SL Letter of the Day: LGBT&P?

Comments

1
I thought the 'P' had been reserved for platonic. We've been marginalized for too long.
2
I've seen P in the long-form acronym before and it always stood for Pansexual to me.

I don't really see poly as fitting with the nature of orientation. Sure it can be a very strong part of identity, and I'm all for people having the freedom to pursue it and live it if they think it's best for them, but it is a choice of how one's lifestyle is structured, not some deeply embedded orientation. Poly is a way of relating to others that can occur over the top of any orientation you can think of. I don't see it fitting with the inherent, "I am this way because I've always been this way" nature of hetero/homo/bi/trans/pan/asexual. To me, those are all things that people feel deep inside them regardless of what they do in their lives. Poly is just the thing that some of those feeling peoples do, if they want to.

Also, as a slightly facetious aside, do we need to give these people a whole letter? I mean, ya know what they say..."do you know how to tell if someone's poly? They'll tell you!" *ba dum psh*
3
So go and tell everyone. I'm betting at the end of the day no one probably cares.

I can't believe this is a thing for people.
4
Ha Ha! That's funny AND true.
I just want to help with purloining the alphabet. Add "U" for me (used to be a sexual being.)
Those of us with a prostate the size of a grapefruit and a head full of bad memories need a letter too.
5
@2 It varies from person to person. Some people are poly - deep-down and regardless of whether or not they are currently in any relationship. Some people aren't. Some people are flexible and poly is something they may or may not do. Being poly can affect your whole outlook and how you relate to people, for example, by not drawing hard lines between friendship and relationship, since often one has less reason to. People vary a lot.

Besides, I don't see how leather fetish gets a pass as not just something you're into (although it can be something someone is seriously into and affects their life) and you'd just ignore that and jump straight to objections about polyamory.

Personally, I agree with the spirit of the letter - sexual and gender minorities should stick together and work toward decreasing oppression for all of them. Poly people are sometimes oppressed (children are sometimes taken away from poly parents, even when they would not be from people who claim to value exclusiveness but cheat) and poly people can be fired, although I don't know of specific cases, I'd be unsurprised if it has happened and have zero surprise that many people stay in the closet just from the risk. The lack of legal protection encourages closets. Closets are inherently painful, and closets decrease awareness and community support. So, poly has a reasonable amount in common with the rest of the general queer community. Can we just use "queer" to refer to any of the group? It seems like "gay" is working quite well for gay people. And we have "queer" and "genderqueer", a nice catch-all is quite useful, and "queer" seems fine.

Besides, if you get all these minorities accepting each other, it makes it rarer and rarer to not be one of those minorities. And maybe you can start getting leather fetishists to be more accepting of transsexuals and so forth, even though there is no inherent link between the two. Too often minorities work against each other, when if they band together they can become much more powerful and gain progress for all of them. So, err on the side of inclusion.
6
I have always loved the gay colon. Thanks, Dan for saving it for us.
7
Dan Savage prefers the acronym WGMA (White, Gay, Macklemore, Allies).
8
I will actually give the letter writer two letters - FU. I trust that I need not explain what they stand for.
9
Anyone else get the sense Dan was being trolled by a sarcastic right winger highlighting the absurdity of SSS (Special Snowflake Syndrome)?

Is the gub'ment really raiding the homes on non-abusive poly people and taking away their kids? If so, where is the kick-ass footage on CNN, a la Elian Gonzalez?
10
@8--As everyone knows, FU stands for Felix Ungar.
11
@ 6 - well played. Considering Lesbians have their period, the least Dan could do is give up the &.
12
@2 I've always thought it didn't matter whether or not gay people are "born that way". The 14th Amendment test is whether one's behavior is hurting anybody; that is, the state must show a compelling interest for prohibiting behavior. The "not being a dick" test is respecting peoples' personal choices. Other arguments seem moot.

Certainly, some poly families make it work - why should they be forced to hide in the closet or be labeled bigamists - and what's so wrong with bigamy, again, anyways? It's only illegal because of an unconstitutional ban specifically targeting a religion.

A truer definition of "marriage equality" than the one we have now would include plural spouses.
14
I long for the day when we can drop all the identity-affinity acronyms and nomenclature, and universally adopt the Mr. Rogers ideal: call everyone neighbor.

