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8-06-2010 @ 5:07AM
INCOMING ESSAY!I think I see the mistake in Heilig's posts.From reading his posts, I would guess that Heilig assumes that people take on the LGBT label to advertise their sexuality and find others who also claim the LGBT label for the purpose of sexual acts.Example: If I say "I'm gay," I'm just stating a fact about myself. If I say "I'm LGBT," it would be like saying "I'm into S&M." "I'm LGBT" = "I'm into being overtly sexual (in a homosexual way)" At least, this is how I think Heilig interprets it when people say they're "LGBT," since he made a distinction between friends saying "I'm gay" and "I'm LGBT."If this is true, Heilig, then LGBT does not mean what you seem to think it means. It's a catchall label of pride, like saying "I'm black and I'm proud" only it deals with sexuality.Why do we need the pride label of LGBT? I believe you when you say you don't care if someone is gay or not, but you have to keep in mind that not everyone is as tolerant. We live in a society that would disqualify lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people from doing things they're otherwise qualified to do, like working, based solely on their sexuality. A woman fired from her job solely because her boss finds out she's a lesbian, despite the fact that her sexual orientation had absolutely no bearing on her work, is an example of this. The only thing someone's sexual orientation or gender identity should have an effect on is whether or not I want to have a sexual/romantic relationship with them ( a straight woman doesn't want to marry a homosexual man: he's just not that into her), but gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people are still marginalized in our society due to their sexuality.*This* is why people call themselves LGBT: instead of allowing others to marginalize them for their sexuality (something that should be a non-issue in the vast majority of our daily interactions), LGBT claim it as a point of pride to spite those who would discriminate against them, NOT to advertise that they're into a culture of overt sexuality. It's a catchall because the one thing, and maybe only thing, that unites this group is that fact that they're discriminated against for their sexual orientation or gender identity. They define themselves by their sexuality only because *we* non-LGBT force them into that position through our discrimination.(I specifically wrote out gays, lesbians, etc. etc. several times to avoid preconceived notions about the LGBT label... I'm going to switch back now because LGBT is more convenient.)To be fair (and assuming I'm on the right track with guessing your thought processes), I can see why you might have made the mistake of thinking "I'm LGBT" = "I'm into public sexuality" given Gay Pride Parades. I think the Onion article someone posted above is actually pretty good in summing up misperceptions about the LGBT label: the whole displaying of LGBT pride through acts of overt homosexuality started as an "in your face" retort to people who had been writing off LGBT people as subhuman hedonists. The key word here is IRONY: basically, to marginalize "otherwise normal" LGBT people, bigots would claim that they were sexual hedonists to justify their discrimination. The LGBT community responds by being overtly sexual in things like parades as a point of pride: when you claim to be proud of something, it's difficult for another to use it to demean you.People unaware of the history of Gay Pride Parades, as mentioned in the Onion article, see these events and think that's what the LGBT movement is all about: being overtly sexual. What the LGBT movement is really about is not letting other people treat you as inferior for your sexuality. Heilig, when you assert that people who call themselves "LGBT" are looking for overt sexual acts, you unintentionally insult all LGBT who know what the label really means. You are taking one small aspect of the gay rights movement and assuming that's what it's all about. I believe the appropriate idiom for this is "not seeing the forest for the trees."
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