Is LGBTQQIA Too PC for Gay Community?

I received an interesting question on Twitter today from StevenHales. He asked: why is there a Q in LGBTQ?

Hmm, why is there a Q in LGBTQ? I know what I think is the right answer, but instead of offering that to StevenHales, I tossed the question into my update stream. Several of my followers responded.

megekder: to include people within the queer community who do not fall in to a LGBT category

sarahconner: LGBTQ is kind of redundant, but it covers all the bases. I have wondered myself.

atmospeer: Q is for Quilt? I have no idea

phdaisy: doesn’t it stand for questioning?

pieholepizza: The acronym has been actually expanded to LGBTQQIA… uugh. “Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Transgendered/Queer/Questioning/Intersexed/Ally”

nrdavis: to show that the community is welcoming of those questioning their sexuality

Piecemaker: Sometimes it’s used for “questioning” but mostly for “queer” those who don’t like or don’t fit the LGB or T. Seen LGBTQQI?

After seeing pieholepizza‘s response mentioning the new abbreviation LGBTQQIA, I responded with “I’m sorry, but I will NOT start using LGBTQQIA – that’s way too PC for me.” Doubeshiny said “That will never fit on a badge” and vautrin said “That one is impossibe for dyslexics!” DarkMusings added her opinion to the mix stating, “I understand folks want to be politically correct but LGBTQQIA is pushing it.”

Is the term LGBTQQIA too politically correct for the gay community? An even better question: is it ok for me to use the word “gay” to discuss the LGBTQ community as a whole? Is it possible that a community or an individual can be “too PC?”

39 comments

  1. Robin says:

    I understand the desire to represent the gender spectrum but honestly it feels like just using LGBTQ would be sufficiently doing that without the need for the alphabet soup abbreviation.

  2. jaysays says:

    I’ve debated that internally for some time. I hate that if I say “gay” I’m not “inclusive.” It actually makes me very nauseous when someone says I’m generalizing and non-inclusive. Mostly because it hurts my little feelings, but also because “we” are working so hard for LGBTQQIA (ugh) equality that we should have the liberty to just say “gay.” Can you imagine an inspirational speech to the community starting out with, “I’m here to restore hope within our community and tell all the L.G.B.T.Q.Q.I.A.’s out there that it’s o.k. to be L.G.B.T.Q.Q.I.A. All of the L.G.B.T.Q.Q.I.A.’s are citizens of the world and have the right to be L.G.B.T.Q.Q.I.A.” Personally, I wouldn’t get past the first LGBTQQIA before giving up entirely on “gay” rights.

  3. Genia says:

    JaySays:

    I want to be inclusive of everyone who feels they belong to the gay community, too. I use “gay” to refer to the entire LGBTQQIA community. Someone mentioned it might be time to come up with a new broad term that includes everyone in the community but doesn’t require we run through the alphabet to make sure they’re included.

  4. Genia says:

    Robin:

    My girlfriend often uses “LMNOP” to refer to the gay community because she said she never knows what abbreviations to use.

  5. Deborah says:

    I love LMNOP!

    Is there a committee making this stuff up in a conference room somewhere? Well, I was not invited to that particular staff meeting, and I did NOT get the memo.

    Since when did politically correct mean including every kind of non-hetero label on the menu? Nope. Not gonna do it. If someone takes offense because I leave out a the daily special, then they’re focusing too much on the words on not on the content.

  6. Erica says:

    There you go, Deborah. I think you just discovered the perfect name – non-hetero! Or how about “non-hetero & their allies”?!

    I like to use queer as an umbrella term to mean non-hetero folks, but it can also describe people who do not identify with any one gender or sexual orientation category.

  7. polerin says:

    Setting aside my dislike for the concept of “political correctness”…

    I’ve struggled with this for a bit. I think that the use of the acronym with it’s built in positioning issues is problematic anyway. I mean, is it LGBT? GLBT? BLTG? TLBG? etc. That’s just with 4 letters, and almost always that pesky T is hanging on the end, reminding us that we are just SO lucky to be included.

    “Queer” works, to an extent, but … I donno. I just don’t like it, because Queer is still based in otherness, same as “non-hetero” or anything of that nature. I guess it sorta goes back to what I really consider the Root Question. Who are we, and why are we standing together as one?

    Trans people stand with lesbians, bisexuals, and gay men in part because a large part of transphobia is also homophobia, and so many of us are gay anyway. I cannot speak for the cis-people that identify with those labels. I personally see that logic working both ways, with homophobia having a large gender role component too it, which is a significant reason to stand with trans* people.

    But again, this doesn’t speak to who we are, it speaks to what our problems are.

    Who are we?

