We all have our own opinion about what we should be called. Some think the alphabet soup of letters is good at 4 while others want double letters and even include our friends. Some think a letter or two should be removed since they do not represent the same aspect of human sexuality as others. Which letter is first is also sometimes a debate.
Is it really worth the debate as to what letters should be in our moniker? TIME.com brought up the debate recently and feels that we should be up to at least five letters in our community's name.
It's here, it's for 'queer,' and media outlets should get used to it.
As times change, so do labels. Back in the 1970s, those advocating for sexual or gender minorities often summed up the whole spectrum as “gay and lesbian,” never mind bisexual or transgender people. The acronym LGBT didn’t come into vogue until the 1990s, but like its predecessor, people have found those four letters too reductive. And so this acronym is about to go mainstream as a party of five.
Media advocacy organization GLAAD is releasing the tenth edition of its style guide, a language bible for journalists covering these issues, which asks that all major media outlets to use LGBTQ from now on. The “q” stands for queer.
“On one level, it is just adding another letter,” says Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD’s president and CEO. “But really it is bringing a whole new definition to the way we describe ourselves. It’s the start of a bigger shift.”
“Queer” existed as a slur for a long time, an arrow slung at people to make them feel like freaks or deviants. The oldest meaning, going back to the 1500s, is strange, peculiar or questionable, and the word will still ring pejorative in many older people’s ears. Yet around the time of the AIDS crisis groups really started to reclaim it (“We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!”), and today young people are increasingly gravitating toward this label, one with no precise definition related to sexuality or gender. Which is the point.
That shift Ellis refers to is one toward thinking about sexuality and gender in a more fluid way, as parts of our identities that are more complicated than any binary choice, multifaceted things that might evolve over time or be best described by a label that hasn’t even been invented yet. “Fluidity means just what the word is, that it’s ever flowing, and you don’t have to check a box or live within constraints,” Ellis says. “There is no limit to who you can be.”
Some see the word queer as an umbrella term, encompassing any identity that isn’t straight and cisgender. Some see it as a middle finger to the very idea that two options—man or woman, gay or straight—is sufficient for the natural variety of feelings that people have. Some see it as a tool for spreading the message that being inclusive, without needing all the details, is what it’s all about. “I see it as much more encompassing,” says Jeremy Charneco-Sullivan, a teacher in Missouri who previously used the label gay but now uses queer. His feelings about attraction haven’t changed, but his political ideas have: “I’ve grown to see the community as one united force.”
The word has been on the rise for the past several years, as has the acronym. Some media outlets are already using it, as are lots of advocacy organizations and even government programs. Teen magazines from outlets like Vogue are “going queer.” Liberal politicians are using the five-letter version, as are some Republicans. (Donald Trump used “LGBTQ” during his acceptance speech at the convention this summer. Twice.) When the National Park Service embarked on a mission to identify places of significance related to sexual and gender minorities two years ago, one of the first actions scholars recommended was changing the title of that mission from an “LGBT heritage initiative” to an “LGBTQ” one, so as “to have the initiative be explicitly inclusive of those who, for personal or political reasons, do not feel represented by lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender identifiers,” as the eventual report explained.
Adding that extra letter is a simple way to signal that you realize this business is complicated and don’t want to leave anyone out, even if you’re not part of that community or you don’t really understand what this shift is all about. – TIME.com
For more on this, head over to TIME.com where they elaborate that …
If five letters seem onerous, it’s worth noting that it’s more economical than longer acronyms out there, like LGBTQQIA: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual (or allies).
We all have our opinions as to what we should be called. When we fight for rights, do we use a professional name with all the letters?
When we talk about our bars, do we use a letter or two? What should we use?
Why do we try and list off all the letter when we are supposed to be more than the sum of our parts?
Why, in the example above of LGBTQQIA, is it necessary to list two Q's but not necessary to list both A's? Asexuals and Allies can share an "A," but Queer and Questioning cannot share a "Q?"
In my previous post it seemed that Canadains use LGBTQ2. Now there are numbers? Does each nation adopt a different name?
What do you think Instincters?
One thing that I keep thinking of when this argument comes up is "The Waltons." If you're too young to remember the long running show, I'll insert a video of the show's nightly closing below. At the end of each episode, they would go through the home and say "goodnight" to each family member. It was memorable and kinda annoying at the same time. For the life of me I cannot remember everyone's name, and even the clip below, seems to be different than I remember. I remember "g'nigh John boy" and I think there's a Mary Alice or Mary Ellen or maybe even both. I think I am in favor of just saying "The Waltons." That's inclusive enough, no?
I think if we want to be considered a sum of parts, we should have a single name that reflects our unity, not an pile of letters to make sure everyone is included. I would prefer to be the Queer Community. Is queer too bad of a word? Wait, weren't lesbian and gay bad words and still are in parts of the world, being whispered in many places instead of said with confidence? We have no problem chanting "We're here we're queer, get use to it?" Maybe we should just say to ourselves "We're here, we are all queer, get over it."
So, I'll ask again, what's your thoughts Instincters?
Is it a dumb debate?
Is it now more than ever more important to show unity and inclusion?
One word or many letters? And if letters, how many?