Jan 10, 2016

Why We Should Keep the T in LGBT, and Add More Letters

Have you heard about the movement to remove the T from LGBT, making us gay, lesbian, and bisexual only?

The problem is, we've never been gay, lesbian, and bisexual only.  We've always been open to everybody.

Granted, in West Hollywood in the 1980s, you were expected to be  gay/lesbian or straight.

But I don't think we were deliberately being exclusionary.  We just grew up hearing that "all guys like girls," "same-sex desire does not exist."  So for a guy to admit that he did, in fact, like girls and boys sounded a lot like heterosexist brainwashing kicking in.

And we heard constantly that "gay men are really women."  So for a guy to admit that he was, in fact, a woman sounded like more heterosexist brainwashing.

By the 1990s, we were confident enough to admit that there were bisexuals and transpeople among us.

We became LGBT.

Queer came next, either as an all-purpose term for LGBT.

Or for people who didn't want to identify as gay, bi, or straight, who wanted to acknowledge the fluidity of desire.

So we became LGBTQ.

For many years, physicians have known about people whose chromosomes or sex organs don't fall into the male or female categories.  But they were always pushed into one or the other category, sometimes with surgery.

Then intersexed people began to assert that they are fine the way they are, that you don't need to look male or female.  Why shouldn't they join the rest of us who are fighting for an end to "you must look like a man, act like a man, and like women"?

So we became LGBTQI.

For many years, psychiatrists and physicians assumed that sexual desire was universal.  Everyone who ever lived desired men, women, or both.  If you didn't, you were prescribed medication or psychotherapy to get to the root of your "problem."

Then asexual people began to push for acknowledgement that they are fine the way they are, that warm, caring friendships are more than enough to fill a lifetime. Why shouldn't they join a group that has been fighting psychiatrists and doctors who want to "cure" us?

So we became LGBTQIA

We are still pushed incessantly into gender-polarized heterosexual desiring boxes.  So trying to define yourself can be tricky.  Some people, especially during adolescence, aren't sure where they belong.  But we want them to feel comfortable among us.  So we welcomed questioning people.

Now we were LGBTQQIA.

Wait -- what about cisgendered heterosexual people who aren't homophobic or transphobic, who want to support us?

They can come in, too.  We'll call them Allies.

So we have become LGBTQQIAA.

Everybody is welcome.

The original nude photos are on Tales of West Hollywood.