LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

This forum is for discussion of existing blog posts and for posting of new blog posts. Only Admins and Moderators have permission to start new topics here but any registered member can reply.
Karl
Administrator
Posts: 492
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:41 am

LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby Karl » Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:14 am

Having recently spent a lot of time poking around on the internet looking for Queer organizations that recognize or support asexuality (you know, for our Knowledge Base) I’ve become just one more of many people to notice just how ridiculous some groups’ acronyms have become. Sure, there are LGBs and LGBTs, and most people are familiar with those, but there are also LGBTQs, LGBTAs, LGBTUs, LGBTIs, LGBTTs, LGBTQAs and even LGBTTTIQQAs.

And that’s just a quick sample of the acronyms in use. Not only is this rather overwhelming, but it’s pretty obvious that none of these can be pronounced without enunciating every single letter in turn. The most ridiculous one was allegedly coined by a representative of Wesleyan University, and goes something like ‘LGBTTQQFAGIPBDSM...’ which stands for ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderqueer, Intersex, Polyamourous, BDSM and anything else we might have forgotten’. Great, but what are the chances of anyone actually remembering that?

The only suggestion I came across that actually comes close to rolling of the tongue was coined by the magazine Anything That Moves, and that’s ‘FABGLITTER’ (Fetish, Allies, Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Intersexed, Transgender, Transsexual Engendering Revolution). Unfortunately, even this doesn’t include every possible sexual or gender-identity minority out there.

One has to ask the question: Isn’t there a better way of being inclusive than stringing letters together to form cumbersome abbreviations? What’s wrong with naming your organization the 'Queer Alliance' or 'Rainbow Alliance', or something equally pronounceable like that?

Apparently, it all started in the 1980s. According to the wikipedia article on LGBT history:

Since the mid-1980s students at high schools and universities have organized LGBT groups, often called Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) at their respective schools. The groups form to provide support for LGBT students and to promote awareness of LGBT issues in the local community.

But even within these groups, there have always been tensions regarding inclusivity. From Wikipedia's LGBT page:
after the initial euphoria of the beginnings of the Stonewall riots wore off, starting in the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was a change in perception and some gays and lesbians were not very accepting of bisexual or transgender people.

It was thought that transsexual people were acting out stereotypes; and bisexuals were simply gay men or lesbian women who were simply afraid to "come out" and be honest about their identity. Like many organizations, the movement underwent growing pains, and these are seen even today in the fact that there is no agreement as to whether the acronym should be GLBT or LGBT.

Not until the 1990s did it become common to speak of "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people" with equal respect within the movement. Although the LGBT community has seen some controversy regarding universal acceptance of different members (transgender individuals, in particular, have sometimes been marginalized by the larger LGBT community), the term LGBT has been a positive symbol of inclusion.

These days, people are coming out or labeling themselves with all sorts of different things though. Apart from us Asexuals, there are the those who are Transsexual, Intersex, Pansexual, Omnisexual, Genderqueer, Two Spirit, Unsure, Curious, Fetish, and numerous others that don’t come to mind right now. As the existing LGBT groups decide to accept more and more of these groups into their organizations it seems only logical at first to just tag on another letter or two. Until, that is, you get to the point where you have to widen your doors to fit all the letters on the plaque.

'So, what does this have to do with asexuality?', you may ask. Well, I’ll tell you. Like most other sexual and gender-identity minorities, we collectively tend to expect Queer organizations to welcome us into their groups with open arms. I’m one of the collective and I’d love to see evidence of at least the recognition of asexuality on more of these organizations' websites. It has to be said that some of them do more than this, offering information on asexuality, links to our community sites and allowing asexuals to join their meetings. But I can totally understand why the ones who don’t do any of this may have a problem with being an umbrella for everyone who doesn’t quite fit in with the norm. And I definitely understand now why they are loathe to add yet another A onto their already cumbersome acronyms for us. But as I see it, there are two alternative paths we can take:

  1. We drop all the acronyms, revise our missions statements, and group everything under an all-inclusive name like Gender & Sexuality Variation Alliance (or the more traditional Queer or Rainbow Alliance) that won’t have to be changed every few years.
  2. We fragment into dozens of different types of organizations, each with just one sexual or gender-identity minority in its remit. We have a Gay Society, a Bi Society and an Asexual Society and never mix.

