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December 14, 2013

My former partner and I used to sometimes wax philosophical regarding the order of letters in LGBTQ. We have both heard and seen GLBTQ written, and previously, GLBT. And, yes, I’ll not leave out LGBTQI, but I’ve only heard it twice in common usage. I’ll be the first to admit that these rap sessions on rhetoric and pragmatics haven’t been enough to warrant any research into the matter of whether there should be one officially accepted acronym or, if so, what that acronym ought to be, but as I lay on the couch this morning, I came up with a bunch of ridiculously stupid theories and then one that could be a winner: phonologically speaking (no pun intended, I swear), LGBTQ has a more pleasing mouthfeel to it. That  wasn’t a pun; I mean it quite literally. Before I explain my argument, though, I thought I’d share some of the other bullshit justifications that popped into my head.

*Note: “~” means “not.”

1. GLBTQ – Chrono-Alphabetical Order: Letters are placed in order of date of initial common usage for each term, and in the case of  terms being introduced concurrently, alphabetically.

2. LGBTQ – Feminism: Women – i.e,. Man-haters – first. I kid. Mostly. No, I completely kid. Sort of…

3. ~GBLTQ – Anti-Sandwich: When fighting for civil rights, no one wants to be thought of as a Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato. No one.

4. ~QGLBT – The Silent Majority: Everyone else who doesn’t fit neatly into a gender or sexuality group has to go fly their freak flags under the banner “Q.” Be glad you got included at all. Don’t go getting all uppity like the Ls did. They’re on top now, and I’m telling you, they’s some fucking bullies. You don’t want to mess with them. Besides, a bunch of you require more than one letter, like mutts. We’re just simplifying things so we don’t have to add more letters. Be grateful we didn’t just settle with “M.”

Everything is about power. Everything gets politicized beyond all reason. There’s no reason for that. It would be so awesome if it truly didn’t matter.

Honestly, I think the reasoning behind the preference LGBTQ (or LGBT) has a much simpler explanation than power or politics. It’s good old phonology.

L takes a mid-front vowel, while G, B, and T contain the same high-front vowel. Then Q takes a high back vowel. The progression is that of mid to high and from front to back. Moreover, the I suspect the consonant sounds will correspond to a similar pattern, although I haven’t worked through my analysis that far. It’s been so long since I’ve worked with phonology that I frankly don’t remember much of it. I know the answer is there, though, so I’ll keep working on it, maybe relearning phonology since it’s been six years since I’ve studied it at all.

And now, I think I may have accidentally brainwashed myself as a result of repeating “LGBTQ” about 300 times to myself, because now I suddenly find myself wanting to become an active part of the community. I want to not feel so goddamn alone all the time. I don’t want to hate myself anymore for not being honest about who I am and how I feel. How I expect the queer community to fix all of this for me, I don’t know. Honestly, I just want MTIA. I think I’m still sleeping with TLTL as an attempt at emotional detachment from MTIA. I don’t want to get hurt. Funny. MTIA has made it pretty clear that he fucks everything that walks upright for the same reason.

I wish I didn’t love him.

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