… and does it matter?

Some time ago, I gave a presentation to some young queer folks about the differences between “Activism” and “Issue Advocacy.” As I do most times I present, I start by asking everyone how they self-identify by a show of hands. In this group of a dozen or so youth, most al raised their hands when I asked, “How many of you identify as ‘Gay'”? This was surprising to me, as many of the group presented female, but this is exactly why I ask, how individuals self- identify. As I moved through the rainbow alphabet of “L” for Lesbian, “B” for bisexual, “T” for trans, “Q” for queer, and “S” for straight, I saw many of the same hands go up over and over. In other words for example, some of these youth who self-identify as gay, also identify as lesbian, and queer. The large number of hands that go up for the first option “Gay,” may have something to do with the fact that the audience isn’t aware of what the choices may be. For example, they may anticipate that the options will only be “Gay” or “Straight.” Or it may be that to this specific audience, these terms are more fluid than they appear, and self-identity is also fluid.

A recent post by Autumn Sandeen on Pam’s House Blend brought this experience back to mind. Sandeen writes a very meaningful post about the President’s inaugural address and the inclusion or exclusion of trans persons from the American Dream. Not everyone will agree with Sandeen (as the comments there illustrate, yet, I believe she raises extremely important questions that should not be so lightly dismissed.

Before looking at Sandeen’s points directly, I wondered what I would find if I ask individuals about how they self-identify, and a few questions about the importance of the labels we include in the Rainbow Alphabet of LGBTQ(etc). Please take a few minutes and respond to this Survey:


Image by: By Photo-Fenix.com


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