March 28, 2013

IconLGBT Soup for a reason

(Bear in mind, I’m a great fan of GCN – reading it cover to cover whenever I can get my hands on it. However…)

Yesterday an article was published by GCN (Gay Community News), a free magazine for the Irish LGBT community. Or so I thought. Entitled LGBT Soup, the article sparked uproar with its biphobic, transphobic and asexphobic slant. Written by Ciara McGratten, the Deputy Editor of the magazine, many saw this piece as the voice of GCN, and turned away in astonishment.

McGrattan begins her article with a brief history of the terms gay and lesbian – an interesting read. But then goes on to state her distaste at the words bisexual, transgender and asexual, amongst others, from being “tacked on” to the LGBT community.

“The “T” doesn’t need to be there”

Her reasoning is given as follows;

“While, it’s obvious that the trans and gay communities fight the same kinds of fights, and as such make logical allies, trans individuals, are not part of the ‘gay’ community by virtue of their non-traditional gender orientations (except the ones in same-sex relationships, naturally).”

Hmm… how many times have you heard a gay guy being  described as a ‘nancy-boy’ or a lesbian referred to as “butch”?  The LGB’s have a longterm affinity with “non-traditional gender orientations”. It’s no wonder the transgender community has developed with the help of LGB.  In Ireland we have an organisation called TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland). While they run autonomously, last year they marched in the Dublin Pride Parade – and with a contingent of over 100. This massive display of the transgender community wouldn’t have happened without the help of the LGBT organisation Dublin Pride. There’s nothing wrong with this.

The statement in the article which caused the most comment was;

“As big a fan as I am of sensitivity to marginalised individuals, I am more concerned with accuracy of language.”

For me, the point in LGBT is inclusivity. Bisexual and transgender people are marginalised, especially in Ireland, and I think supporting them is more important than having a perfectly eloquent language. Heck, if I were to label myself accurately I would be a pansexual, transgender, polyamorous individual. I find it easier just to refer to myself as gay and inbetweeny in gender if anyone asks.

Asexuality is absurd too

“Seriously now. Asexual? Asexuality is the absence of sexual attraction to anyone – same-sex, opposite-sex, whatever. When exactly did LGBT become the dumping ground for every non-heterosexual orientation?”

A “dumping ground”. How inclusive of you. Asexuality is a term often misunderstood, and is paired with the LGBT community so as to allow a space for understanding. Not long ago I didn’t ever get asexuality – this was until an asexual banner joined us in the Pride Parade. The people marching explained their thoughts, marginalization, and joy at being able to join such a huge celebration of expression. Why should they be left out to make a shorter name?

Bisexuals “not same-sexing it up”

Now, this is an argument which is wrong on so many levels;

“Even the current LGBT mouthful is unnecessarily long, when ‘gay’ suffices for all same-sex attractions. This doesn’t cover bisexuals, you might argue. It doesn’t need to: ‘bisexual’ is only a description of what someone is doing when they’re not same-sexing it up.”

Ok. So say I’m bisexual. If I were “sexing it up” with a lady, I’d suddenly not be bisexual anymore – let alone not belong to the LGBT community? What!?

Hang on. Who chooses my labels? Who defines when and how I use them? Who defines my membership to the LGBT community?

I don’t think I need to elaborate…

“LGBTLMFAO”

Woah. If the image of the alphabet soup in the shape of “f*ck off” hadn’t offended enough, this was the last straw. LMFAO, as many of you know, stands for Laugh My F*cking Arse Off. Not a great way to end a biphobic, transphobic and asexphobic article.

The featured image of the article.

 

The “Gay Club”

This marks the crux of the offence in the article for me.

“Do you sleep with people of the same sex? Welcome to Gay Club. In a relationship with someone of the same-sex? Welcome to Gay Club. Trans and exclusively attracted to people of your gender? Welcome to Gay Club. Attracted to both sexes? Good for you, but unless you’re with someone of the same-sex, you aren’t part of Gay Club.”

Well then that’s a club I don’t want to be in. Your club doesn’t have space for my human array of emotions? No thanks. I’ve got to respectfully disagree on this one.

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Sophie Cairns

Video

‘Define Me’ – Ryan Amador (featuring Jo Lampert)

The song DEFINE ME was released exclusively on Ryan Amador’s bandcamp (http://www.ryanamador.bandcamp.com/) in conjunction with Ryan’s live performance at the True Colors LGBT Youth Conference on March 22nd. It was produced by David Baloche for Grove Street Studios. 100% of its proceeds will be donated to organizations actively involved with the LGBT equality campaign. http://www.ryanamador.com/

April 22, 2013