Ask BA

September 22, 2017


I got this question for Ask BA:

Hey BA: What does LGBTQIA mean? I heard it on the Emmy’s and thought, “What’s the I-A for? AND, is it offensive to wonder when that acronym will stop growing?

This is a tough one because someone is bound to be offended. BUT, this is why we’re in such dire straits with regard to diversity – education and exposure. So I’m going to offer as much of each about the subject as I can find…

Disclaimer to all: Please accept this post in the tolerant humor for which it is intended…

Exposure is not something that can be explained, but, it’s a critical element of tolerance. It means get out there and establish a comfort level with someone who is different than yourself. And now that we’ve got labels for anyone and everyone, we’ve all got some ‘splainin’ to do about our given category. So let’s pick it apart like this is Sesame Street:

L is for Lesbian. Dictionary says: A woman who is a homosexual.
G is for Gay. Dictionary says: 1. Homosexual. 2. A homosexual male.
B is for Bisexual. Dictionary says: Characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward both sexes
T is for Transgender. Dictionary says: Being a person who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person’s sex at birth
Q is for Questioning. Dictionary says of Question: An interrogative expression often used to test knowledge
I is for Intersex. Dictionary says of intersexual: Intermediate in sexual characteristics between a typical male and a typical female
A is for Asexual. Dictionary says: 1. Lacking sex or functional sex organs. 2. Involving no sexual activity. This is also described as Aromantic: A person who doesn’t experience romantic attraction. A has also been used for Ally.

So this whole thing started with the word Homosexual. Dictionary says: Characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex. Oriented toward one’s own sex.

LGBT community – as an umbrella term – considers the the word homosexual to be outdated and non-inclusive. We will only refer to the word homosexual for reasons of comparison and explanation.

Lesbian is self explanatory and exactly to the point. BUT, many Lesbians also refer to themselves as gay. And since the dictionary definition of gay starts with homosexual…

Gay is the more modern term for homosexual, but again, men and women use it.

Bisexual should be exactly to the point, but, in further references in the dictionary, it speaks to being hermaphroditic and possessing characters of both sexes. But that seems to be more appropriate under the terms Transgender or Intersex, yes? YES. Bisexuality in the most simple terms is a man or woman who is sexually attracted to both sexes. There are no genetic conditions.

Transgender should also be easy to define as a man or a woman who appears as the opposite sex whether by physical outward appearance or by gender reassignment surgery. Transvestite is the term for a person who dresses and appears as the opposite sex, but is not necessarily attracted to the opposite sex. It has more to do with how the person feels on the inside as opposed to how they feel sexually.

Questioning is the one category that I find the most questionable. I clearly see the identity for the other categories, but, questioning is the place you live until you decide which category fits you best. It’s the waiting room or the proverbial closet… It’s not a sexual orientation… yet… And why isn’t it an E for experimenting? Or a V for visiting? Or a C for choosing? See how easily total inclusion can get out of hand?
Do we need this category?

I’ve also heard this category referred to as Queer… Well that’s just street language. It’s like black people using the N word. Those are internal documents marked CLASSIFIED. No one should be using those words outside of their communities… Limited use. Keep them for yourselves…

Intersex is a sensitive category because these are people born with physical characteristics or chromosomal similarities that don’t clearly define male or female. hermaphrodites are an example of an intersex person, but, the word hermaphrodite is also outdated. This does not make an intersex person automatically bisexual. This category is genetic.

Asexual is just not having a connection to sexual feelings at all. The best description I’ve seen of this category is as Aromantic. These are people who can experience love and be in emotional relationships, but, not be interested in sexual relationships. BUT, if they do experience sex, they can still be one of the previous categories – to include heterosexuality. The dictionary suggests some form of genetic dysfunction, but, I think that belongs in the intersex category.

As for Ally, shouldn’t there be two A’s in the acronym since Ally isn’t a sexual preference, but, a position of support?

So that’s your explanation of what the growing acronym means. As for when it will stop… My hope is that someone will create an LGBT Society and their first order of board meeting business will be to say, “That’s it. We’re trying so hard to be fully inclusive that we’ve effectively included everyone – even heterosexuals. Let’s just get back to our roots; be LGBT, embrace and accept everyone for their sexual preferences AND be as open to educating people on our positions as possible.”

I’ll leave you with these puzzles:
An intersex woman in a sexual relationships with an intersex man = a heterosexual relationship
A transvestite man could be (and many are) only interested in sexual relationships with women
A heterosexual woman could be aromantic and only be interested in emotional relationships with men

See how many combinations of contradictions you can come up with…

More categories are just muddying the sexual waters…
We don’t need more categories. We haven’t learned to accept and embrace the ones we already have. We need more education, exposure and tolerance.

Spread the word…