Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, ally, asexual, intersex, 2-spirited

all equally important with their own distinctions and differences

Reported by Jack Sorensen, Focus Editor

said Pacific Lutheran’s Harmony Co-commissioner sophomore Lucas Kulhanek. For Kulhanek, the threat of over-saturating a political message is worth including “every member of the queer community,” he said. “Each individual acronym is extremely important.”

Kulhanek said while Harmony typically shortens the acronym to LGBTQ in its meetings and conversations, the PLU community has adopted the full acronym as the appropriate and inclusive way to refer to the “queer community,” which Kulhanek said is no longer a derogative term to refer to LGBTQQAAI2 individuals.

Instead, Kulhanek and other use the umbrella term “queer” to refer to any of the letters succeeding T. The term, which has long been identified as negative, is being used as part of a “reclamation,” Kulhanek said.

The new acronym includes abbreviations that may be unfamiliar to some readers, especially the terms “intersex” and “two-spirited.” Intersex is the newer, politically-correct term to refer to individuals born without clear genitalia distinction—formerly referred to as hermaphroditic.

Kulhanek said two-spirited is a Native American term referring to someone who “internalizes the spirit of both male and female.” Unlike bisexuals, two-spirited individuals are not physically attracted to the masculine and feminine form, Kulhanek said. Instead, two-spirited people are almost holy, shamanistic individuals who “feel love for all things.”

Kulhanek said Harmony was not aware of any two-spirited individuals at PLU.

While he defended the use of the entire acronym, Kulhanek said he understood the points raised in Alex Domine’s column (left). Drawing a connection to the history of the LGBTQQAAI2 movement, however, Kulhanek said there was significant backlash from both within and outside the queer community when “transgender” was added to the acronym.

“People could say that adding the ‘T’ was a speed bump” to the political progress of the LGBTQQAAI2 community, Kulhanek said. He also alluded to the fact bisexuals were initially excluded from the gay rights movement.

Despite his sympathy for Domine’s arguments, Kulhanek said he believes it was important for all members of the minority LGBTQQAAI2 community to band together and form a larger, and therefore stronger, movement.

Kulhanek did not know the statistics for LGBTQQAAI2 population as it compared to the latest United States Census, but said if the combined community only made up, say, 10 percent of the population, those representation statistics get increasingly smaller by subdividing the queer movement.

Still, with a diverse, combined community that holds an array of goals and missions, Domine wrote “the best thing anyone can do is to speak for him or herself.”