Thoughts on the “LGBT” Abbreviation

We are nearing the end of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month.  As June 2009 will soon pass into history, I would like to offer a couple of ruminations on the recent rise of the “LGBT” abbreviation and the linking together of bisexuality and transgendered identity to homosexuality. 

First, I wonder if bisexuals feel like they are getting overlooked in this political battle.  After all, homosexuals are pushing for a redefinition of marriage as the union of any two consenting adults.  And it is precisely the number “two” that throws out the bisexual formula.  Technically, I suppose someone who is bisexual could marry one other person, and he or she would then be indifferent to the other person’s gender (does Elton John still consider himself bisexual?), but this kind of arrangement would not truly be a bisexual marriage.  How long will it be before bisexuals begin demanding state recognition of their legal right to join in three-way marriages?  And what will homosexuals do when we reach that point?  Will they throw bisexuals under the bus or follow their own arguments to a logical conclusion and admit that three-way marriage must also be a legitimate expression of the institution?  Will proponents of gay marriage, when pressed by the logic of their own arguments, finally admit that, if we accept what they are telling us, there really are no restraints on the definition of marriage?  If this truly is one “LGBT” movement, it will be interesting to see the conflict that might result between the LG’s and the B’s. 

Second, how did transgendered people get into this mix?  The transgender issue is not about sexual orientation but sexual identity, and these two issues, while related, are not really the same.  I wonder if lesbians, gays, and bisexuals are generally happy with this link that has been drawn between themselves and those who are trangendered, or if many of them believe that this link has actually hurt them culturally and politically.  I wonder if there is any internal tension between the LGB’s and the T’s. 

For whatever reason, the B’s and T’s have joined up with the L’s and G’s to constitute a single cultural and political movement, backed by none other than the President himself.  Yet I find it ironic that within this one movement there are different political goals, some of which are either unrelated to one another or even mutually contradictory.

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One Response to “Thoughts on the “LGBT” Abbreviation”

  1. Ali Says:

    That hadn’t occurred to me. Good post.

    I think the strongest bond between them is perhaps the common “persecution”. I would also suggest (rightly or wrongly) that quite a bit of fractured thinking is involved – postmodern approaches to truth. I doubt they see any contradictions.

    I don’t think most homosexuals would have a problem with the further extension of the definition of marriage to three or more people. This push for homosexual marriage is just one pull on the definition. The only reason the present suggestion is “two people” is because they are starting with traditional marriage and moving one step at a time (no, I’m not suggesting a master plan is at play, but I think there is a lot of openness to further redefinition).

    As for the differences between trans-gendered and homosexuals etc., I’m not sure they are as stark as you suggest. Most, if not all, homosexuals and lesbians I know see their orientation as an identity, in the same way heterosexual men and women define themselves by their sexual orientation (albeit unconciously). In fact, it was the shift of homosexuality from preference/orientation to identity that helped the homosexual platform make significant gains. “I was born this way”, “I can’t help being who I am”, and so on. So, I think there is a certain amount of shared feeling there.

    Anyway, that’s my off-the-top-of-my-head response.

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