"Will you be my neighbor?"
15
We are no longer the LGBT community. We are the LGBTQLFTSQIA community, a.k.a. the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, leather/fetish, two spirit, questioning, intersex, and asexual community/communities.
Well, strictly speaking, queer is the most generic term. Writing LGBTQ makes no fucking sense, since LGBT (and lots of other letters) are already a subset of queer. In my opinion, it would be simpler if we stopped trying to expand LGBT all the time and simply said queer.
16
Calling out forward-slash / for straight men!
17
"it is a choice of how one's lifestyle is structured, not some deeply embedded orientation."

Boy, I'm glad no one ever said that about anyone else's lifestyle before.
18
12

sorry. no marriage for YOU......
19
exhausting.
21
Since when is Q for questioning, I thought it stood for queer - i always figured that I and other Poly people fell into the 'queer' category. We don't fit the straight monogomous blah blah blah normative structure... Queer. Do we need to add another letter, I agree, it's exhausting.
22
Despite the fact that no one will read this comment because I'm not a registered user and it's too far down the list, I'm going to make a plug for GSRM -- gender, sexuality, and romantic minorities -- as replacement for the cumbersome alphabet soup. The LGBTsoup is great, but is problematic on account of its attempt to enumerate every possible deviation, since such an attempt is doomed to failure and there will doubtless be people who think they should be included who won't be (and this is a problem that's only going to get *bigger* as the acronym expands).

"GSRM" has the advantage of listing broad categories rather than getting lost in a catalogue of particulars.
23
You guys are leaving out a bunch. Check McGill University's Queer student association:
What is Queer McGill?
Queer McGill is a university-wide free support service for queer students and their allies.

Queer is a broad term which includes anyone who chooses to identify with it. This includes those who identify simply as queer, and includes – but is by no means limited to – those who identify as queer and/or any combination of agender, ally, ambigender, ambisexual, androgyne, asexual, bigender, bisexual, birl, biromantic, boi, butch, crossdresser, drag ruler, femme, gay, gender-adjacent, gender anarchist, gender creative, genderfluid, genderless, gender non-conforming, genderqueer, gender transcendent, graysexual, heteroflexible, homoflexible, homoromantic, homosexual, intergender, intersex, lesbian, multigender, neutrois, non-heterosexual, omnisexual, pangender, panromantic, pansexual, polygender, polysexual, pomosexual, questioning, same gender loving, sexually fluid, stone, third gender, third sex, tran(s)sexual, trans, trans*, transgender, trigender, and Two-Spirit. In addition, Queer McGill welcomes any students whose identities do not fit into the Western heteronormative gender binary, whether or not they identify as queer.
Exhausting.
24
Why should it be LGBTQLFTSQIA when it could be LGBTQLF2SQIA?
25
It's not fair that leather gets its own letter. What about rubber, smoking, diapers, piss, scuba gear, scat, fursuits, zentai, etc? I don't see those represented anywhere in the acronym.

@21 I assumed that the Q was for queer too, and that in the case of LGBTQ, "queer" was an umbrella term covering all sorts of people not represented by the other letters. Have we been misinformed? Queer is a pretty complicated term though, it seems, and carries political connotations as well. Maybe it's a bit contentious in some circles?
27
Eventually we'll all be metasexuals.
28
Dan... I love you. I hope we meet someday so I can shake your hand.
29
I don't think I have ever written that acronym. I've always wrote gays or gay rights. Before it was because I never remembered the order of the letters, now it's just out of spite. Special snowflakes need to be reminded they're not special.
30
Oh gee, here we go again. What utter nonsense LW.

Lose your job over being poly? Well I guess it is possible, but in my 24 years being out as poly I have never heard of it actually happening. In my 24 years of telling select people I am poly I never had a bad reaction from a person. At worst I have been told "I could never do that and I do not understand it". In my seven years of being completely open and honest to everyone I meet, I have never had a single negative response. Even my card carrying, flag waving, Bush loving, their son is town police officer, uber conservative next door neighbors have kept their mouths shut about how we live our lives.

What does that mean? It means the vast majority of all your worries are in your head and not real. Which is fine except when you pass it off as actual persecution. Give me real stories where you were somehow wronged after coming out or STFU. I have challenged other in the closet poly people with this for 7 years now and still waiting for a real story of real persecution from someone. The best I have heard so far is someone saying a sort of friend found out and no longer hangs out with them anymore. Oh yeah, real persecution there. Every open poly couple I have ever met has had the se story as I have - they were all scared about telling people. Had all these crazy notion of reactions from family and friends and close coworkers. Reality is that people have their own crap to worry about. They just do not care. They came out and most people had a ton of questions, some got weirded out...and nothing major happens. So no LW, your persecution and worry is not real. It is in your head.

Signed me.

