Wednesday, December 23, 2009

To be LGBT or NOT to be GLBT? THAT is the question!


[image is from here]

[a small addition was made to this post on 25 December 2009 ECD]
One closet I'll come out of right away is that I love creating political acronyms. Imagine how much fun I had coming up with CRAP in the summer of 2005! [Julian lights one up and takes a slow drag off a cigarette thinking back to that one glorious summer. Kidding. I don't smoke.] (See glossary to the right for what that stands for.)

So, um, there's something I've been noticing over the last few years, particularly, like, say, since late 2001, when the dominant U.S. became gripped with an especially intense form of xenophobic paranoia. This was also when "the good ol' U.S. of A." found a new religious and ethnic group to stigmatise as "the most dangerous one" (nope: they still got it wrong: not white Christians!). And the political climate got increasingly shady, shifting shiftily into a socially neo-conservative position. In those shifting tides something washed up onto the shores and it wasn't pretty. What found its way onto land, and crawled its way into the White House was what may arguably be the least intelligent (by any measure of "intelligence" known to humanity), least educated, least qualified, and least moral and ethical U.S. presidents ever to (illegally) come to power--twice. Ironically, for the purposes of this post, that president came to be known by just one unduly maligned letter: "W".

And I've checked this "something" out with a few lesbian sisters of several colors. The white patriarchal (male supremacist/anti-lesbian/misogynist/sexist) repositioning of "who's on top" has to do with the "LGBT plus a few letters" phenonemon. I'm not one of those people that get's upset with adding on more letters, necessarily, although there's a much longer post here, either for another time or for today, depending on energy level, about why what's there is there. I've often thought Intersex folks deserved a seat at the table, for example, way before the T came right after the B. And Two Spirit has never seemed to cross the dominant "Gay White Male"-dominated letter ascribers' minds to place in any prominent position, even though, quite obviously THEY WERE HERE FIRST. So I'll start by reordering things TSLGBTQA. At least that way the euro- and anglo- derived words don't take first place. Yes, that does give us two Ts. Deal with it.

I've never really been all that concerned about the additions of the Q and the A to the sex- and genderqueerfolks table, I guess. (Our community has always had so many questions and answers, after all.) I'm not certain about how it came to pass that the Questioners and the Allies got tagged onto the end that way, but whatever. There are battles in life and adding Q and A to the end does have its appeal, in large part because it becomes something one might begin to PRONOUNCE. With this as a concern, you'd think I might make an exception for GLAAD, but then again, we have the wonderful organisation PFLAG, pronounced "p-flag" (the p is not silent and with a little ingenuity, one can find a way to put that L before the G.)

Q could also stand for Queer, of course, the term that's become Academically Correct, much to the demise of Women's Studies departments across the land. Women can't be focused on as women, apparently. I mean, do women even exist as a category? The oft-wrong PoMosexuals (even about euro PoMo theory) haven't thought to ask "do men exist"! So it's only women's reality and existence that gets challenged, you see. How very, very "academic". And do they think to ask "do heterosexuals exist"? Does the Academy exist? So now they ave and Queer Studies--or Gender Studies, or "Gender and Sexuality"--studies which does some good things to be sure. But they allow Men's Studies to take root on campus grounds! Isn't that anti-pomo? (What next, White Studies??) The way post-modern theories have been misused by the U.S. academes only demonstrates the not-so-hidden politically correct agenda behind the demise of Women's Studies as legit without Men's Studies. (Do women exist without men???)

The new politic, supposedly post-modern is actually grossly modernistic, and not much else. There is a tacit refusal--not stated in so many words, necessarily (that would be gauche)--to focus, centrally and primarily, on the evils of racist patriarchy and how it harms WOMEN OF ALL COLORS. So Women's Studies gets consumed by "Gender and Sexuality Studies" while also maintaining Men's Studies courses, if not whole departments. And men's violence against women worldwide escalates, but that is no longer on the agenda for things that need scholastic attention. (It was, once upon a time. It was, even while it was white-dominated, racistly misogynistic, misogynistically racist, and euro-centric as Hellenica.)

