Q&A: Renaming the LGBT community?

What do you think of the idea/move to rename/change the terminology of the LGBT community?

Okay, so I feel like this question needs to be answered in two parts:

  1. Renaming the LGBT community
  2. Terminology usage within said community

1.

Renaming the LGBT community suggests that there’s some sort of deficit with its current name – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans.

On the face of it, it seems to cover a great array of people but, as with anything, it can’t quite cover everybody. With this in mind you may well have seen such acronyms like LGBTQ (Q = queer or questioning) or LGBTQIA (I = intersex and A = asexual). Some people like the acronyms and the addition of more letters, some people feel like it’s getting a bit ridiculous because there’s always going be a group of people excluded which then means you’re adding more letters on a an already lengthy acronym.

To talk specifically about renaming Well, this is an interesting idea. I feel, in terms of mainstream society and media outlets etc., it probably needs to remain LGBT because we know how slow the mainstream can be to change and this would make conversations around gender and sexuality much easier. That’s not the right way to explain it – streamlined, so the audience has consistency.

In terms of an internal community renaming, well, I use the word queer to describe myself and, as such, I often refer to the LGBT community as the queer community. I feel that queer is one of the few words that has been reclaimed and used not only as a descriptor but also as a term of empowerment. Now of course this isn’t to say that people don’t use the word as a pejorative, of course people do but in my circles, which consist of a lot of activists, it is used in a positive way. Ultimately it always comes back to people identifying how they want to and with words in which they choose.

The reason why I use queer is actually for a few reasons:

  • It’s a catch-all word to refer to the entire LGBT community;
  • it dispels the idea labels and boxes – it oozes fluidity in identity and meaning;
  • synonymous with genderqueer;
  • encompasses gender and sexuality;
  • is completely antithetical to heteronormative and gender-binary society.

2.

In terms of changing the terminology of the LGBT community I immediately thought of pronouns. This of course fits into a wider discussion of inclusivity and, of course, the importance of inclusive language. Isn’t terminology and language usage fluid anyway? Cultures and, as such, language evolves overtime – right? I feel this is particularly important when talking about human rights or identity based communities.

In any case I think that this is a particularly lengthy discussion and one which has been had throughout history. Starting speeches with sisters and brothers is all when and good when talking about the familial intensity in such groups but what about our non-binary siblings?

The quote, which perfectly sums up my views on this, is by Audre Lorde. Now of course you’ll read it and think it applies to outsiders of certain communities but, given how diverse (in this discussion) that identity communities are, the LGBTQ community also applies here too.

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.

– Audre Lorde

Thanks for your question. 🙂

If you’d like to ask a question – hit me up on social media or drop me a line at 5pillarsand6colours@gmail.com.

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