Erasing the Gays
by Collin Wynter
There is a fight in the LGBT community.
Gender critical activists versus transgender rights activists.
On March 24, 2013 GLAAD formally dropped its founding name “Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation” in favour of just the acronym.
Founded on November 14, 1985, by a small group of journalists and writers to combat the derogatory coverage of gay men in light of the AIDS crisis, their activism focused on same sex rights, with a nod to bisexual and transgender issues.
However, after 30 years, in a desire to “affirm” their commitment to bisexual and transgender individuals, GLAAD removed the language that defined the organization’s original mandate, in favour of something more generic.
‘Alphabet soup’ is the humorous vernacular used to describe the ever expanding acronym encompassing members of the “rainbow community”. Glossaries have been written to explain the myriad of letters.
Various iterations include additional letters and different arrangements. The most common form is still LGBT, standing for: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.
Some organizations think LGBT (and its variations) no longer represent lesbian or gay rights. Instead, the inclusion of other identities may be crowding out the needs (and identity) of the people that the gay liberation movement was originally meant to represent.
For example, some feel the T should not be included with LGB because lesbian and gay rights, which centre around sexual orientation, have different needs than transgender rights, which centre around gender identity and sex re-assignment.
The international LGB Alliance is one such organization. Their mandate states:
“We advance the interests of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, and stand up for our right to live as same-sex attracted people without discrimination or disadvantage”.
While Get the L Out, a lesbian organization, advocates for the removal of the L from the GBT grouping. This, they believe, is the only way to end anti-lesbian misogyny. They describe themselves as:
“a grassroots lesbian feminist activist group aiming at creating an autonomous lesbian community and an uncompromising lesbian visibility that is not controlled by men’s desires and visions of who we are”
Another concern is that other identities will be added to the acronym that signify sexual deviancy. For example “P”, referring to pedosexual (pedophile). Or Z, referring to zoophilia (beastiality).
The gay community has long fought to be disassociated with those identities.
Even “Q”, when standing for queer, causes friction. In the past, it has been considered a slur against gay people, particularly men. The word has been “reclaimed,” though, and is used by some heterosexual people to describe themselves.
Homosexual definition denied
Homosexual is an “[o]utdated clinical term considered derogatory and offensive,” according to GLAAD’s glossary page. Back in 1987, GLAAD even persuaded the New York Times to stop using the word in favour for “gay,” which had a more normative sound for the public.
But it appears even the word gay is being re-defined.
The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), altered the definition of gay from same sex attraction to “same gender” attraction, and lesbian to “same sex attraction of a woman to other women,” on their website. They also consider gender to be a “social construct.”
SIECUS does not even refer to homosexuality in its National Sex Education Standards’ Second Edition glossary. They do include a definition of homophobia, however:
Prejudice against individuals who are or are perceived to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, or queer.
Progressive or Identity Flag?
The ubiquitous rainbow flag is seen at every pride and on stickers on many door fronts. There are a variety of other flags that are raised during pride marches to represent various groups within the “community.”
In 2018, a new flag, with black, brown, baby blue and pink stripes in the shape of a chevron, intersecting onto the rainbow, made an appearance. It is known as the “progressive” flag.
Black and brown stripes represent people of colour. While pink and baby blue stripes represent trans/non-binary individuals.
Daniel Quasar who designed the flag stated there was a need to:
“shift focus and emphasis to what is important in our current community climate.”
Transing the gay away
Clinicians from the Tavistock gender clinic in England are concerned about the medical treatments being provided to gender non-conforming youth at the clinic. They are warning that there may be confusion over the child being homosexual rather than being transgender. One clinician told the Times:
“It feels like conversion therapy for gay children. I frequently had cases where people started identifying as trans after months of horrendous bullying for being gay.”
Simon Callow, actor and gay rights activist, is sounding the alarm about Stonewall. In the Times, he is quoted as saying that the organization has become an “extraordinarily unproductive militancy” and what they are enacting is “tyranny.”
His concerns reside around the topics of women’s, children and gay rights being infringed upon in favour of gender identity.