And a bunch of queers

By |October 27th, 2016|Asexuality updates, Essays|1 Comment

I found a tweet while browsing through the timeline of Twitter accounts that maaple follows. It came from GLAAD, linking to an article on TIME’s website.

The article explains that GLAAD have released a new guide for media outlets to refer to people or groups whose sexual orientations, sex or gender identities are considered as marginalised or different from the norm. The article itself triumphantly proclaims in its title that ‘LGBTQ’ will replace ‘LGBT’.

The argument for this change is in itself quite interesting. The TIME article uses the reasoning that the word queer has been successfully reclaimed from being used as an insult. They further argue that queer does not have a precise meaning or connotation, which it may have done in the past, and covers a breadth of sexual orientations and gender identities.

But this line of argument brings inherent problems. First of all, queer is being presented here as a catch-all term, which everyone can identify with. But the abbreviation LGBTQ suggests that Lesbian is a different category to Queer (and likewise for Gay, Bisexual and Transgender). Thus queer is now being presented as “etc.” or “and so on” or, perhaps worse, “and the others”. It places the label queer upon those that do not identify with the other terms in the acronym. Thus if you’re asexual, you’re queer. If you’re questioning your gender or sexual orientation, you’re queer. If you’re intersex, you’re queer. You no longer have a choice: to be a part of this community, if you’re not gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you must be queer. I can only speak for myself when I say that I feel that these identities are being marginalised within a marginalised group.

Secondly, the “othering” of a large number of gender identities does nothing to bring awareness to identities that are often forgotten or ignored. It places an implicit importance upon the most common identities in the community which, for me, is deeply hypocritical. The counter argument, which I’ve heard often and is mentioned in the TIME article, is that it is impossible to have a manageable abbreviation that covers every identity. This may be true; but in that case, why is it necessary that it must have L, G, B, and T?

The following excerpt from the TIME article is particularly infuriating:

“If five letters seem onerous, it’s worth noting that it’s more economical than longer acronyms out there, like LGBTQQIA: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual (or allies). Being exhaustive is nigh impossible, as new labels are born and spread in a minute. Facebook now allows users to input more than 50 different labels for their gender, including bigender, two-spirit and agender. Sexual orientation has just as many spins.”

The way I have interpreted this paragraph is as follows:

  • Having to look beyond L, G, B and T is annoying.
  • We’d rather just save time and ignore the others.
  • What does ‘A’ stand for again?
  • Facebook can manage it, but we’re just journalists.

I have, hitherto, been using LGBT+ when describing the community. For me, a plus is more inclusive than queer, seeing as not everyone identifies as queer if they do not identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. However, I cannot in all conscience continue to use LGBT+ while saying that queer is wrong. Surely, something like MOGII is by fair better. Everyone in the community identifies as a Marginalised Orientation, Gender Identity or Intersex. So I shall use MOGII more often and I shall endeavour to see it spread!

Who the Hell Am I?

By |March 12th, 2011|Quick thoughts|0 Comments

I walk into work most days. It is pretty convenient, and I get to walk along a brook of sorts. It’s precious “good” thinking time. I have plenty of “bad” thinking time, but the fresh air, purpose and grandiose inflation of power does me an exceptional good. Lately this good thinking time has led me to ponder exactly who I am. It is a bizarre question.

My overriding conclusion is that I am a hybrid. Or I have identity crises. Or there is some sort of mental meltdown going on. I shall explain the former.

On campus, I have seen a surprising number of Northumberland flag car stickers. I have one as well, and I delight in seeing them. I am proud that I am a Northumbrian (also, a Geordie). But, whenever I am asked where I am from, I have a compulsion to mention Kent, too. Kent is a hugely historic and culturally important place, too. But no car stickers…

I approach life with Buddhist motives (but I could not claim to be a Buddhist), yet I have my moments. I revel in technology and buy luxurious things, but I am just as happy (happier, maybe?) when I remove myself from this inventory.

There are other ways in which I consider myself to be a contradiction of ideals or constructs. I desire to be “normal”, but I also revel in my uniqueness. In so many ways, I still do not really know who I am and this has irked me lately.

Somewhere Far Away

By |November 15th, 2010|Quick thoughts|0 Comments

I have a problem. It’s me.

I am a paradox. In my own mind I am a self-absorbed, self-loathing idiot capable of sheer brilliance and astounding stupidity. I am a font of knowledge, ideas and wisdom; as well as misinformation, delusion and complete bollocks.

I get on with most people but I am yet reticent to meet new people. I once regarded myself as supremely confident with a bounty of self-belief; but I am defeated by this ridiculous, irrational fear that cripples my attempts to lead a rather ordinary life.

I was once regarded as mysterious and guarded, but, seeing as you are reading this, you can see that I express myself more.

It feels like I am two people. There is the confident-me: thoughtful and considerate yet willing and able. Then there is the Internet-me: bold and exuberant but misguided and a bloody idiot.

Of course, it’s not the Internet’s fault. I can only call it an insecure manifestation of me that is slowly becoming me.

And all this because I have to make some phone calls tomorrow.