LGBT v GLBT: I'm Puzzled By BlogHer's Decision

5 years ago

Within the gay/queer/LGBT/GLBT community there is a somewhat ongoing 'battle' about the appropriate umbrella term to describe us all ... 

Let me run it down for you ...alphabetically.

Assexual also Allies





Queer also Questioning


Put it all together and you have a lot disagreement over the "right" term. Still, there is some common consensus. Most of the time, we use LGBT or GLBT. In fact, LGBT seems to be the preferred descriptor. 

Note: people self-identify and I'm fine with that. I think its important for anyone outside of that person to respect his or her choice and simply make note of it in any sort of reference. It isn't that complicated "Sam, who self identifies as a queer woman, went on to say .... " 

I tend to use LGBTQ in my blogging and social media - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer. I also use queer, dyke and gay interchangeably while acknowledging that not everyone "gets" what I intend. It is my blog after all. My space. Sometimes I want to push you to understand and sometimes I'm okay pushing myself to explain.

In mainstream community, I default to "gay" as a way to describe my community. It is a practical decision and one I don't make lightly. I recognize that gay has a universality and can sometimes get me to the next level of a conversation where I'm free to engage in the nuances of the LGBTQ community. And sometimes its just easier. What's wrong with that?

Well, I had to give that some thought during today's visit to BlogHer. I was pinning a few interesting items on bullying and so forth when I did a search for lesbian. Up popped a bunch of sex stuff. Then I realized BlogHer uses GLBT.

I was stunned. A woman oriented website uses GLTB rather than LGBT. It just looks weird even in a list. I simply didn't expect it. I thought all people interfacting with "gay" women understood that we use LGBT (Q?) now ... and suddenly I was drawn back into the internal alphabet soup war. 

In the past two months, I've had two similar discussions. In one, a blog lister had categorized my blog as GLTB. I politely explained that LGBT was the preferred term and she heard me out and made the change. She understood how underrepresented women's voices are in the "gay" blogging world and the blogging world in general. She was very cool about it. And if she had kept it as GLBT, I would still have wanted to been listed.

In another discussion, a very prominant heterosexual white male social media advocate used the term "transgendered" to describe an upcoming segment he was filming with a project in California serving homeless trans men and women. I politely explained the distinction between transgender (an active state of gender identity that is a bit more broad than male or female) and transgendered (implies that the identify of trans is past tense and the person now is male or femae.) Again, he understood I was simply trying to offer some input. He actually asked a trans friend and has been carefully using trangender ever since, including a post that is now on Huffington Post. 

Relationships build those conversations, even casual relationships. I have no problem when people ask me to explain the acronyms. I'm pretty thick skinned. I can tell when someone is using a slur versus simply speaking from a lack of knowledge. 

So I thought a little more about BlogHer and realized that the best way for me to have an impact is to take ownership of this community and begin blogging here on a regular basis. 

I don't think GLBT is a good choice for this community. There are a lot of issues of male privilege wrapped up in that 4 letter acronym, privilege that is quite destructive even within the community. I think it sends a poor message and I'm curious what other lesbians and queer women think. 

But I'm not insulted or angry. Just puzzled as to the reasoning and wondering if its an opportunity to start a dialogue. 

So here I am. Engage me. Lesbian, Queer. Dyke. Gay Woman. And More. 






Sue Kerr

Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents


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