As I was doing the daily blog read-thru, I came upon an entry from a boy and his computer about LGBT acronyms and a minor rant about intersex individuals. While I can’t agree with his comments, I think they’re fairly common and understandable. I posted a comment there, but I’ll try to explain things in a little more detail here–both on the “acronym issue” and do a little intersex education, seeing as though I just finished reading a chapter on it about 20 minutes ago. From A Boy:
bq(quote). It may be somewhat less than charitable of me, but it’s a pet peeve of mine. All those gender taxonomy terms strike me as code words for some political agenda – in their usage, I mean. They’re as often used to bludgeon the “less enlightened” as they are to actually refer to anything. I don’t feel like I’m prejudiced against anyone – I actually do my best to judge people by the content of their character, like Dr. King said. But to do that, I feel somewhat hypocritical using all those labels. If the differences between genders are supposed to be so unimportant (ideally) then the labels should be just as unimportant, or so I grok. But I realize why it happens, I guess. If you can’t take your own gender role for granted in society at large, I can see why the label becomes important. But even so, the distinctions are largely artificial and political, and I have a low tolerance for artificial and political things of any kind.
Yes, the LGBT acronym keeps getting longer. Now it’s branching to LGBTI, and even LGBTIQQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning). Yes, it’s long and unwieldy. But it’s constantly growing, because it’s constantly trying to be inclusive of individuals of gender or sexual minorities. Sure, there’s probably some political component to it, but it’s definitely not the main reason (nor is it the most brilliant of political strategies). Believe it or not, sometimes you don’t feel like you’re a respected or even acknowledged individual in this society unless you fit into a fairly limited definition of “normal.” This resonates within the gay population, and thus, there’s been a movement to represent other individuals that don’t fit into the male/female dichotomy.
If you know nothing about intersex individuals, here are the Cliff’s Notes: Intersex individuals are people that generally have some sort of genetic code such that the process of sex differentiation does not occur as normal. So, there’s a molecule that doesn’t function properly, or a receptor, or some sort of biological pathway is disrupted. So, you can have a person that identifies as a male, but genetically is “XX” (female), or you could have an “XX” female that identifies as female, has female genitalia, but no ovaries. There are many causes, and many variations. And since people generally don’t understand these conditions, or don’t care to, and these conditions are very rare, these individuals have felt like there’s no place for them in society. If I’ve gotten any of this wrong, please feel free to contact me, as always.