  8. Emily says:

    It’s a real minefield, isn’t it? However, LGBTQQIA is just getting too unweildy, so what do we do? ‘Gay’ just doesn’t work… I’m a bisexual trans woman and whilst ‘gay’ may be acceptable for the bisexual part of me, it doesn’t include the trans bit of me, and it makes hetero trans people feel very excluded.

    I sometimes talk of ‘the rainbow’ with friends to avoid throwing a bunch of letters at them, but I’d never be able to use it on my blog because nobody would understand.

    I wish we could find a way to get around the alphabet soup, though!

  9. polerin says:

    unofficially we just call it the family, and I wasn’t surprised that other people do as well..
    On our recent camping trip, a couple from a completely different state came over and introduced themselves in the parking lot of one of the picnic areas. Told me, “We saw your bumper sticker and had to say hi to family.”

    I was amused ;P

  10. annonymous says:

    LGBTQQIA is actually missing a piece… Two Spirit. I've seen it LGBTQQIA2-S

  11. marsbar says:

    LMNOP gets MY vote!

  12. ...Gay... says:

    Honestly, I hope whatever the decision about the reference label, that the title "gay" would openly be abandoned. My middle name is Gay and for all the other girls and women that bear what our parents thought at the time was a beautifully joyful name it has been degraded by politicism for the "cause". I have (had!) a girlfriend whose first name was Gay. She felt so hassled by the "come out" crowd that she couldn't stand it anymore and committed suicide. She felt that changing her name, her identity, would not settle anything because her name would still be out there in all the media with all the controversy attached. I'm fortunate that Gay is only my middle name (though some of it's joy has been robbed) and so I don't have to confront that on a daily basis, but there are a lot of gals who have had to wear their name as if it was a branding mark. And if you dare declare like I'm doing right now that going through life with the legal name Gay has been made oft times uncomfortable because of the "gay" community then low and behold you run the risk of being called homophobic because of course we should be "proud" to boast our name! Yet it is the GLTBQQIA community that make it uncomfortable by now and then piping up when the name is presented and cheering me on as if I'm making a public statement. Whatever!!?? Tough place to be with such a happy name.

  13. Eve says:

    I call us family, too. It includes everybody and represents how close we are even if we’re bitchin’ and fightin’ with each other. And of course you’ve got “friends of the family”, those dear heteros who “get it”.

    I can’t stand the alphabet-long acronyms because they strip the beauty and connotations from the idea that only a real word can give. And I refuse to define myself by a lack that a word like “non-hetero” implies. I’m not non-skinny; I’m fat. Don’t tiptoe around it. I’m a homo. I’m reclaiming it! And LGBT always makes me think of a really tasty sandwich. :-D

  14. J Willhoby says:

    Listen I really like the gays and all and I'd like to be supportive but there are now too many letters for me to remember. How am I supposed to voice my support of gay marriage if I can't even have an acronym that is easy to pronounce. I mean really, What is a man to do?

  15. Cath says:

    I like the term non-het/hetero/heterosexual. It includes everyone EXCEPT the heterosexual population. It's easy to remember, it's logical, it's accurate. It's easy to explain to people who may not recognize 'het' as being short for heterosexual, and non-het will fit on a button.

  16. Gigi says:

    Generally people refer to it as the Queer Community, because Queer allows everyone who doesn't fit into any of society's norms (heterosexual, monogamous) – one thing people usually don't realize is that the word "queer" also includes some forms of heterosexual people as well, polygamous ones being the most apparent in my mind. The whole alphabet soup could be as long as 15 or 20 letters if you allowed it to be: (L)esbian, (G)ay, (B)isexual, (T)ransgender, (Q)ueer, (Q)uestioning, (I)ntersex, (P)ansexual, (P)olygamous, (O)mnisexual, (T)wo-(S)pirit, and there are a few others that are escaping my mind right now but the point is that the word "queer" when used in terms of the Queer Community is intended to encompass everyone who does not fit into society's norm of a sexual being (that of a heterosexual, monogamous person). The danger with identifying with that community, however, is that by referring to yourself as "queer" instead of "lesbian" or "gay," you could potentially be categorizing yourself as something you don't identify with. But when referring to the community, the technical term would be the Queer Community.

  17. Brit says:

    And asexual. Everyone always forgets the asexual crowd, though they are a small few.

    • Randy says:

      see i always thought it was LGBTQQPIA. cuz i was told thats how it was. basically putting most of everyone in there. the les,gays,bis,trans,queer,quest,pan,inter,and asex…..cuz thats all i thought there were but i guess not.

  18. Jen says:

    One of my teacher says People Of Letters, which I find to be quite inclusive, and clever.

  19. [...] all seen the alternative sexuality community represented by “LGBT,” or perhaps “LGBTQQIA,” and some of us have even seen “QUILTBAG,” but . . . hey, do any of those [...]

