If you’re wondering about Scot Nakagawa’s use of “LGB” (see Tuesday’s post), and my use of LGBQ (see yesterday’s post), I wanted to offer this clarification:
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer identify sexualities, that is, our attractions and emotions for different sexes. Transgender identifies a gender, which is our sense of manness, womanness, including both or neither. Neither gender nor sexuality is defined by the other, or by our sex, which is our biological identity, based on the reproductive organs we do and don’t have.
And so, while LGBTQ is a common acronym, I try to be intentional about using it and not conflate gender and sexuality. Because while homophobia can and often does by default include a fear and hatred of folks who don’t conform to our ideas about gender, transgender identity, culture and struggles are not the same as gay or lesbian identity, culture and struggles (which are also markedly different from each other, despite how we weld LG together when we talk about same-sex rights and issues).
That said, using the terms LGBTQ or LGBTTQQ (including transsexual and questioning identities) can reflect an intention to bring together a diverse community that does share the experience of being othered by heteronormative communities (that have clear expectations of gender and sex identities).
So once again, there’s no right language that will always fit, never offend and always make you and I look like people who “get it.” All we can do is intend and be open.