The year 2015 has been groundbreaking in regards to social acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community. With everything from a nationwide legalization of same sex marriage, even the first gender neutral restroom in the White House.
However, with added growth and acceptance of more identities, such as asexual and intersex, perhaps the next great challenge that we in the LGBTQ community will have to overcome, might be how we refer to ourselves.
The LGBTQ community is in desperate need of simplification. Or perhaps to better illustrate my point, the LGBPTTQQIIAA+, has made itself far too complicated for its own benefit. Yes, that’s LGBPTTQQIIAA+, or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Intergender, Asexual, Ally, and then an added plus sign, just in case there still might be someone that we haven’t included yet.
That initialism is real, I assure you. Along with a seemingly endless rearranging of the above letters into a collection of equally confusing abbreviations.
Queer culture has seemingly always placed a great deal of attention on acceptance and solidarity. And, although I completly understand the need to ensure that all members of the community are visibly represented. This 13 character initialism is the nightmare creation of an increasingly politically correct society.
An initialism, almost by definition, be easier to say than the term it is abbreviating. Longer initials are not only harder to remember, but harder to take seriously. The idea of a 13 character initial almost seems like a parody in and of itself. For the queer community to reach mainstream acceptance, a simplification is in order and a few figurative toes might just need to be stepped on to do so.
It makes the most sense to start with cutting words like “ally” and “questioning”. Not to say that either word isn’t important, but by definition, the term “ally” means a friend of the community, rather than a part of the community. As for “questioning”, it would make the most sense to classify this temporary self-discovery stage under the “queer” umbrella term.
Next, this leads us to the biggest problem with this initialism, redundancy and over fractioning.
To start, the terms transgender, transsexual, and intergender are all rather commonly recognized as equal parts of the “trans” community. With intergender, also known as gender fluidity, used to represent those whose gender identity does not align within a traditional male or female binary, and transsexual, used most commonly to refer to those who have taken steps to redefine their physical sex.
It makes the most sense to include all three of these terms under the umbrella of transgender, a term used for any whose gender identity does not match the gender they were assigned at birth.
This leads to perhaps the most redundant pairing of all, and the one that bothers me personally the most, bisexuality and pansexuality.
These are two terms meaning practically the same thing, an attraction to more than one gender, with the only noticeable difference being pansexuality strange inclusion of transgender as a third option. Personally, I feel this creates an uncomfortable additional class for transgender and places too many assumptions on the preferences of bisexuality. If instead, bisexuality is used to reflect a sexuality that bisects gender, then the term pansexual loses its significance and is no longer needed
In summary, the LGBTQ community should be, I feel, focused more on creating as fewer and far more inclusive labels, rather than producing increasingly more subsects. Perhaps the Queer Nation movement of the 1990s had it the most correct in the words of their most iconic slogan. Regardless of sexual orientation, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, or anything else inbetween. Through solidarity, “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.”