Monday, July 21, 2014

On Obea*ma signing ENDA, or: The Fourth Letter

[DISCLAIMER: I am angry.]

Dear Media,
Dear Activists,
Dear Human Rights Organizations,
Dear Politicians,
Dear Religious Groups,
Dear Everyday People,

There is a fourth letter in the LGBT acronym.

It is a T, and it stands for transgender.

It would be trivializing to merely call it a "pet peeve" of mine when anyone uses the LGBT acronym primarily in reference to gay men.

Or even to gay men and lesbian women.

Or even to gay men, lesbian women, and bisexual individuals.

The implication of an inclusion that often does not exist is insulting to me on behalf of my community.  Why should people proclaim, for example, that they are fighting for equal rights for a certain set of marginalized groups when they really only mean the already more socially palatable ones?

It's like when you call a Gay Pride Parade an LGBT Pride Parade when really, it's 96% gay men and corporations represented in the floats, with one token group of lesbian women?  (Read more of my anger on that issue and the history of the gay community inhumanely trumping the trans community here.)

On a happier note, today United States of America President Barack Obama signed ENDA.  Which is great!  LGBT people (and I'm using the acronym correctly here) now have anti-discrimination protection in the workplace!  Hurrah to people in positions of power using it wisely!

However, I was considerably less excited when I saw some of the recent headlines about the news.  Apparently, a good number of journalists have been so exposed to the misuse of the LGBT acronym that they forget who all is included when it finally should be used the correct way.

Let's take a little survey of some of our top publications, shall we?

New York Times: "Obama Urges Congress to Ban Job Bias Against Gays"
Chicago Tribune: "Obama signs order barring federal discrimination against gay workers"
The Wall Street Journal: "Obama Signs Order Barring Anti-Gay Discrimination"
even the UK's Pink News: "US: Obama signs Executive Order banning anti-gay workplace discrimination"

On the other hand, shout outs to USA Today, Huffington PostThe Guardian, NPR, The Washington Post, and many more for understanding how life actually works.

Let's all please remember precisely about whom we are talking before we start using population-specific terminology.  When people talk about LGBT rights only in reference to gay men and lesbian women and bisexual people, it falsely causes people to think that transgender rights are right up there with them.  Which they are not.  By a long shot.

And don't even get me started on the utter lack of intersex rights.  Tonight, anyway.

Everyone deserves basic human rights.
Let's use language that will get us there quicker.


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