  20. liz&tyler says:

    whatever happened to the P for pansexual?
    queer works as a good umbrella term

  21. [...] the alphabet soup of identity that grows with our recognition of nuances: L, G, B, T, Q, Q, I, A. LGBTQQIA doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but I’m sure there’s a way to fit that on a [...]

  22. Luiza says:

    That’s why most people say LGBT, it’s shorter but a LOT more inclusive. I don’t think saying “gay rights” is bad at all, and most people understand what you eman by it. It depends on who you’re talking to, also. Most people would understand ‘gay rights’ but wouldn’t understand ‘the LGBT community’.

  23. Sean says:

    I don't get it? How long can you reaaally be questioning for? If you want to be in the club just hang out until you figure it out and earn yourself an L, G, B, or T. I think those who are questioning have more to concern themselves with than whether they are accurately represented in an acronym.

  24. Nep says:

    Fuuuck, they keep adding new letters. I was perfectly fine with LGBTQ, with "Q" for "questioning." Not too long, not too excluding. I think a suitable blanket term for the entire spectrum of non-heterosexual groups should be "queer." It has a ring to it and has lost most of the stigma since we reclaimed it. Although, I suppose asexuals are excluded and that is not cool. How about LGBTAQ? Sigh.

  25. jay says:

    I just say gay. Screw being inclusive. The general population gets it. “We” get it. So….why get all PC and keep adding letters to trivial labels?

  26. Erin says:

    LGBTQIA = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexul, Transgender/sexual, Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual.
    The A dosn't just mean "allies". It usually means asexual, but can be meant to include asexual and others with the a…..
    ASEXUALITY is the lack of sexual attraction to others.
    GO LGBTQIA! or LGBTect, or whatever xD

  27. davida says:

    If the question is to an individual who is unsure what word to use, what about the answer “minority”? “Non-het” is ‘negative’. “Queer” has been claimed for a community, not an individual. Self-labeling is either campaigning or defeat.

  28. Mike says:

    Personally, eff that. I will not go past GLBT. (I'm gay).

  29. Ted says:

    I dunno… at some point it kinda comes to dancing around "non-heteronormative"… Although I guess Allies cover people who are heteronormative. Eeeeehhh…

  30. Marcus Cook Bogue IV says:

    Ranted via iPhone responsible for 90% of the earth’s misspelled words. Lol

    :p

  31. Kris says:

    I kind of agree that the acronym is getting to long for practical uses. I disagree that being “too PC” is the problem. Decrying the burden of political correctness is a tactic that has been used against gay people in the past, by more privileged people, and I think gay people should be more sensitive to it. You can say you fight for trans and intersex, etc. rights all the time, but if you refuse to say what those things are in public, you are leaving the existence of their problems in the dark to everyone outside of this community of minorities. And that isn’t helping.

    As an anecdote, I think using the word “Queer” as a catch-all for the LGBTQQIAP++++ is probably more inclusive than “gay”. “Gay” is a sexual orientation, not a gender orientation, and so no one will understand you are including gender nonconforming people when you say gay. Heck, even many lesbians and bi people I know don’t feel represented by the word “gay”, and so you exclude everyone except for homosexual males.

    On the other hand, “queer” has been used for a long time as it is (to my knowledge, at least since the 80s) by people who identify as “sexually deviant” or gender non-conforming. Queer seems to be the blanket term that works better than gay.

  32. Kris says:

    *too long … my bad

  33. Cheryl says:

    As a teacher, I started looking for information regarding the acronym LGBT because the school counselor said I need to add the Q; gay students said it doesn’t have to be added. So here I am. After reading the post and responses, I discovered I like the idea of being a “friend of the family.” That made me smile. All of the ideas and information here will be added to our class discusion tomorrow morning.

    FYI: We’re discussing how different cultures are presented in the media, looking first at mainstream media before looking at other and alternative forms of media.

  34. Cheryl says:

    That would be “discussion.”

  35. Leah says:

    I only just encountered LGBTQQIA today and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I can’t get my head around anyone wanting to be known as Queer for a start. It was always a homophobic insult and, although I know there’s such a thing as communities reclaiming offensive words and using them in a positive sense, like the work dyke, I feel like that only really works with the ‘in crowd’. The mainstream are only too delighted to hear you slate yourself on their behalf! And does there really need to be a label that includes everyone? Once upon a time trans people were deeply insulted if you suggested their issue related to sexuality, and gay people took offense at any suggestion their gender was in question. Now we have been lumped together. And now we have to incorporate people who for some reason prefer the word Queer? And people who don’t have a sexuality? And friends of gay people? Seriously it’s getting out of hand. If everyone has to have some kind of self-limiting label, why can they not have separate categories? If you were gay and deaf would we end up with LGBTQQIAD? How about ‘H’ for human?? Covers everything!

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