What's greatly upsetting to me is how once upon an overtly misogynist time, "GAY" was used to mean all that followed in the alphabetical line-up. That was waaaaay back when anything MALE was put before anything FEMALE in status, significance, and value, except rich white people dashing for their lives off the Titanic. (Because you know if there were servants of color, regardless of gender, they didn't make it off that sinking vessel before the rich white dudes, right? You know if that captain died, they died with him, right?) We're talking about THOSE days when "he" meant "he and she" and so forth. "Man" meant "humanity. Yes, there was such a time before Women's Studies and women outside the academy called that CRAP out. Now "chairman" is back in use! Isn't that just nauseating nostalgic?

So, in U.S. history, there was The Gay Liberation Front, and then the Gay and Lesbian Task Force came into existence. But due to all the activism in the 1950s (yes, feminists were active then, just not white ones), '60s, and '70s, finally feminism had made enough of a dent in the white dicktatorship to allow some level of lesbian prominence to be evidenced in various ways. One of those was that GL etc. became LG etc. And if we're going to fussily adhere to the anglo/euro-centric way, then that's how it should be--not that that's how it should be, of course. As the bumper sticker says: U.S. out of North America. I'm waiting and am ready to help with the packing. (And yes, I'll go too.)

But in these last eight plus years, damn if that G hasn't been obnoxiously elbowing and shoving its way back into first place. Have you seen the replays of that several year race? I think G actually tripped up L on purpose in 2005 to take the lead! I call FOUL!!! (I might be mixing up my sports metaphors, but then I AM a white middle class gayboy. There are fouls in figure skating, right?)

I don't accept the whole "which comes first in the alphabet" argument because CLEARLY the Bisexuals would win that one every year--well, until we Asexuals get a seat at the table, that is!! (Oops. Just outed myself there! I know, I know: "asexual" is as much a sexual orientation as "aetheist" is a religious designation...  For another post.)

So let's take note, shall we? With history, culture, literature, and sociology, G is now solidly in first place. Now--not "then". Check out any of these websites:

http://www.glbthistory.org/: Gay, lesbian, ...

http://www.gayheroes.com/main.htm: Gay as All, mention of lesbian somewhere

http://www.glhsc.org/: Gay and Lesbian History on Stamps

http://jclarkmedia.com/gaybooks/: GAY books = Gay and Lesbian books

A "gay youth" search vs. "lesbian youth" search on Google led us to this:
Results 1 - 10 of about 13,300,000 for gay youth. (0.35 seconds)
Results 1 - 10 of about 1,400,000 for lesbian youth. (0.14 seconds)

Then we have this rather peculiar matter of "The Gay and Lesbian Task Force". Remember them? On Google there is some confusion about how to order the girls and the boys. So we end up with "the task force" that is "Gay and Lesbian" but is listed on Google as LGBT. (Pssst: I imagine Google doesn't want competition with its letter, G.)

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force | building LGBT political ... Promotes civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. Includes federal and state organizing news, issue backgrounders, and analysis ...

See also, http://www.thetaskforce.org/

It its logo it has "gay and lesbian" in teeny tiny letters now, so maybe we won't notice. Ah, but THERE is this! They have a category of concern called "Anti-Gay Industry". Hmmm. I think of even GREATER concern is "The Anti-Lesbian Industry"!! I know young lesbian women who now prefer not to call themselves lesbian in order to be in communal solidarity with their genderqueer and trans friends! Huh??? (If I support trans and genderqueer existence, how does that make me less of a boy?)

See: http://www.thetaskforce.org/issues/anti_gay_industry

There's been one instance in which the G before L has made at least some acronimic sense. GLAAD. It can be pronounced. I'll bend, but in the way gay pornographers would like. But I'm standing at attention again when noting how Amazon.com lists things. You might remember that in the days when whites appropriated EVERYTHING "Amazon" meant "strong white lesbian woman". (Never mind that whites don't live near the Amazon.) Now it's been appropriated to become "the" place to go online to purchase primarily U.S./English books and almost everything else. And there we find this:

Books › ""gay and lesbian""
Showing 1 - 12 of 51,485 Results, sorted by Relevance

1. The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader by Henry Abelove (Paperback - April 19, 1993)

2. is listed this way: Gay & Lesbian Books, with the following categories:

Gay & Lesbian Literature & Fiction Books
Gay Fiction Books
Gay & Lesbian Fiction Books
Gay & Lesbian Mystery & Thrillers Books
Lesbian Fiction Books
Gay & Lesbian Erotica
Nonfiction
Gay & Lesbian Biographies & Memoirs

