For years it has been argued by allocishet men that “LGBT” is an exclusive term because it creates division. In fact, words recognising marginalisation are good as it allows us to be able to challenge inequality which is the true cause of division. However, “LGBT” is exclusive. Here’s why:
What about other queer people?
A large proportion of queer people aren’t included in this acronym. Asexual, aromantic, intersex, pansexual and panromantic people are all left out.
It’s also Western supremacist. The neat divisions of categories don’t reflect lived experience and identities – and certainly not those from outside of the West. Trying to force people into strict identities has been how the West historically has tried to oppress queer people globally. There are hundreds of words for different types of facets for queerness from around the world and barely any of them translate easily to “lesbian, gay, bisexual or [binary] transgender”. Identities are much more complex than that and they deserve respect and recognition.
It has allowed attacks on aromantics and asexuals.
The ‘opposite’ of LGBT has largely been defined as ‘cishet’. This shows binary thinking again, but also the word ‘cishet’ has been used by LGBT people to attack asexual and aromantic people and deny their queerness. This is why many asexuals and aromantics have argued for more inclusive terms such as “allocishet” or “non-queer” because our understanding of queerness is ever growing. The acronym paints a false and simplistic picture of queerness and risks causing harm to queer people.
It assumes that sexualities and romanticisms align but this is not always true. Bisexual and biromantic are different things, but the acronym is often cited to reflect only upon bisexuality. Additionally, queer people may be heterosexual but panromantic, or heteroromantic and homosexual. Where do they fit in? Simply: they don’t.
It’s all about funding, really.
The LGBT acronym is often needed to be able to chase for government funding. LGBT is recognised by the government (and corporations) and that means that groups often have to show how they will help ‘LGBT’ people specifically to be granted funding. This means that queer people are forced to compete for limited resources, and certain identities not expressed by the acronym get none of the resources that they require.
Additionally, LGBT is also used as a promotional tool which is rarely delivered upon. Many charities which claim to be LGBT for instance, often do not treat bi identities as separate from gay. Bi people make up the majority of the ‘LGBT community’ but they do not get anywhere near the level of funding that should entitle, despite having far worse rates of poverty, sexual assault, mental illness and violence than gay people. If people within the LGBT don’t even get to benefit from its power hoarding than what chance does the rest of the community have?
It panders to capitalism and is oppressive.
Because of the desperate fight for funding, and the limited way funding is given, corporations have been quick to cash in on being ‘LGBT friendly’ whether it is by contributing to Pride or trying to get an ally award about being such a great employer. Queer rights however, was a movement about queer liberation and was supposed to be in solidarity with other marginalised people. We cannot achieve either by pandering to capitalism, and using capitalist forces to uplift only some queer people at the expense of other queer people who are isolated and erased from the movement.
Queer people should be in charge of their own narrative, and it should be one of solidarity otherwise it is entirely worthless. The LGBT acronym is an exclusive symbol. The movement should be for all queer people, or none at all.