(Originally published in the Liberty Press in November 2008)
What is this evil Gay Agenda that is taking over our country? It forgot to tell us how to do it.
Concern over the “Gay Agenda,” the fear that gays will take over and marry cows, has our political leaders doing everything they can to ensure us they prefer eating cows over other unseemly things.
Gay is everywhere. Gay marriage, gay agenda, gay lifestyle, gay bars, gay pride, gay rights. Gay, gay, gay! On occasion you hear about lesbians, but they so often come after gays. I have heard many people (most notably gay-identified people) talk about the “alphabet soup”. You know, that attempt by activists to show inclusion. LGBTTIQA and so forth.
Non-gays don’t get it. We should just keep it simple. “Gay and lesbian”. Why confuse people? Why make them think we can’t make up our mind or that we are bearded men wearing dresses to school? At the same time, I’m told that I should just be a lesbian. Give up on men. It would be less confusing that way. Gay people point out to me their own adventures into opposite-sex-land and how they don’t consider themselves bisexual.
I’m all for inclusiveness, simplicity, and a united front. But seriously? Not only should I make sure not to confuse straight people (who largely just want to understand), I shouldn’t confuse gays and lesbians. It’s just easier to not explain the “alphabet soup”. Who needs LGBT pride? If we include BT, we’d have to include TIQA!
Uh, yea. Isn’t that a good thing? GLBT might be too much for some to handle, let alone TIQA, but the choice to write off BT, to use an inclusive gay, reminds us all that the rest of us must stand up for ourselves since those we’re suppose to be struggling with are so quick to drop us for the sake of simplicity.
This isn’t just in terms of alphabet soup. This exclusive “Gay Club” has lead to some gay rights organizations, including HRC, to tell transgendered people to basically wait for their rights to be protected. Once the gays get their rights, they’ll fight for transpeople, too.
Which doesn’t explain why Lawrence passed a non-discrimination ordinance in 1995 with only sexual orientation and hasn’t gone back to get gender identity/expression included. This, in spite of the fact gender identity/expression is protected in the Lawrence Public School District.
This attempt, both personally and politically, to simplify GLBTTIQA to simply “gay and lesbian,” writes off bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, intersexed, questioning, queer, and allies as not only significant to the struggle for civil rights but to also deny rights and recognition to us.
One of the greatest insults to the rest of the alphabet lies in how “gay rights” groups make sure to “protect” trans* rights. It has shown successful in litigation to include gender identity, expression, and characteristics (in some wording) as a definition of sexual orientation. So all those people trying to call gay “inclusive”? They’re telling transpeople that they’re nothing more than a part of gay.
That means, technically, transpeople are protected by the law. But if you walk into a workplace to see yourself on the Kansas Law poster, you won’t find it. And, being in HR, I can tell you that hiding something in a definition, instead of spelling it out doesn’t help much at all. It may give recourse, but it doesn’t limit discrimination.
Straight people aren’t confused because LGBTTIQA itself is confusing. They are confused because the bulk of the gay rights movement focuses around same-sex pairings and refuses to understand, let alone defend, BTTIQA. On occasion, the need to look inclusive, sometimes even be inclusive, comes up. But that gets us hidden in definitions, not out and proud.
I love all you 100% homosexual and otherwise gay-identifying folks out there. I really, really do. Many are good friends and understand. But there are still so many who don’t show the love back.
So, please, try not to use “gay” to describe all of us. Learn about everyone else. If you have a difficult time with it, ask questions. Legislation and policies will come up, in your city, in your school district, in our state, to extend civil rights protections. Demand that it’s inclusive. Make sure it adds sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
But most of all, don’t be afraid of the soup.