Obviously, the second one is impractical, as there are generally very few members of any one minority in any particular area (try setting up an Asexual Society in your town and see how popular it is…). And let’s not forget that there is strength in numbers - that’s the very reason why LGB organizations were created in the first place, right? So shouldn’t we – meaning everyone, including the open-minded heterosexuals - stop focusing on what makes us different from each other and start working together to educate society about the very real and natural variations in gender and sexuality that occur? Sorry if I’m starting to sound like a John Lennon song, but doesn’t that make some sense?

User avatar
Dargon
Mega Member
Posts: 516
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:34 pm

Re: [Blog Post Discussion] LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby Dargon » Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:08 pm

There are a lot of points to address there.

First, concerning the equal acceptance within the queer groups. In college I was a member of the university sci-fi group (which was pretty much moreso a generic nerd group). Interesting thing about that group is we were perhaps the most diverse organization on campus. A number of the members were non-heteronormative (at one point, there were actually four asexual members). A considerable portion were also members of the campus queer group, the GLBTA (the A stood for Aggies, that should tell you where I went to school), and a number of them said there is still some skepticism and even animosity towards bisexuals. My former roommate (who is bi) mentioned exactly what the wikipedia article cited above says, that a good portion of the gay community believes that bisexuals don't exist, that they are just gays who won't admit it, etc (they have a "you're not really bisexual" list that competes with its' asexual counterpart). Anyhow, I guess my point with this is that even within the queer community, there is still arguments on who does and doesn't count, and those that harbor those opinions would likely resist changing to an all-encompassing group name.

Moving on, since my first encounter with the term "asexual" a few years back, I became more involved in the asexual community, then later the queer community, and have discovered just how much stuff there is outside the socially accepted heteronormativity. All those letters in the acronyms and many more. I look at myself, and I now comfortably call myself "queer" (rather than asexual with a sort-of fetish and also maybe gender queer depending on exactly how you define gender; it's a lot easier).

However, another problem faced in dropping the acronym is the individual groups trying to maintain the individuality within the collective. Sure there is strength in numbers, but when the majority of the number is addressing their issues, whether they be the gay issues or whatever, the smaller numbers may be drowned out.

Additionally, there comes the issue, regardless of whether the name is a string of letters or a single word, of where the line is. According to many, everything represented by any one of those letters is "different," "weird," "unhealthy," "wrong," or "immoral," while people in the group, or more open minded people, find it to be perfectly fine. Some within the group may draw the line at some fetishes; perhaps they find BDSM to be "unhealthy," or perhaps they find cuddle parties "immoral." And then there's always things like pedophilia or zoophilia. Should those be included, or are they too deviant?

Like most things in life, there is no easy solution to this. Both sides have their pros and cons.

User avatar
Emmarainbow
Established Member
Posts: 86
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:38 pm

Re: [Blog Post Discussion] LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby Emmarainbow » Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:37 pm

Hell yes! - it's a big topic of discussion at my LGBetc, about dropping all the bloomin' labels. That's why it's called Aberpride. I have heard an individual complaining about how it should be like the old days, just an LGB; (the actual phrasing was 'now any fuckin' misfit can join...' I thought that was the point! He mentioned asexuals and I was right there... anyway...) the exclusion stung. I am the midway point between so many different modes of sexuality - it's very frustrating! However, he was the only person to dissent in any way to my inclusion to the society, everyone else was very accepting, and most of them understood at least the basics.

One of the current comittee members is very supportive of having asexuality firmly included in equality campaigning, in a bid to get rid of labels, in a move for diversity. It was a lot more than I expected when I asked to be included on the website and have a little mention on the freshers' packs... :D

I really wish I could embrace 'queer' as my identity, but I still can't help but feel it still has the
"different," "weird," "unhealthy," "wrong," or "immoral,"
connotation to it, since I started puberty with people using it in that context. I don't twitch when it is used any more though, which is good. I'd rather have a new word that can encompass all of it, which isn't originally used as 'weird/freakish/abnormal/odd/unsettling'. I'm happy to be a little odd, but I don't want a mere sexual orientation to be the something that makes me any of those things.