3. The New Essential Guide to Gay and Lesbian Weddings by Tess Ayers and Paul Brown (Paperback - Sep 1, 2009)

4. Beyond Acceptance: Parents of Lesbians & Gays Talk About Their Experiences by Carolyn W. Griffin and Marian J. Wirth (Paperback - Nov 15, 1997)

5. Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identities and Youth: Psychological Perspectives by Anthony D'Augelli and Charlotte J. Patterson (Paperback - May 3, 2001)

6. Is It a Choice? Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Gay & Lesbian People, Third Edition by Eric Marcus (Paperback - Aug 30, 2005)

7. Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present by Neil Miller (Paperback - Nov 1, 2008)

8. 50 Gay and Lesbian Books Everybody Must Read by Richard Canning (Paperback - Nov 1, 2009)

9. The Gay and Lesbian Guide to College Life (College Admissions Guides) by Princeton Review (Paperback - Sep 11, 2007)

10. Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time (Stonewall Inn Editions) by Carl Morse and Joan Larkin (Paperback - Nov 15, 1989)

11. The Complete Lesbian and Gay Parenting Guide by Arlene Istar Lev (Paperback - Nov 2, 2004)

12. Gay & Lesbian Theologies: Repetitions With Critical Difference by Elizabeth Stuart (Paperback - Aug 2003)

In that case we are left with a solid FOUR OF TWELVE mentioning Lesbian first. But none later than 2004.  Surely, however, that must be impacted by my search being for "gay and lesbian" books, right?

So what if we try "lesbian and gay"? The list of twelve on the first page is as follows:

Books › "lesbian and gay"
Showing 1 - 12 of 58,614 Results, sorted by Relevance

1.The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader by Henry Abelove (Paperback - April 19, 1993)

2. is listed once again listed as Gay & Lesbian Books, with the same categories:

Gay & Lesbian Literature & Fiction Books
Gay Fiction Books
Gay & Lesbian Fiction Books
Gay & Lesbian Mystery & Thrillers Books
Lesbian Fiction Books
Gay & Lesbian Erotica
Nonfiction
Gay & Lesbian Biographies & Memoirs

3.The New Essential Guide to Gay and Lesbian Weddings by Tess Ayers and Paul Brown (Paperback - Sep 1, 2009)

4. Beyond Acceptance: Parents of Lesbians & Gays Talk About Their Experiences by Carolyn W. Griffin and Marian J. Wirth (Paperback - Nov 15, 1997)

5. Making Gay History: The Half Century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights by Eric Marcus (Paperback - May 28, 2002)

6. Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identities and Youth: Psychological Perspectives by Anthony D'Augelli and Charlotte J. Patterson (Paperback - May 3, 2001)

7. Is It a Choice? Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Gay & Lesbian People, Third Edition by Eric Marcus (Paperback - Aug 30, 2005)

8.Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present by Neil Miller (Paperback - Nov 1, 2008)

9. 50 Gay and Lesbian Books Everybody Must Read by Richard Canning (Paperback - Nov 1, 2009)

10. The Gay and Lesbian Guide to College Life (College Admissions Guides) by Princeton Review (Paperback - Sep 11, 2007)

11. Psychological Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Experiences by Linda Garnets and Douglas Kimmel PhD (Paperback - April 15, 2003)

12.Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time (Stonewall Inn Editions) by Carl Morse and Joan Larkin (Paperback - Nov 15, 1989)

So still only four out of twelve. (Book #5 tries to have it "both ways" putting Gay in the main title to mean "gay and lesbian" but then in the subtitle putting Lesbian before Gay. Sorry, the sexism still wreaks.)

In virtually no books listed above published in 1989 and then again after 2005, did Lesbian precede the word Gay, when referring to lesbian and gay people in the title.

I decided to try this differently, some might say a little bit more "scientifically" because you know how we "educated" whiteboys get all worked up over the scientific method! I went back to Google and typed in "lesbian and gay", in quotes, and this is what we find:
Results 1 - 10 of about 1,160,000 for "lesbian and gay". (0.25 seconds) 

If I type it this way, "gay and lesbian", this is what we find:
Results 1 - 10 of about 4,710,000 for "gay and lesbian". (0.27 seconds)

Your Queer Honor, I rest my case: G has taken liberties to grab first place from L once again.

Though much of this post has been "light" in nature, this, along with many other signs, is a clear indicator that male dominance is back in "Queer" community--not that it left, really, and that Lesbian Existence indeed is at risk, now in our community. And I object, because surely that IS an issue of whether to BE or not to BE.

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