Inclusivity is a privilege earned, not an entitlement appropriated. In recent years, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community has been experiencing a new blend of colors of the rainbow. While it is important to embrace all identities, we need to be careful how far we push the envelope. LGBT acceptance has been a life-long struggle. After decades of relentless advocacy and awareness, the LGBT community finally has gained world-wide acknowledgment as a legitimate entity.
As time went by, just when we thought we were clear on what LGBT stood for, additional identities began to emerge. The Queer. The Questioning. The Ally. The Intersex. Soon enough some of us found it strange to see the LGBT community turn into the LGBTQQAI community. The result: confusion. The peril: chaos. The price: nobody knows. So who said it was okay to add new letters? I suppose no one has control of such.
Adding letters is not as simple as adding friends on Facebook, which we can delete or block at the click of a button. Before contemplating adding members to the family, we need to understand and respect our own to before anything else. When one comes out, we automatically indoctrinated to the LGBT community, without even being asked if we choose to join. The coming out process does not come with a guide on how to navigate the spectrum or to understand the diversity within.
Lumping is an issue that merits our attention. To assume all LGBT individuals belong in the same continuum is to assume that cohesiveness must exist. One must ask the question of what exactly — and for that matter — to what extent and how much, we have in common across the LGBT spectrum. One can see some parallels in growing up gay and lesbian, as we have similar attractions to the same sex and face common struggles of marriage equality and adoption rights.
Beyond that, we have much to explore and learn about the B and the T. Only in the last five years or so have we really shown interest in getting to know the immense diversity within the transgender community. One could almost postulate that an LGBT community exists under the T umbrella.
When it comes to the B, one cannot help but sigh and take a deep breath. The B is completely stigmatized, misunderstood and ignored. We all have heard the comments that bisexual individuals are confused, promiscuous, gay-in-training, and so forth. All these comments need to stop. If the argument is made that a person is born gay or the wrong biological sex/gender, then why can’t we fathom that bisexuals are born that way too? We need to check our own bigotry at the door.
Now, if it were only a matter of letters and common threads…
As we enter a new decade, a new generation is redefining what it means to be LGBT. In the not so distant past it was easy to differentiate between the butch and the effeminate, the top and the bottom, the male and the female, the gay and the lesbian, and so forth. Nowadays there are terms that are the exception to every rule. The non-gender conforming. The gender-queer. The poly-amorous pansexual. The gender-gifted. The same-gender loving. What does it all mean: one can only guess, much less assume. In the end, combining them all, we would definitely end up with an eclectic LGBTQQAINGCGQPAPGGSGL potpourri that one would not be able to explain.
With these emerging LGBT identities, do we now see a rainbow of terracotta instead of a red and an orange? How about a teal or a magenta? In efforts to continue to educate society about the diversity, fluidity and intersectionality within the LGBT community, where do we begin? And more importantly, where do we go from here? At this time, we need to take two steps back to be able to see the mosaic, the woven tapestry we call life.
So next time anyone feels that the LGBTQQAINGCGQPAPGGSGL equation is not inclusive of their gender identity or sexual orientation, let’s be cognizant of how the Ls, the Gs, the Bs, and the Ts might be impacted.
Again, welcome to LGBT Crossroads, a new column of Adelante. Together we will walk the path toward a healthier and better understood LGBT Community. Please forward your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
legacy is a project to strengthen the lives of LGBT individuals. We are just a month away from unveiling and launching this highly-anticipated endeavor. To find out about how you can get involved, please feel free to contact Joseph García at email@example.com or visit the new page on Facebook: Joseph Legacy to request the Spanish version of this article.
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By Joseph García