Recently while surfing websites, I encountered, what I initially thought was a typo, but I soon discovered I was incorrect. Being an OUT gay male since, well, let’s just say, a very long time, I’ve been called a “sissy”, “fag”, “queer”, “homo” along with a long string of other derogatory and degrading names. Being a member (in-good-standing) of the gay community, what exactly do I call myself? Well, the initials GLBT came into play, an initialism for: Gay Lesbian Bi-sexual Transgender. So, for a number of years I was content being a GLBT person. Then, along came the addition of the letter “Q”. WTF?
Okay, so the gay community is embracing those individuals who consider themselves as either “Queer” or “Questioning”. That makes perfect sense, after all, the gay community is an all inclusive community of those who do not fit the traditional heterosexual profile. But when I encountered LGBTQ, I was more than a bit confused, was this a typo or had my community changed it’s initials? Had I missed the memo? I checked my junk email and found nothing there. Maybe my email address needed to be updated so I wouldn’t miss getting important gay community memos. I am sure my GAY CARD has not expired.
My quest began, to discover what is LGBT? Beginning in Google Search, I was bombarded with an entire page of links relating to LGBT. WOW! Studying each link, I found Wikipedia had the best explanation for the foreign letters in question:
LGBT (or GLBT) is an initialism used since the 1990′s as a self-designation by what was formerly known as the “gay community”. It refers collectively to “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” people. In use since the 1990′s, the term “LGBT” is an adaptation of the initialism “LGB”, which itself started replacing the phrase “gay community” beginning in the mid-to-late 1980′s, which many within the community in question felt did not accurately represent all those to whom it referred.
The term LGBT is intended to emphasize a diversity of “sexuality and gender identity-based cultures” and is sometimes used to refer to anyone who is non-heterosexual instead of exclusively to people who are homosexual, bisexual, or transgender. To recognize this inclusion, a popular variant adds the letter Q for those who identify as queer and questioning their sexual identity (e.g., “LGBTQ” or “GLBTQ”, recorded since 1996). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT
From now on, I promise to be more diligent in monitoring my email, I don’t wish to miss those important memos. Note to the Gay Community Board of Directors: Please tag future email correspondence as IMPORTANT, so to get my attention and I will not be left in the dark. Thank you.