Queer Words and my love of QUILTBAG

18

No matter how you choose to describe yourself and your sexuality, there are a number of different ways in which the community identifies itself. The most common of these is LGBT, which stands for:

L = Lesbian.

G = Gay.

B = Bisexual.

T = Transgender.

As our knowledge, acceptance, and understanding of human sexuality evolves so too do the ways in which we interact and identify them. Over the years it has become common for the letter I or Q to be added to that acronym, making it LGBTI or LGBTQ.

I = Intersex.

Q = Queer or Questioning.

During my academic years, where my study area was the representation of gay and lesbian characters in the typically masculine domain of action films (honestly do not get me started because I will unload my whole thesis on you if you engage me in conversation about this topic) I found I utilised the word queer a lot as a way of referring to the larger LBGTI community.

Initially I was fine using this word, however after a while it began to not sit right with me. The negative connotations of the past usage of the word at times seemed to catch up with me, and when talking to people outside of the academic world of my thesis name (Queer Actions Heroes: Out of the Closet and Saving the Day) I would always be questioned about the appropriateness of the word.

Do not get me wrong, I still love the word queer and I still use it.

My discomfort came from working so closely to the toxic masculinity often represented within the action genre, I often did not feel comfortable using queer as a collective word next to a text example of the negative usage. I have no problem dropping queer but sometimes I just want a word that is a little… more.

It wasn’t until after I abandoned my PhD (sad I know) that I found a term I was more comfortable using as a collective term. This term is one that I feel is more inclusive of the varied nature of people who identify within LGBTI community. The term is QUILTBAG.

Q = Queer or Questioning.

U = Undecided.

I = Intersex.

L = Lesbian.

T = Trans (Transgender / Transexual).

B = Bisexual.

A = Asexual.

G = Gay or Genderqueer.

I am not going to lie, you literally had me at quiltbag – I love that it is a cute acronym. I think it is awesome that the term is one that includes asexual, genderqueer, undecided and questioning. I feel that a lot of the time, other ways in which people identify can get swept under the carpet, if its not one of the ‘big four,’ then you tend to not get taken as seriously.

I should mention that even though I embrace the term QUILTBAG it is not 100% inclusive – my own identification isn’t included, but I feel like it is a more widespread and inclusive term than queer or LBGTI/Q. There will always be people who fall outside of the term, people who may feel excluded, so please take this with a grain of salt. QUILTBAG is the term I feel most comfortable with, but just like people, everyone is different.

So there you have it, a discussion of my feelings towards the words queer, LBGTI/Q, and my love of QUILTBAG. Just like I discussed in my Poetry Month feature, humans are subjective creatures and everyone is different, so if you find yourself agreeing or vehemently shaking your head at my post, just remember that it is okay. As long as you’re respectful of other people, their feelings, and how they identify themselves, you’re allowed to feel things.


I would encourage anyone who feels differently or agrees, to create an open dialogue in the comment section. Remember it is by communicating that we can begin to understand.

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