someone and can date one gender or the other, doesn't that make them bisexual? Or if they only date female, that makes them lesbian? Should it really be that important what they do... or in this case, don't do.. in bed? After all is being Lesbian, gay, bisexual really just about sex?

Intersex: I think may be a bit more complicated but I think in the end... Most people who are intersex and have the proper preferred assigned gender wouldn't identify as "intersex"... Wheras the ones with the incorrect assigned gender would, and would seek very similar medical treatments a transsexual would. So wouldn't "intersex" to that respect, fall under the "transgender" category?

Q: Sure we all were at this "Q" stage, do we need a label for it though? Maybe, I'm not sure about this one...

~Celeste~

mewi said...

Goose: Two Spirits might be a reference to having both genitalia, or identifying as both male and female at the same time... Kind of confusing, but I think it derives from Native American traditions. Or possibly the Japanese term "Futa", There is a line of fetish animehentai called "Futanari" which is usually a girl with a male part... X.X

Not really my thing, but its hard to avoid knowing this stuff when you are a full fledged anime addict XD

~Celeste~

TRiG said...

Some people dislike labels. I'm fine with them myself.

I'm gay. And if you want to use "Queer" as an umbrella term, I'll answer to that too. Or to various alphabet soups.

There are broader questions, such as, to what extent are the groups interrelated? To what extent do we have the same struggle? That's complicated, but I'm willing to work with anyone oppressed. If it's not my struggle, I'll make it mine. (Fine words. I'd better live up them now.)

And to the idiot who said bisexual people don't exist: grow up.

TRiG.

Hedo said...

Wow. They're just letters, I don't see how the order in which they're placed has any bearing on their "importance." I think what really matters is that they're arranged in an order than can roll off of the tongue. I personally think everything is covered in just GBT, in that "gay" covers everyone with an exclusive attraction to the same sex, "bi" covers all those with a bisexual orientation, and "trans-" includes mtfs, ftms and everyone in between. It's not that it needs more letters, it's that it needs a standard order that people can use and recognize.

Adding more letters isn't going to help anyone. It's just going to cause confusion. Consistency looks good, constant rearrangement might make it seem like we're almost "unsure" of what we're actually trying to achieve. And that's the last thing we want.

Thalassa said...

My favorite term is "gender and sexual minority community." I think it is perfectly descriptive and open-ended enough to include everyone now and going forward. I know it's not as handy as an acronym, but many other minority communities have made it into the modern media world just fine with a long name. [Foreign Country}-American Community, anyone?

On days when I'm feeling flip I say GBLT and I pronounce it giblet, as in giblet gravy. :)

On days when I'm trying to discuss the broadening of the umbrella, I use GLBTQ2IA2.

Anonymous said...

"(Society for) Gender Freedom". Short, accurate and ends with "freedom". I wonder why no one has thought of this before.

Post a Comment