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Opinion on the term "LGBT"

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My understanding is that the medical term most often applied to what we now consider to be "transgender" was usually "transvestite" during roughly 1900-1950, which broadly meant "cross-dresser", and the person was usually viewed as someone who was so extremely homosexual that they not only take on the sexual desires of the opposite sex, but the appearance and mannerisms of the opposite sex as well. In the 1949, the term "transsexual" was created to differentiate cross-dressers who identified with their assigned sex/gender from people who actually viewed themselves as having a gender and/or sex opposite the one assigned at birth, and who took medical steps to alter their sex characteristics. Then, later on (1990s, I think?), the term "transgender" was created as an umbrella term that included both binary trans people as well as non-binary people who transition into something outside of the gender binary and who may not be undergoing medical transition. The term "transsexual" fell out of favor and is now often viewed as a slur, though there are still some people who prefer it, especially older transitioners who transitioned before the 1990s. (I mean, feel free to fact check me on this little history essay, I'm not an expert.)


Similar to my issues with the term "LGBT", I think that this confusing history is where a lot of the fight over whether non-binary people are transgender or not stems from. A lot of trans people (often called "transmedicalists") believe that only people who transition to the opposite binary gender and who undergo HRT are transgender, so (for example) a biological male who is not on estrogen and who wears dresses and uses they/them pronouns is not trans. This does not actually make much sense, since the term "transgender" was specifically created to (or at least evolved to) include people who do not have a binary and/or medically-based trans experience.


Honestly, while I do believe that non-binary people have every right to claim themselves as "trans" or "transgender" and I support them and oppose their exclusion from trans circles, I have to admit that I don't relate much to most of their stories, at least not the non-medical ones. My transition is very medical, and very binary. I need estrogen in my system in order to function at full capacity, and I need to have a social circle of other women who treat me like one of their own in order to feel socially fulfilled. Ideally, I'd like to reclaim the term "transsexual" in order to have a term that I feel accurately describes me and doesn't lump me in with people that I don't inherently have much in common with, but which doesn't unfairly exclude or alienate them. I mean, I am altering my physical sex, and the word "transsexual" reflects that. Instead, what we have is people arguing over the definition of "transgender" and demanding exclusive rights to its use, since the younger generation of trans people have dropped the word "transsexual" like a hot potato and now do not have anything more than the vague term "transgender" to refer to themselves.




TLDR, I'm not a huge fan of the overuse of broad umbrella terms while simultaneously causing useful, more specific terms to die out, either purposefully or incidentally. It just causes linguistic confusion and infighting.

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2 hours ago, Lucca said:

, I have to admit that I don't relate much to most of their stories, at least not the non-medical ones. My transition is very medical, and very binary. I need estrogen in my system in order to function at full capacity, and I need to have a social circle of other women who treat me like one of their own in order to feel socially fulfilled. Ideally, I'd like to reclaim the term "transsexual" in order to have a term that I feel accurately describes me and doesn't lump me in with people that I don't inherently have much in common with, but which doesn't unfairly exclude or alienate them. I mean, I am altering my physical sex, and the word "transsexual" reflects that. Instead, what we have is people arguing over the definition of "transgender" and demanding exclusive rights to its use, since the younger generation of trans people have dropped the word "transsexual" like a hot potato and now do not have anything more than the vague term "transgender" to refer to themselves.


I agree with that very much.

Even when I was very young I felt I was girl and I thought that I would lose my genital and those sorts of stuff (that was before the very big desception of sex ed.) Transsexual do define me quite well as far as genitals and the medical part. I'm quite non binary on the gender part because I don't care that much about that part... altough I prefer feminine stuff.

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Here's a quick example from my own life on how umbrella terms can cause confusion: I'm currently looking for a job, and I really want one that will allow me to work there as a woman. A lot of online job listings will include a brief phrase saying they are "LGBT friendly" or somesuch. Since most people, especially older managers in charge of hiring, view the term "LGBT" as almost always referring to gay people, I don't know if them inserting that phrase means anything for trans inclusion. I'm guessing that most workplaces in my city are fine with a gay person working there, I'm not so sure about them being ok with a trans woman who does not pass. If they said "we support transgender employees who transition on the job", it would be more certain that they have trans people in mind.


(Not that finding an accepting job as a gay or bi person is super easy either, getting a job as anyone who's somehow not "normal" really sucks.)

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Dana Michelle

I think sometimes when people say LGBT they are only talking about gays and lesbians, and not really thinking about transgender people or bisexual people either. I think maybe the association of transgender with sexual orientation could be because transgender people who transition are perceived as being LGB either before or after transitioning. For example, someone born male who is attracted to males would be perceived as being gay before transition, but straight after transition. Someone born female but attracted to males would be perceived as being straight before transition and gay after.

I think transgender might also be associated with sexual orientation because some people don't know how to categorize transgender people. They don't know if being gay means being attracted to someone of the same physical sex, or the same gender identity, same as someone's birth sex or same as someone's current sex. This also makes people concerned about their own sexual orientation if they have a relationship with a transgender person. If a cis/hetero man has a relationship with a transgender woman, he may worry that it makes him gay, if he thinks transgender women are not "real" women. So if a cit/hetero man has an issue with LGB people, then the idea having a relationship with a transwoman would cause him to have the same issues.

What gender identity and sexual orientation have in common is that they are preference for someone's sex: gender identity is preference for one's own sex, and sexual orientation is preference for an intimate partner's sex.

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I think the association is historical.  We have faced and still face some of the same oppression and discrimination that the LGBs have faced.  And there is some recognition, though by no means universal, that the "gay liberation" struggle in the 60s and 70s would have gotten nowhere without the help of the trans people.  Without us, Stonewall would have been just another police raid.

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On 11/30/2019 at 10:18 PM, ToniTone said:

In fact, I really think we could just simplify it to Q...

I intended to post this very thought.  What really unites everyone under the LGBTQ+ umbrella is simply not being cis-het.

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