The rights of not-straight-people have come a long way in my lifetime. But so has the name of the group! This is a post about the latter.
When I was a youngman, growing up in moderately conservative Ohio, all I knew was that there were gay people. Soon after, I learned that female gay people were called “lesbians”. Awareness of bisexuals came later, and then y’know we sometimes heard of people getting sex changes. (my mom knew a transgendered girl-to-guy, my dad told jokes about a sex change being called a “Susan B. Anthony.” You have to admit, that’s kind of funny.) I became familiar with the term “GLBT” or “LGBT” even though it’s a big mouthful of letters. Q came later, I heard it being either “questioning” or “queer”, but either way, it just made the acronym worse.
Reading over a grant application for this project I’m working on, I came across the term LGBTQQIA for the first time. ("… queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual.") That is a bad acronym. And I’ve learned from one Prof. Smith at CMU to make acronyms first, ask questions later. So I did some futzing: let’s change “asexual” to “unsexual.” “asexual” sounds like a word you use to describe a single-celled organism; let’s at least give unsexual people their own word. And we don’t need two Q’s; let’s change the second one from “questioning” to “inquiring.” So now we have LGBTQIIU, or (drum roll) the new acronym to encompass all people who are not conventionally heteronormatively white-bread straight:
Bisexual, inquiring, gay, queer, unsexual, intersex, lesbian, transgendered. Ehh? Ehh? Yeah, that’s not bad! Furthermore, it totally symbolically fits: everyone’s a slightly different patch in the BIG QUILT of human sexuality. And what does a BIG QUILT do? It protects and warms the people involved. Look, it’s so perfect it’ll make your head spin.
So get out there, celebrate pride, overturn Prop 8, smooch a person of your same gender (or not), drop your crummy acronyms, and join the BIG QUILT!
Yes yes YES. I’m joining the BIG QUILT. Let’s the only thing we hate be unpronounceable acronyms.
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