Monday, June 21, 2010

Leave No-one Behind

We often refer to our diverse community of sexual minorities as "GLBT", including main groupings such as Gay, Lesbian (also gay), Bisexual and Transgender. Sometimes, when we feel generous we add on the I for Intersex. Perhaps when we run into groups that confuse us, or defy classification into the other main groups, we tack on the "Q" for Queer or Questioning - although I have to wonder who it is that is doing the actual questioning? Us? Or the folks on the outside of the community? I often wonder Why is it that we as a community are struggling so much with our own diversity?

A little while ago I saw the following:

LGBTTIQQ2SA That's right, Someone was using this unwieldy acronym to refer to the broader "Gay" community. In case you need a translation (as I did), "LGBTTIQQ2SA" refers to "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirited and Allies."

Hahaha. Wow.

I'll bet they think they got everyone in there, don't they? Where's the 'A' for Asexual and the 'P' for Pansexual? I'm offended. LOL.

Imagine typing or saying "LGBTTIQQ2SAAP" (then tack on the bits they forgot) every other sentence! Imagine trying to include all that in a speech without people losing interest or falling asleep while you try to get it right every time. This effort, while terrifically noble in its intent to include everyone, is simply over-complication - which like every over-complication, goes against Thomas Alva Edison's slogan, which was "simplify, simplify, simplify". And Thomas was a very bright man, famous for his light-bulb moments, which gave us, among other things - well, the light-bulb.

See why "Pink Community" works better?

When you say "Pink Community", you automatically include everyone who is gender or sexually diverse or non-cisgender normative - anyone who does not fit in with the two-dimensional view that define people's sexuality and gender into little square boxes with no room for flexibility or variation.

Yes we are all different, and we may feel that because we're different we don't have the same needs and shouldn't really be part of the same community. And we'd be wrong. Why? Because we all need to be respected. We all have the need to be accepted. We all need to live our lives unhindered by prejudice, unbound by hatred, unfettered by persecution.

I'm not saying that if you're gay, you should just fight for gay rights, or if you're trans, then don't support lesbian rights... I'm saying the opposite. I'm saying we should all be fighting for the global rights of our whole community. No reason that you as a gay man cannot fight for the rights of intersex people while fighting for your own. No reason why I as a transsexual woman cannot fight for your rights as a gay person while I take up the issues affecting me or my kind.

How many gay people might also be bisexual? Or transgender? How many trans people are also gay or bi? Is separating us into little camps not defeating the object? Those who hate us don't care which letter in any acronym we identify with - they hate us for simply existing and for identifying with ANY of those letters - and they don't see any distinctions - they call us all by the same name. It's funny how we, the open-minded and tolerant, struggle to see ourselves as those who hate us do - as one group.

Yes, we all have our own identities and our own issues, our own need to be accepted for who we are - to be recognized. But we need to stand together as a community, back-to-back, keeping the wolves at bay. We need to stand together, and speak together out of the same mouth, with one voice. And we should be saying things like: "An injury to one is an injury to all" - and "Leave no-one behind."

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