Hey where’s the P?
[O.K., LGBTQIAAP is the "alphabet soup" acronym for: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, transgender/transsexual, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and p is for Poly]
Yes of course we are a diverse community and there seems to always be someone left out. How do we correct this situation? I do not yet have an answer. I am trying to ignite a community-based conversation. Our best thinkers should engage this idea in a real and meaningful way.
Many, it seems, have already started using the term “Sexual & Gender Minority” to describe our alphabet soup of collective sub-communities. Yes we might be a minority if we agree that there will always be more “straights” and that we will never outnumber them. This is, however, a stereotypical attempt to simplify who human beings really are. And yes sex is the common denominator except when we are talking about those who are a part of our community based on their gender identity/expression. So my first thought is that this term represents a narrowed-vision renaming, and is another attempt by those with privilege (inside our community) are once again trying to speak up for the ALL of us within our community. Has anyone thought about this? I suspect we just borrowed this term from a government agency whose goal was to neatly categorize some statistics.
My personal problem with the word sexual is that our opponents, in what seems to be our endless effort, to gain civil rights have perpetually focused on our orientation (yes, I purposely left out ‘sexual’) to behaviorize who we are. I see this unfocussed effort as another “oops” like the one where we originally used the term “sexual preference”. Our opponents’ effort was and continues to be an attempt to otherize us so that we can be separated from the larger community. “Sexual Minority” will enshrine this otherization in world culture. I encourage us not to do this.
My point here is that we are all human beings with a sexual orientation. We are ALL sexual the degree to which works on a spectrum from non-existent to obsessed. We have even incuded people who do not participate in sexual activity: Asexual. Accepting the spectrum idea ends the classification of being other something other than normal. These categories are artificial constructs.
We are working in Identity Politics you say. Yes we are. So, we need to separate ourselves you say. Can we, is it possible and worth it to come together as a “community” (also an artificial construct) in a way that does not cave in to using “their” categorical description of us. If I were ranting here I would pound my fist and yell “absolutely not!” But I truly want to engage thoughtful conversation on this issue.
There will be a separatist opinion on this I am sure. I’ll wait for their perspective. I feel more closely aligned with the assimilationists among us. I do, however, also recognize that some of us will want to celebrate the attention that the use of “Sexual Minority” will bring to the conversation. Free Love has been around for a long time and it will continue to be a part of our culture.
My other objection is to the word: Minority. I feel like this too is a way of separating us into a polarized community. The world is far more complicated than two categorical choices. The word minority has developed negative baggage and maybe it’s time come up with a creative and use of a old thought here. Many people in our community have historically influenced the global culture, and I believe we have a progressive opportunity here to set the stage and squelch this pejorative descriptor which I find personally insulting. It works to minimize us as people. Are we working for full inclusion into the global culture as valued human beings or do we want to continue the use of this self-deprecating adjective?