Karl
Administrator
Posts: 492
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:41 am

Re: [Blog Post Discussion] LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby Karl » Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:16 pm

I'm glad to see this is sparkin some discussion. In case you haven't been reading the comments on the blog post itself, I'll post them here:

Simone (lady.amarant) wrote:I agree. Let’s just chuck it all out and call it “Individualista”. Cause that’s what we all are! ;)

Gina wrote:Hi

There are some who are Intersex that do not see themselves in the LGB rainbow at all. Intersex is mostly anout medical conditions and gender identity (especially enforced gender compliance and infant genital mutilation.). To include Intersex with LGB is to conflate sexual preference with Gender identity and sex anatomy. Where some I.S individuals might be Gay or Bi the vast majority are neither.

The inclusion of Intersex under the GLB “rainbow” was most likely because of the strength in numbers argument. The Issues for I.S are very very different to GLB save to say we are an oppressed minority. In that sense we share the same ground as Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans.

We are not really a part of the Sex partner preference scene at all.

Gina wrote:Our main struggle at the moment is against medical pathologising of gender identity when a person rejects their birth assignment as mistaken (we are sometimes mutilated into the sex a doctors thinks most appropriate at the time of birth), the inclusion of Intersex as a paraphilia in the next version of DSM.
The struggle against the Disorders of Sexual Developement terminology forced on us by the American medical establishment. (we are not disordered we are simply another way of being Human same as being white is one way of being Human).
However like LGB we stand for the right to be ourselves .

admin wrote:Gina: Thanks for commenting. I can totally see where you’re coming from on this and I can also appreciate why some members of the LGB community are not keen to include transexuality in their umbrella for the same reasons. Maybe we should have two different types of organization to deal with what are clearly very different issues (i.e. one concerning issues of orientation and another for gender and biological sex issues) just as there are different organizations for other minorities and oppressed groups, e.g. Feminist organizations, African American organizations, and organizations representing the disabled. It’s just not possible to include everyone that isn’t heterosexual, white and male into one catch-all, right?

Karl
Administrator
Posts: 492
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:41 am

Re: [Blog Post Discussion] LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby Karl » Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:59 am

Another blog comment:
Vanessa wrote:Yes, I think it’s ridiculous to the point that people will start to tune out legitimate concerns.
I think we’re confusing different issues though. LGB deal with sexual orientation T (and all the rest) with gender identity and expression, and some of the rest (BDSM, etc.) are choices as to how sexuality is expressed.

I think it’s important to differentiate who you innately are (LGBT) vs a lifestyle choice (BDSM, etc.). Keeping it shorter is more impactful, I think pairing LGB and T has had a positive effect for transgender (incl/ transexual, intersex, etc.) visibility.

Hugs
Vanessa
Cross Dresser Heaven

User avatar
Shockwave
Regular Member
Posts: 117
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:46 pm

Re: [Blog Post Discussion] LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby Shockwave » Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:27 am

I still say we should just call it a Sexual Spectrum Alliance and be done with it.

Witch of Wapping
New Member
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:24 pm

Re: [Blog Post Discussion] LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby Witch of Wapping » Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:46 pm

I think that in spite of the strangeness of galloping acronyms, we can't ever dictate a consensus on this stuff - it's down to that old liberal cliche, the right of self-definition.

Yes, there is a difference between the range of labels about sex/gender identity (variations on trans, intersex and genderqueer), the range of labels we are in the habit of calling orientations, and the range of labels that relate to practice such as BDSM. The history of pulling more and more of them together in one bunch is at least partly because outsiders clung together before a lot of contemporary sexual politics existed at all (showing my granny age again! but I do believe the first transgender people I knew in the late 1960s were hopelessly mixed up with gay men and drag performers because they didn't have other places to go).

(And then there is the side issue of the specific problem with the word "queer" in Britain, where it pulls other uncomfortable meanings along behind it. It was the main 1960s term of abuse, almost specifically for gay men, roughly parallel to the American "fag", so that even though it is more common now, most people here still see it as reclaiming a term of abuse.)

