For those who feel behind, I thought it helpful to explain the letters of our now LGBTQQCIAAPPP culture. I will not stoop to jokes about deli sandwiches or Campbell’s soup competitions, but just give you straight definitions…well, reasonably straight. As straight as one can be on the subject. So if you have been afraid to ask what the initials mean, you can just cut and paste this post onto your phone and use it as a cheat sheet. Or you could tape it to your refrigerator and slyly reference it when skyping with your nephew. Then you can escape appearing culturally irrelevant, which we all know is close to the unforgivable sin. Without further ado:
L: Lesbian. This one is easy, right? You know what lesbians are. Well, they were originally inhabitants of an island off the coast of Ayvalik in the Aegean Sea, which at one point in the mid-fifth century BC seemed to have only women left on it. And when women get together by themselves, who knows what happens. (Just like when men are left alone.) In the late 19th century, it became a term for women engaged in monogendered relationships.
G: Gay. Of course, the grandfather term, who sired most of the others. Even so, G graciously gave pride of first place to L, although it might be more accurate to say that L wrestled it from G or else she wouldn’t come to the party. Gay is not a man who has same-sex attraction (SSA), but a man who takes on his SSA as an identity. Truth be told, many many men with SSA do not see those desires as who they really are, but these guys don’t get a letter.
B: Bisexual. Someone who sexually desires either men or women and is willing to act on those desires, again, taking them as an identity. The other letters do not always approve, because the presence of B‘s can interfere with the political goals. So they can come to the party if they speak quietly and stand in the back.
T: Transgender. Someone born male who transitions by various measures to living as female, or vice-versa. The cause is usually what is now called gender dysphoria, distress or confusion about one’s gender. It used to be called gender identity disorder, but gender identity disorder was discarded as judgmental because it implied something was actually wrong. Transgender is not the same as cross-dressing, that is, what used to be called transvestitism. Transvestitism as a term has fallen out of favor, most likely because of the questionable fashion choices of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Sometimes cross-dressing is a first step to transitioning, but more often—by far—the majority of those who cross-dress do so for their own sexual arousal. They have no gender confusion and no interest in taking hormones or getting operations, which honestly are very expensive, unless of course you can get the government to pay for them. Coming soon…
Q: Queer. Okay, now we are traveling into real exotica. Queer means advocating a kind of gender anarchism—it means different things to different people, but generally denotes approving of removing gender from relationships.
Q: Questioning. This is an unstable term that probably won’t last, but it is currently included to mean a college student who is attracted to all this alternative gender sexual stuff and is still trying to figure themselves out, so give them some space already, and don’t ask what is going on with them.
C: Curious. Not as committed as Questioning, but open and curious about other kinds of gender or sexual desires for themselves.
Well that is LGBTQQC…Next time we will continue with the list and, even more, will give you the initials to actually keep you ahead of the curve. Curious?