Friday, December 16, 2016

A New Acronym for Gender and Sexuality Minorities-GSM

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an article on Asexuality. During my web search, I found another article from the website proposing to use the acronym GSM ( Gender and Sexuality Minorities) instead of the well known acronym LGBT or LGBTQ or LGBTQIA. A brief summary of the reasons for this proposal is as follows"

" The act of politically grouping all non-heterosexual and non-cisgender people into the acronym LGBT is an act of exclusion.

The acronym has expanded to LGBTQ or even LGBTQIA, in an attempt to be as representative as possible. But as the language used to describe these identities continues to grow, so does the need for more appropriate identification.

At the time of this writing, the acronym is a whopping 14 letters long: LGGBBTTQQIAAPP. Standing, if you hadn't already known, for lesbian, gay, genderqueer, bisexual, bigender, transgender, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, agender, pansexual and polyamorous.

There is no use studying for common conversation like it’s a vocabulary test, and this acronym is entirely too long to commit to memory with ease. Even if everyone suddenly started using this fourteen-letter name to represent their non-heterosexual/non-cisgender friends and the community they belong to, it still would not be good enough.

Simply put, there are many more than 14 gender and sexual identities. Even though this initialism (yes, not acronym — an acronym is pronounced like a word such as scuba or radar) may sound exhaustive now — it will grow forever.

Furthermore, there is no clear reason for the order in which the gender and sexual minorities are listed in LGBTQIA. There is some dispute over whether or not to let gay men head the list, switching the letters around to GLBTQIA. But that’s not rational either.

According to a study done at UCLA in 2011, bisexual people hold the largest percentage among the population of gender and sexual minorities, so should they head the list? BGLTIQA? This sort of analysis starts to get obnoxious when the acronym is never going to be inclusive anyway.

Therefore, I propose everyone start using the acronym GSM, which stands for gender and sexual minorities. GSM serves as a much better acronymic blanket statement than LGBT, because it does not specify any gender or sexual identity whatsoever.

In its ambiguity, GSM is not only more accurate, but it’s flexible. The name does not need to be updated at the rapid pace of language proliferation.

Critics of the term GSM argue that it is too inclusive. Sexual minority is ambiguous enough to possibly include fetishists or swingers. In fact, the man who coined the term in the 1960s, Swedish psychiatrist and medical doctor Lars Ullerstam, wrote about sexual minorities in a manner that included pedophiles and other sex criminals. Today, however, the term is specific to minority genders and sexual orientations rather than sex preferences.

The terms used to identify specific gender and sexual minorities keeps expanding, which is a great thing. The GSM dictionary is expanding because of the urgent need for people to build GSM communities and explain to others how they understand their gender and sexuality. It’s very hard to explain such things without the language necessary to do so.

Grouping each member of the ever-expanding list of gender and sexual minorities into the acronym LGBT delegitimizes their identities and the progress made to include their identities in our language. It suggests that everyone should fall into one of those four categories. However, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender function as individual identities, not categories into which the entire GSM community can be grouped.

If everyone started using GSM in the same candid and common way they use LGBT, there would be a better understanding of the large range of GSM identities. The shift in language alone would cause enough curiosity that people would start doing research to see the extensive community they may have missed under the misleading guise of LGBT. It’s not hard to do, so for the sake of progress, make the switch.

Do you agree with the proposal? I do!

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