More and more often I see or hear or read something that makes me feel like I’m getting increasingly bad at being a member of the gay community. For example, I don’t know even know if “the gay community” is still a thing. If it is, are the qualifications for membership still the same? And if it isn’t, then what group am I a member of?
Back when I first understood and accepted that my lifestyle was of the alternative type, there was just gay, lesbian and bisexual. Which is not to say, or even imply, that God hadn’t yet invented any other orientations or genders. But in a world where homosexuality had only been removed from the DSM ten years prior, understanding and acceptance of people whose lifestyles were considered even more alternative just wasn’t happening.
I don’t remember there ever being just LGB, and believe it was when transgender was added to the mix that the syllable-saving acronym, LGBT, became widely used. It was when the Q was added that I first stated feeling a little out of sync. In my experience, gay men and lesbians were called queer derogatorily … often by a carload of rowdy young men whose courage and bravado peaked when surrounded by like-minded boys in a get-away car. Since then, that acronym has become something of an alphabet soup as people of various orientations and genders look to be recognized as specific and unique rather than grouped together as “other.”
Most recently I saw the enhanced acronym LGBTQIAG. I knew that I and A were intersex and asexual, but the G stumped me. Naturally I turned to the Internet, which I’ve come to depend on as an excellent substitute for actual knowledge or education, and learned that it stands for genderqueer. I knew what gender and queer meant (that is, I think I did … I used to, anyway), but scrunched together to make a new word? I had no idea. Back to the Webbernet I went and this is what Wikipedia had to say:
Genderqueer (GQ; alternatively non-binary) is a catch-all category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine — identities which are thus outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity. Genderqueer people may identify as one or more of the following:
* having an overlap of, or indefinite lines between, gender identity;
* having two or more genders (being bigender, trigender, or pangender);
* having no gender (being agender, nongendered, genderless, genderfree, or neutrois);
* moving between genders or having a fluctuating gender identity (genderfluid); or being third-gender or other-gendered, a category which includes those who do not place a name to their gender.
Wait. What? Gender fluid? Trigender? Cisnormativity? When did all this happen? I’m so behind on the vernacular that I just found out the correct word is transgender, not transgendered. Am I supposed to memorize all these gender identities? Is this going to be on the test?
I’m curious about how other gay and trans people feel about being lumped together. I can see how it might have happened … we were all considered perverts and freaks, and could be more efficiently feared and hated if we were in the same group. I guess it’s also possible that we all relate to being abused, harassed and discriminated against, so we joined forces and made it our mission to eliminate prejudice and intolerance wherever it exists. Kind of like the SuperFriends or the Justice League, except without super powers or spandex unitards.
I’ve been asked questions about those who are transgender and directed the asker to find someone who’s transgender, because how would I know? I’ve also been asked if I’d ever considered being a guy, because lesbians are basically just men in a girl suit fighting to get out, right? And I’d imagine more than a few trans people have been told that they’re actually gay and just in denial about it. By that logic, coming out as trans would somehow be easier than or preferable to coming out as gay. And that is just too stupid to even make fun of.
I’m looking forward to when we all just identify as people and stop thinking that who we fuck and which sexy-parts we have matters or is anyone else’s business?