LGBTQIA+: inclusiveness or alphabet soup?

Conservative Old People : “I’m totally against all of these things that would directly benefit me! How dare this little upstart brown girl try to ruin America with her evil agenda!”

As an aside though, while I am completely 100% for equal human rights for everyone, “LGBTQIA+”? Really? Is the “+” even necessary at that point? When do we run out of letters to identify folks and just start assigning them symbols like they’re Prince or something?

Yeah, the acronym is getting kind of stupid at this point.

That’s what the + is!

Yes.

It’s basically a sentence, which kind of defeats the purpose.

Also the Q was supposed to be like “and everybody” anyway, but they keep adding.

Visibility matters, and people are feeling out all the possibilities of gender and sexuality as the old barriers fall away and people are welcomed to explore and acknowledge their own truths. Part of pulling down the barriers involves the normalization of what was once kept secret or outright attacked. It’s the cultural awareness that comes from being part of the in-group and being seen and recognized and appreciated for what you are. It’s not being made to feel left out and forgotten and shunned.

I know we’ve got a lot of folks who are still adapting to the plethora of identities that are coming to the fore now, but honestly, a couple of extra letters at the end of a recognizable and widely used acronym is a pretty easy hump to get over that helps, even in a small way, those folks who’ve been kept out of the light for so long.

For instance, @Timex, you talk about the awakening you had regarding black people and cops over the last few years as irrefutable public evidence mounted of the seriousness of the problem they had been describing for decades. But well, they had been talking about it for ages before then. It never wasn’t true; just the life you lead shielded you from the worst excesses of the police and blinded you to the plight of their victims. When you glimpsed behind the curtain, you discarded the prior notions and accepted their truth.

I don’t mean to suggest that asexuals face an identical form of systematic discrimination to African Americans; they’re not being routinely beaten up and framed for crimes after unnecessary traffic stops, and their identity is certainly much less visible to the naked eye than, well, darker skin.

But the various gender/sexual identity groups certainly are discriminated against, and have been for a very long time. From marriage rights to invasive shock therapies to familial abandonment to astoundingly high suicide and self-harm rates, they face real challenges everyday that can turn their own identity to poison within them, as society’s misunderstanding and ignorance (at best) or outright hatred and rejection (at worst) slowly filters in and makes them doubt and hate themselves.

They’ve been talking about this discrimination for decades, just the same. The most visible voices were the largest and most well-defined identity groups–gay men and lesbians for a very long time, bisexuals to a lesser degree, and trans individuals more recently. Those groups have developed larger-scale support structures, gained public acknowledgment (and, at times, acceptance), communities, etc. For a long time, folks with less-common or less-understood identities walked under that banner for ease and simplicity, because it was far safer there than on their own, but it was not their own.

They’re stepping out into the light more now, grappling with their own issues and facing their own battles. The LGBT community is often supportive, but can have just as much ignorance and misunderstanding as anyone else (just ask a bisexual how often gays and lesbians deny their truth compared to straight men and women).

Accepting them and welcoming them doesn’t really require anything difficult on your part, and it’s an excellent first step in helping them overcome the challenges in their world. They life a different life than you do, and one you may not be especially familiar with, but that doesn’t invalidate it or make it lesser; just new, to you. But you’ve adapted your worldview to incorporate the truths of other identities before, and you can do so again.

It’s a few extra letters to remember. And alone, they’re not going to eliminate discrimination and hatred. But it’s a step, and symbolism matters in these fights.

I totally understand where you’re coming from and appreciate the excellent analysis, and you’re right, a few extra letters isn’t a big deal. On the other hand, I believe the communities in question would far prefer my acceptance, which I freely give, than my strict adherence to whatever their current acronym of choice may be.

Through both my personal and professional lives I’ve met many people who lead alternative lifestyles, and if they’re generally good people (and I’ve yet to meet anyone in that respect who truly wasn’t), then I welcome, accept and support them. I don’t even care about the details, as to me they’re not defined by being gay, lesbian, trans or asexual, they’re defined as Ben, Alyssa, Deena, Mike, etc… I would hope that, in the end, that’s exactly what they would want.

Sure, but on some level, it’s just a bunch of bullshit.

I mean, ok, being Gay is a thing. Being transgender is a thing. Being a word that you just made up to describe yourself isn’t a thing. It’s like when Prince turned his name into a weird fucking symbol.

At some point, you just have your head up your own ass, and you’re living in a world of bullshit. It’s the kind of thing that only ridiculously privileged folks could ever possibly do. It’s the embodiment of first world problems, to lament that you can’t just create a new word to describe your gender.

But that reduces to the question: who gets to define which categories should exist?

That’s not quite to the level of saying “But I don’t see color/gender,” but I think it may shade near that direction. And hell, for some folks, it might genuinely be all they want.

But for a lot of oppressed groups, the identity that earns them that oppression becomes a key and intrinsic part of their self-identity, and overcoming the discrimination against that identity in society at large makes them feel less discriminated against as a person individually.

