Main | Friday, January 11, 2013


The New York Times yesterday noted our movement's growing alphabet soup of abbreviations, which some say is necessary because of the young people that just "don't identify along the LGBT spectrum." After telling the stories of several gender non-conforming college students, the piece concludes:
If history is any guide, the age gap won’t be so easy to overcome. As liberated gay men in the 1970s once baffled their pre-Stonewall forebears, the new gender outlaws, to borrow a phrase from the transgender writer Kate Bornstein, may soon be running ideological circles around their elders. Still, the alphabet soup of L.G.B.T.Q.I.A. may be difficult to sustain. “In the next 10 or 20 years, the various categories heaped under the umbrella of L.G.B.T. will become quite quotidian,” Professor Halberstam said.

Even at the open mike, as students picked at potato chips and pineapple slices, the bounds of identity politics were spilling over and becoming blurry. At one point, Santiago, a curly-haired freshman from Colombia, stood before the crowd. He and a friend had been pondering the limits of what he calls “L.G.B.T.Q. plus.” “Why do only certain letters get to be in the full acronym?” he asked.

Then he rattled off a list of gender identities, many culled from Wikipedia. “We have our lesbians, our gays,” he said, before adding, “bisexual, transsexual, queer, homosexual, asexual.” He took a breath and continued. “Pansexual. Omnisexual. Trisexual. Agender. Bi-gender. Third gender. Transgender. Transvestite. Intersexual. Two-spirit. Hijra. Polyamorous.” By now, the list had turned into free verse. He ended: “Undecided. Questioning. Other. Human.” The room burst into applause.
Twenty years ago I had thought we'd settled this with "queer." I was very wrong.

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