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!
Pete - Jul 5, 2010
Yes yes YES. I’m joining the BIG QUILT. Let’s the only thing we hate be unpronounceable acronyms.
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