Trust me, I know plenty of the “I’m a guy who happens to be gay, but I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it” crowd, but curiously, none of them seem to live here in NC–I met those folks way more often up in Boston. If you live in a world where some immutable part of yourself is ammunition for hatred directed at you, it’s pretty tough not to become real entwined with that part of yourself as you navigate the treacherous world around you.

So, no, it’s not a matter of being defined entirely as, say, asexual or transsexual. But it is a matter of accepting that for some people, that is a core component of who they are, at least as important as “Catholic” or “black” or “semi-professional, lifelong dancer.” And in the same way that you might remember not to take the Lord’s name in vein in front of your Catholic friends, or try to avoid screaming “ALL LIVES MATTER!!!” at your black friends, or at least try to remember the name of the major international tournament your dancer friend ia competing in this weekend, because those things matter to those people and because those acts reflect your respect of them and their identities and selves, remembering and respecting the sexual identities of the people you know is also a net positive for the world, especially if they express that it’s important to them that you do.

And, to society at large, 30 and 80 years ago, they weren’t things. To the people living those identities at those times, and their small collection of allies, of course, they were, but the world at large shunned and denied their truth, and belittled them for it, forcing them into hiding, lest they suffer more direct forms of harm and discrimination.

We learned better and became better. We can continue doing so.

Most of these categories exist as actual concrete things. Genders are a thing that exists, biologically. Sexual preference is a thing that exists. And if you want to identify as a different gender than your genes, that’s cool too.

But defining yourself as a word that literally did not exist until YOU made it up? It just doesn’t mean anything. It’s a use of language which is nonsensical, in that it doesn’t convey any meaning.

Like, if you ask me my gender and I say, “I’m sedkjkjnfkse!” that means nothing. It’s not a word in the generally understood vocabulary of society. For all intents and purposes, it’s just “N/A”.

Well, no. Because being gay is a thing which has always existed. It might not have been socially acceptable, but it still existed.

I suspect you are missing my point.

Perhaps, but I think I’m just questioning the underlying validity of what I see as an abuse of language.

Making up your own unique classification is inherently meaningless.

On some level… it doesn’t fucking matter.

Do you know how long it took me to remember the LGBT part? There is no way I will remember all that.

And yet I suspect if you say down with your favorite rts from fifteen years ago you’d recall the keyboard shortcuts in five minutes flat. I have faith in your memory, old man!

Truth is I can never remember those either. I play most games in hard mode by default because I don’t bother trying to learn half the stuff my character can supposedly do.

I think that’s fundamentally it. I saw that acronym yesterday, and I have no idea what half of the additional letters meant.

I don’t really care either. As long as it’s between one, two, or whatever consenting adults? Be you. I won’t remember the acronym, and it certainly is quite unwieldy to have a string of ten unpronounceable characters. So perhaps instead of appending more letters, create another all encompassing term? One people can say and remember?

But I get Armando’s point, and it’s got merit. I know why people would want their specific identity recognized. But Timex isn’t wrong about some of the new ‘nonsense’ words. Xir or Xie being ones people use. Why? I get why people would be reluctant to use new words, manufactured whole cloth, like that. And when we’ve got people pushing back against the idea of non heterosexual marriages being validated by the state, it seems to be a bit of rearranging deck chairs on the Titantic. It seems like it might be more counterproductive than helpful.

They’re not wrong to want their identities out there, but in the abstract ‘Internet communications’ I don’t know it matters to remember them all. @SlainteMhath is right, it’s better to treat them well than to remember an unwieldy acronym. And if you knew one such person in real life? It’s probably a lot easier to remember that identities name. Otherwise LGBTQ is fine. And if someone gets upset that I don’t write whatever other letters? That seems a them problem.

Understood. But what you’re driving at shades toward “I want to be treated the same way as everyone else, while also still being acknowledged as special.” That’s not really how equality works.

Granted, we have a LONG way to go yet until we reach real equality even here in America. I’m one of those Star Trek dreamers who longs for the day when people of all races, religions and orientations can work together to achieve truly remarkable things and reach far beyond our planet. I’ll probably never live to see that happen, but then again, the past 40 years have seen some pretty big strides in acceptance and equality, even if the past 18 months seem to be a step backwards. All I can do is work to keep improving things in any small way I can, and welcome and accept with open arms anyone else who shares the same goals, regardless of what acronym they choose to represent themselves.

I think on some level it just strikes me as the kind of bullshit that my friends talked about in college when we were stoned. It’s just kind of bullshit.

And really, the folks who I see pushing this kind of crap always seem to be rich white kids, looking for some way to rebel. There are more important things to be worrying about.

I’m not saying that you can totally do whatever you want to do sexually. I’m absolutely cool with that. But demanding that other people recognize your nonsense words that you invented? I just don’t have time with that. It’s just a game you’re playing in your head. It doesn’t mean anything.

Other people have ACTUAL problems that we should be worried about.

I think if their biggest problem is that people like me and others here can’t remember what to call them then they are doing pretty good.