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LGBTTIQQ2SAA – aladousious – Can’t We All Just Go Back To Being “QUEER”?

We’re here!  We’re LGBTTIQQ2SAA !  Get used to it!

Just rolls right off the tongue doesn’t it?  NOT!

Recently I spent the day with over 150 other LGBTTIQQ2SAA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirited, Asexuals and Allies) advocates, activist, bloggers, and journalist in a one day Pre-conference at Netroots Nation 12.

And I SWEAR as Tallulah Bankhead is my witness, that in those 8 hours I had more acronymns thrown at me then there are in the science of Chemistry (Thats 128 pages worth to be exact)

And LGBTTIQQ2SAA are not all of them yet by any means.  They are just the beginning in this bizarre collection of Scrabble tiles. Expect CG for cis-gender and P for polyamorous to be added soon because they are on the short list.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Look I understand that everyone wants to self identify.  Seriously self identification is great!  It really is.  Its a beautiful thing to know who you are and be proud of it.  But it is to “self” which sometimes turns into “selfish”

Over the years our constant need for self identification has had a major downside.  That of splintering our community up and  putting every different group into neat little boxes.  And this in turn has made everyone very myopic and then they tend to focus ONLY on the  groups personal issues because to them they are the most important and the only issues.  So in the end all lose track of the greater goal which is FULL EQUALITY for everyone.

As I sat at the Netroot’s Nation Pre-Con I heard so many people from so many groups talk about issues that were so near and dear to them.  But NOT ONCE did I hear anyone speak about our goal of how to get Full Equality for all by by everyone working together.

So I say that its time that we reclaim our history and heritage and take back the term QUEER.  Thats right QUEER.  And  once again use it as an umbrella term instead of hiding it in the middle of a 12 letter acronym like its something to be ashamed of it. .

(I can almost hear the gasping and clutching of pearls as I type this.)

Now I’m not saying that anyone should lose their personal self-identity by any means. But remember personal is what it .

Now QUEER on the other hand is what we are.  We are different.  Like it or not.  And different doesn’t make us any less than anyone else.  Just different.   And we should be proud of that fact and take back the word QUEER that was only taken away from us from to be turned into an anti-gay epithet two decades ago.

To reclaim QUEER now is to neutralize its use as hate speech and render it ineffective and reclaim our heritage when people were proud to be QUEER.   And it will also break down the boundaries that have been built within our own community that have been separating us for over the past 30 years also.

The best thing about the “queer” is that it simultaneously builds up and tears down boundaries of identity.  The non-specificity of the term is liberating. (And easy to say)  And using the umbrella term QUEER becomes a way to  make a political move against heteronormativity while including everyone and it also refuses to engage in the traditional identity politics which splinters and separates everyone.

SO BE QUEER!  BE PROUD TO BE QUEER! 

Stand side by side and embrace your brothers and sisters once again instead of sitting inside  neatly lettered identity boxes thinking that your groups equality problems are the only equality problems and more important than anyone else’s.  Because they are not.  They are equally important.

And that’s whats this is about after all.  Equality.

Only when these lettered walls fall will be able to work together and only at that time will we be able to get what we have been fighting for so long and so hard.

C’mon everyone in unison!

“I’m here!  I’m QUEER! Get used to it!”

Now that wasn’t so hard was it?

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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5 thoughts on “LGBTTIQQ2SAA – aladousious – Can’t We All Just Go Back To Being “QUEER”?”

  1. I LOVE this article and you made some very valid points Will. And I vehemently agree with your ideology and this is a perfect reflection of the biggest problem in our community which is division. Having one word unite us in our fight for equality would foster more growth in productivity on our part.

  2. I whole-heartedly agree with your sentiments, Will. I’ve been thinking for a long time about how ridiculous these different acronyms are – I have non-LGBT friends asking me what they all mean and I can’t answer them half of the time. However, I just cannot bring myself to use the word ‘queer’ to describe myself and my friends. If you look at these definitions, I can’t say I want any of them to refer to me, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/queer. Sure, you’re right, we ARE different. But for a long long time, all connotations of the word ‘queer’ (relating to homosexuality or not) have been negative. I would love to see an umbrella term for the LGBT community (because you’re right, we should all be working together for equality for all), but I just don’t believe that trying to “reclaim” a word with such negative connotations is the right way to go.

  3. Will – amen sistah – you know, I’ve written elsewhere tongue in cheek about the whole GLBTQPIA…stuff…and durn, there was no two spirit on my list…

    I’m queer, queer as a goose!

    Mary X. Goose

  4. Have to agree with what Peter said – the word Queer already has a negative connotation, and may serve as an identifier for what “normal” people should be prejudiced against rather than help the community.

    But I definitely get the sentiment. A number of friends and I have been chocked full of alphabet soup since we can remember, and no matter how many letters are added they’ll never *all* be used and include *everyone*. You could fill a dictionary with what the acronyms are meant to stand for.

    This is why we made up our own alternative, GLOS (gender, lifestyle, orientation, sexuality). Short, sweet, and to the point, and even better it’s almost impossible to leave anybody out. It even distinguishes sexuality from other orientations (such as aesthetic or romantic), which is rarely seen.

  5. i know I’m a day late and a dollar short on this discussion, but my husband (a Moby Dick big ol’ Straight White Male of a guy) texted me today, “when did Q get added to LGBT?”

    This is a man who has been to over 20 years of Pride celebrations, Who has spoken up and out for (acronym) rights since he was in high school. And so I wanted to find the latest “complete” acronym to let him know what he was missing, and I stumbled across this rant. Spot on, darling.

    When we all come together, as varied and colorful and full of pain and joy as the AIDS quilt, we should have a united front, an umbrella that we can raise. I remember when Lesbians had to fight to be recognized by the Gay community, and was part of the fight for Bis to be recognized as a real thing by both of those communities (and dispel all the negative stereotypes within the communities). So, yeah, I get why people want their acceptance to be hi-lighted, that validation that the letter gives to be able to say “yes, i DO exist, I’m NOT just trying to “get attention”, I don’t have to hide any more”.

    But yet…it’s getting out of hand.

    I sort of look at it like “ethnic” festivals in New York.

    There are umbrella group festivals – Hispanic Day Parade, Caribbean Cultural Heritage Festival – that include many different subgroups, and each of those subgroups have their own festivals – Cuban day, Columbian Independence Day, Dominican Day, Puerto Rican Day, etc. The umbrella groups don’t need to individually list every member country/ethnic group; it is tacitly agreed that all those subgroups are part of the whole, and together they are what make it whole.

    So it should be with our very varied community. Celebrating everyone together, and allowing each little segment to celebrate itself. But when we come together, we should unite under one single gigantic umbrella, sewn solid, rather than a ragtag patchwork tarp. We are stronger united; we can accomplish more united; we can stand up for each other united.

    We ARE here. We are the Mighty Queer. We’ve just gotta get used to it.

What do you think?

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