Jillian writes an interesting piece in the montrealgazette. Here is a snip:

So, while it may be inaccurate to use the term “LGBT community,” I don’t think it is an overstatement to say there are at least two, perhaps three (lesbian, gay, transgender), diverse communities under that umbrella term, and that simply making the term plural might be the way for everyone to go: “LGBT communities.”

OK, so she isn’t really considering kicking out the bisexuals, but I hope you get my point. I’m not writing here to either agree or disagree with her. Community, is a far-too-vague term to really get all that caught up in if there is one or a collective of communities (which is often my choice of language).

What I think is missing however, is the historical contact within which the notion of LGBT or LGBTQ evolved. And without that context, the real value of the notion of community is lost, even if the bi’s doesn’t sam very visible or not.

If we go back to the start of the modern gay rights movement, there was a real push for sexual liberation rather than what today, we see as a push for Equality. In that sense, the desire for sexual liberation- all of these groups of folks were sexual outcasts, and marginalized individuals. There was the hetero-normative whole and then that small band of folks on the outside. Or, you could say there were these two communities. We first started talking about the Gay community, to refer to all of these folks, because it is a standard of hegemony to see things as a male dominated categorization. But, as “we” worked to break the status quo, we eagerly adopted Gay and Lesbian, or Gay, Lesbian, Bi,… or… you get the picture. These steps to name parts of the hole was not about saying that al parts were either alike or not alike, but to claim the visibility of all of these parts, and grant them a voice within the dialogue.

My personal opinion is that “bisexual” was a part of the mic early on, because so many women and men had been married prior to coming out. They did this, because it is what society expected of them, and the very act of claiming themselves as gay or lesbian or bi was an act of liberation. As a community per communities, we hadn’t yet begun to grapple with the intersection of gender, gender roles and sex, and so as we did this, Trans was also added.

Today, we don’t talk about Sexual Liberation, and the trendy push for Gay Marriage demonstrates how assimilationist we have become as opposed to the sexual outlaws and rebels we once were. And, given that penchant for assimilation, we ourselves get so caught up in our differences rather than revel in our connections.

At the same time, the way parts of our community have separate events and identities, gets misconstrued as an example of not being alike when it is nothing of the case.

Meanwhile, trans people hold events designed specificially for them.

I remember, when I came out (late 1970’s) there was a women’s bar where men where charged a cover charge of $20 to enter, but no men’s bar charged women any cover at all. Today, that type of thing wouldn’t happen at all. Parts of our collective of communities have always needed time and spaces where a sense of safety and identity were apparent and developed, and today, more than ever before, we watch this growing sense of a Trans identity. As a non-trans person, I have never ben unwelcome, even at a trans event. So, I’m not sure that simply because there are these events proves anything. There are also Black Gay Prides, right?

What I do want to really own from Jillian’s position however, is that today, more than ever before, we have a need to both accentuate our differences, and at the same time embrace our togetherness. Even if we can easily see how to cut ourselves up into isolated parts, there is enormous value in owning our connectedness which makes us one community full of diversity. Our sense of community isn’t about how we are alike, but rather, our willingness to celebrate our differences without it harming our individual or collective identities.

via Diverse Communities Under the LGBT Umbrella | Montreal Gazette.


Comments are closed.