zoot

I'm addicted to superhero movies, donuts, craft beer, playing in the woods, and reading YA fiction. I'm a writer by day and a dreamer by night.

LGBTQIA+

Recently I’ve been seeing the “LGBTQIA” acronym being more common and I kinda ignored it because I felt like adding the “Q” for “Queer” kinda covered the bases as it’s considered a unifying “umbrella” term that covers all sexualities and genders. But then I read this thread and I realized that maybe using the word “Queer” by itself covers everything, but refusing to add anymore letters after LGBTQ kinda implies that the rest are unimportant and don’t need their own recognition. Here is the text from the thread if you do not have Twitter (typos are the writer’s because Twitter doesn’t have an “edit” function):

Source: Delaney King on Twitter

The ‘I’ in LGBTIQA stands for intersex. We are really common- hi, hello! Precise stats are difficult because definitions are completely arbitrary. But around 1% of the population is a commonly kicked around figure. As common as redheads

2) There is a LOT of misunderstanding about what intersex is. It literally means ‘between sex’- someone who falls between the arbitrary definition of male and female. Notice that word ‘arbitrary’.

3) intersex people can identify as male, female, neither, both or somewhere inbetween. The part of the brain that tells you what you are is the ‘gender identity’ you probably hear a lot of. It is that innate sense of who you are.

4) intersex people can have a range of chromosome types. Xy, xx, xxy, xxxxxxxx, xo and so forth, however it isn’t always chromosomes that make you intersex. You may appear female, with a vagina and have XY chromosomes & internal testes ( as with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome)

5) others of us develop traits later in life- for example, congenital adrenal hyperplasia occurs when your body doesn’t produce an enzyme. There are many variations in what it means to be intersex.

6) some of us, as in my case, had rhe chain reaction in our development affected when our hormones where disrupted by external influences such as medicines and pesticides.

8) most arguements of transgender critics simply fall apart when you factor in intersex people.
Gender roles fall apart. Exclusion based on sex falls apart. It is impossible to oppress women if you cannot define woman as a state.

Source: Delaney King on Twitter

Delaney goes on for MUCH MORE, if you have time to read the whole thread, do. She answers a lot of questions and includes a link to this documentary on gender. I haven’t watched the documentary yet, but I hope to.

Anyway, I have been reading up on this topic the last day or two and in doing research I also found this gem:

The word queer is inclusive for all members of the LGBT community. As the LGBT community grows to recognize all genders and sexualities, a word to reflect the community’s diverse membership is desperately needed. The most inclusive acronym currently in use is LGBTQQIAAP (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Allies, and Pansexual), but that still leaves out many genders and sexualities (and is ridiculously long). Source

So. Even though “LGBTQIA” seems to be becoming more popular in professional writing circuits, maybe it’s not the most inclusive? So maybe the solution is the word “queer” which is what the source article linked in that previous quote is about. In terms of useful language, I actually love the word “queer,” but I grew up in a time when it was used as a slur and I live in the South where sometimes it is STILL used as a slur. So it doesn’t always make my ears happy, if that makes any sense.

Also, I think using an umbrella term for individuals who have claimed a specific identity, is not their preference. If someone refers to themselves as queer, that of course is great. The queer community loved that Janelle Monae referred to herself as a “queer black woman” in Rolling Stone recently. But sometimes you want to be very clear where on the spectrum you fall, so I’m not sure if “queer” is perfect for ALL occasions you might be writing about.

My favorite piece on this subject I have found so far is from Philadelphia (Philly.com) where they interviewed leaders in the community and it’s perfect because they all have different answers. HA! Exactly what you love to find when you’re doing research: Source material with no answer to the question you are researching!

However, in that article it introduced “LGBTQIA+” with this explanation:

LGBTQIA+

Temple offers a student guide to LGBTQIA life, an acronym that’s been used since it was published several years ago. The university also uses a plus sign to represent other identities, such as pansexual. “We want to try to be as inclusive as possible.”

— Nu’Rodney Prad, Temple University’s director of student engagement

So, I think, I’ll replace my use of “LGBTQ” with “LGBTQIA+” unless I’m in moments where “Queer” seems to be a safe bet. I like the reclamation of the word “queer” and I also LOVE that it breaks down the gender/sexuality binary all together. BUT! Identity is a real thing and I don’t want to use an umbrella term all the time since many people in the LGBTQIA+ community clearly define their position somewhere on the gender/sexuality spectrum. I’ll do my best to just make a good judgement call with every use but I AM ALWAYS OPEN FOR LEARNING MORE so feel free to add your input. ALSO: Here is a great glossary resource from UC Davis that I found in the process if you need one!

I’m just a cisgender girl in a heterosexual relationship standing before you trying to be as inclusive and clear as possible in her language choices.

2 comments on “LGBTQIA+

  1. I am curious as to why pansexual has not been added A young man I know identifies as pansexual- “I wan’t to love who I love” (he is not old enough to be in a sexual relationship with anyone). It would seem to me that would be a fairly common identity. He doesn’t identify as Bisexual, because he may fall in love with a trans person. . I also like the questioning designation as that is a step that many young people pas through when they realize that they are attracted to the same sex, or to both sexes and that they are just wired differently.

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