The Alphabet soup of Identity
How did we go from Gay to LGBT to LGBTQIAP to LGGBDTTTIQQAAPP etc? Who or what constitutes inclusion? There was much soul-searching and sometimes acrimonious debate on whether to add Bi and Trans. Moreso, when Intersex, Asexual, or Kink (BDSM) are considered.
Would Queer suffice as an all-inclusive umbrella without upsetting too many of the generation that experienced “queer-bashing”?
Certainly, one defining characteristic is being ‘other’ and minority (though among young Gen Z’ers as a whole they are almost a majority). Anyone but CisHetBin – cisgender heterosexual and binary, may still exclude some.
“One thing, however, seems certain. LGBTQQI will continue to be added to until the only person not represented in the list will be a straight, monogamous man.” – Julie Bindel
Does everyone/anyone even want to be included?
Some LGBs don’t want Trans included. Some Trans people who identify as straight don’t see why they are included.
In the UK during 2018-19 calls from a minority of Lesbians to “Get the L Out” came in response to disagreements over Trans inclusion and conflation of sex and gender identity.
There are people with intersex characteristics who are content with designated birth sex (even if many are not content with sex-conforming birth surgeries) and define as straight, so why would they want to be added? That said, near half the Intersex people I know define as non-binary but are still reticent to see themselves included on an LGBTI spectrum for fear of confusion and conflation with Trans issues. However, many European LGBT+ rights and policy groups have gone LGBTI. Yet, has anyone asked Intersex people if they want including? Stonewall UK did, and half those invited wanted in, the other half, out – so stalemate and Stonewall evolved to be LGBT but not LGBTI – even that caused trouble for some.
Is it all “Queer careerism” and “identity potlucking”?
“identarian potlucking that the literary upper class adores. Queer careerism. Disgraceful hypocrites.” – Aoife Assumpta Hart, PhD
Two Hundred Identities
There are some 100-200 identities (even more on Tumblr) now used to describe sex, gender, sexuality, and romantic attraction – or their lack thereof. Many of these overlap and there are 40+ acronyms attempting to summarise them.
- LGBT – These 4 letters do not cover all the sexes, genders or sexualities
- Variant and inconsistent additions: LGBTI, LGBTQ, LGBTQIA, LGBTIQAP, LGBTQIA2S, LGBTQQICAPF2K, LGGBDTTTIQQAAPP etc
- Acronyms: FABGLITTER, QUILTBAG, GIBLETS
- Alternatives to LGBT: MSG, GSD, GSM, SGD, GSRD, GSRM, MOGAI, MOGI, MOGII
Some of the alternative trialled have been GSM (Gender and Sexual Minorities), GSRM (Gender, Sexual, and Romantic Minorities), GSD (Gender and Sexual Diversity), and GSRD (Gender, Sexual and Romantic Diversity), and MOGAI (Minority/Marginalized Orientations, Gender Alignments and Intersex), MOGII (Marginalized Orientations, Gender Identities, and Intersex), or MOGI (Marginalized Orientations Genders and Intersex).
In the end, LGBT has stuck, though for a while, and particularly in the USA, GLBT was prominent whilst LGBT or LGBTQ with or without + are now considered more internationally universal.
“We do seem to expend so much energy over this naming business. There’s only one sure way of ending the alphabet soup nonsense, It’s LGBTQQINQBHTHOWTB – LGBTQQ Not Queer But Happy To Help Out When They’re Busy” – Paul Burston
“Or it could be shortened to GLW (Gay, Lesbian or Whatever)”
The dilemma of those wanting to keep it short is their disregard of anyone but gay or lesbian and the historical who came first privilege.
One of the longest seen is the safe space advertised at Wesleyan Uni:
“a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderfuck, Polyamourous, Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism (LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM) communities and for people of sexually or gender dissident communities. The goals of Open House include generating interest in a celebration of queer life from the social to the political to the academic. Open House works to create a Wesleyan community that appreciates the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality.” – Wesleyan Uni, Connecticut, USA
Competing for length are LGBTQQFAGIPBDSM, GLBTQQFAGBDSM and LGBTQQTAGIPDSM.
Someone, somewhere, will dispute the inclusion or omission of every/any letter.