I'm rambling! But I do genuinely think this stuff runs deep for people, and we will never find a piece of language that makes everyone feel like they belong. There are delicate issues between making the possibilities open enough for everyone to feel they belong, and making the politics specific enough to keep it real. And beyond that, hey, language is a subjective mess. No useful suggestions so I'll shut up now (though for the record I self-define as a lesbian asexual or queer, depending on who I'm talking to or what direction the wind is blowing).

User avatar
Carsonspire
New Member
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 6:17 pm

Re: [Blog Post Discussion] LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby Carsonspire » Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:29 pm

I agree with most of what has already been said, so I'm not going to repeat all that here.
I do want to emphasize the clear advantage that a more general title has, namely that it doesn't need to be edited every time a new sexual minority wants to join. My college's GSA, for example, was called "QuEST" and stood for "Questioning Established Sexual Taboos". The title should be all-welcoming and then the politics of labels can be discussed within the group, instead of having every single label mentioned explicitly in the acronym.

Karl
Administrator
Posts: 492
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:41 am

Re: [Blog Post Discussion] LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby Karl » Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:42 am

Another blog comment:
Ily wrote:I’d like to drop acronyms. Unless we’re using “Fabglitter”, because that’s just awesome.

Karl
Administrator
Posts: 492
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:41 am

Re: [Blog Post Discussion] LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby Karl » Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:36 am

There's a similar discussion going on at this site: CLICK

Karl
Administrator
Posts: 492
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:41 am

Re: [Blog Post Discussion] LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby Karl » Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:01 am

Also, on this blog entry about the failed ENDA bill, the author states:

When I was in college, the student group called itself the Grinnell College Gay Community; when a group of lesbian students complained that they weren’t “gay” they were “lesbian” it was changed to Grinnell Lesbian Gay Alliance. Later still, after much huffing and puffing, it was renamed the Stonewall Coalition - since noone could figure out a nice acronym including bisexuals and transgender persons. A year ago, I attended a retreat at which the organizers talked about the lgbtqqqiap community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning intersexed, asexual, genderqueer and polyamorous). In the name of inclusion, any hope of meaningful focus has been lost. Becoming simply the “queer” community is not going to happen (long story short: too many people hate the term queer more than they hate the term faggot).

Rank and file gay and lesbian folks are supportive of but just aren’t that committed to transgender issues. A coherent argument has never been made for the connection between gay and transgender issues and politics. Generally, transgender issues have simply been added (for well-intentioned reasons) but not really discussed. A case needs to be made.

clouded_perception
New Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:01 am

Re: LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby clouded_perception » Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:33 pm

I just refer to them as "queer groups", or "nonhetero sexuality groups". Unfortunately the former can be seen as derogatory by people who don't like the term "queer" and the latter doesn't include things like transgender people.

Clarity
New Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2009 8:29 am

Re: LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby Clarity » Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:10 am

My school's GSA is called "Alphabet Soup!!"--the acronym is LGBTTQQIAPPTSS, or random variants that occur when people try to repeat it from memory. The A is for asexuality, though.

I love the QuEST (Questioning Established Sexual Taboos) acronym, though. I wish my group had been so clever!

The right to gender self-determination is a sexually-related thing, because it's sexism that prevents it, that says that someone else can evaluate your biological sex and then assign you to a gender that goes along with it. Polyamory and BDSM and so on are sexually-related because they're about sexual freedom--and different relationship structures. I think everyone crammed into the coalition has some similarities with at least some of the main goals of the coalition, but it is rather disorganized.

I think I would rather talk about sexual and gender variants (and variations) than about any specific category, really.
</serial necro>

disjointed

Re: LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby disjointed » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:07 pm

This.....LGBTTQQIAPPTSS...reminds me that it's not only us dislexics who have trouble with words

User avatar
Heligan
New Member
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:23 pm

Re: LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby Heligan » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:00 am

Liking QuEST too.
"We only half live when we only half think." Voltaire (1694-1778)
‘Life has no meaning a priori … It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose.’ Jean-Paul Sartre

disjointed

Re: LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby disjointed » Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:49 am

i do think it would be easierjust to call the organisation...rainbow

Isaac
Established Member
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:44 am

Re: LGBTQQAILOLWTF?!

Postby Isaac » Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:49 am

I like QuEST too, but it only works in English. Rainbow would work in any language and be a sound name for such an organization. Indeed, I heard informally calling "the rainbow house" to the place where the queers meeted up.