The guy going to his uber conservative company Xmas party with his two female partners tonight - that marched into his Obama hating company owners office a month ago and simply asked if I could bring both my partners and explained why. His answer? " You dog! Sure bring them both, that should be interesting".
31
Cuckold fetishists here. Please give me a "C" Vanna.
32
Gay men claim the colon? Obviously, lesbian women will claim the period.
33
@30: Thank you for that perspective.

Advice columns skew their sample heavily toward people who embody "I'm poly because I need a lot more drama than one relationship could provide," and it's nice to hear from people in the comments for whom poly (or open, or whatever nontypical arrangement) is working in a low-drama, totally normal, way.
34
I thought we were just using GSM (Gender and Sexual Minorities) now.

And I've seriously never heard of "LF" being part of the acronym...that's some BS right there. If leather gets a letter, every other possible fetish should also get one.

And doesn't the P stand for pansexual?

Really, I don't think you should get a letter unless you're an actual persecuted minority.
35
"stealing the English alphabet right under their noses one letter at a time" and "...dibs on the colon on behalf of the gays."

Hilarious. Thanks for poking fun at the UBA
36
Great letter, great response and my lenses fell on the floor while loughng at that "colonial" statement. However, the colon belongs to more natives than the gays. Haven't you heard of pegging?
37
Maybe one day we'll all just be part of the human community and that will be enough. Until then, I like the ever-growing acronym.
38
Can we just fight for Human rights... I don't mind being a part of the "H" community. No, wait, there's this new thing about the chimps being granted rights, so that won't work...

Well, if we need to keep the ever growing alphabet of an acronym, can someone work on rearranging the letters to form some semblance of a word? Would certainly make saying it easier if we could reduce it to a couple syllables instead of the mouthful it is becoming.
39
I would be fine with adding P to LGBT&P, if only my fursona wasn't a cis-gendered ligertaur who thought we solved this with "queer" back in the '90s.
40
First world problems for sure.
41
Oh, that's right, @32. In that case, I stand corrected and propose peggers to reclaim the semicolon.
42
I forget the acronym I knew and loved but it had two Ts (Trans* and Two-spirited) and two Qs (Queer and Questioning).

The one I like now is QUILTBAG.
43
"I'm calling dibs on the colon on behalf of the gays"

Okay, that is fucking funny.
44
@32 - I should have read the comments first - oustanding and well done.
45
You get a letter! And You get a letter! Everyone gets a letter!
46
Might as well take out the B, as we're ignored anyway :)
47
@16: Nope. The forward slash was appropriated in the late 60's for gay and lesbian fantasy pairings, when Kirk/Spock fan fiction started the trend. :-)

48
Lgbtq'l f'ts'qiap C'thulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!
49
QUILTBAG is fun, but +1 for the all encompassing Queer umbrella.

Although I kind of like the meta UBA [pronounced yoobah], as in "oh, yeah I'm UBA, and so is my partner."

Also loving the punctuation. Can bisexuals have the interrobang‽
50
Let's put a Z at the end too, for anyone who has ever used a zucchini as a sex toy.
51
I think, perhaps, that the trouble people have with accepting poly right now is that it's used as a 'cover' or an excuse for inappropriate behavior the way I feel like gay and lesbian used to be. That is, it gets misappropriated and then people have the wrong associations. Back when I was fresh out of college I worked for a place where one guy was out as 'poly' and he was overly affectionate with 'the girls' at the office and honestly was a total creeper. Not knowing any better, I thought this was part of the poly package. It wasn't, and shouldn't be, but he managed to convince us that it was. For the longest time I associated poly with inappropriate boundaries, a lack of respect for other people's boundaries and dishonest non-fidelity (he and his wife constantly lied to each other about how many partners they had and who.) There was a regular event for bisexual singles at a local joint and they took it over to be poly night and made it uncomfortable for everyone. The event soon folded. This was particularly upsetting to me because bisexuals get so little space in the larger queer community.

I still suspect this sort of thing is going on when people tell me they are poly, even though I know that this is the exact situation poly communities advise against and strongly discourage. All sub-communities and subcultures have to go through this 'awkward and gawky' stage where they define who ISN'T a part of their community despite words to the contrary and who also make up the subgroups of their community. I think Poly is going through this and once it does, it will actually gain much wider acceptance as people begin to understand that poly isn't just however the person in front of you defines it.
52
One problem with "queer" as an umbrella term is people who fit under the umbrella but call themselves straight - like many transsexuals, many asexuals, many polyamorists, and many fetish folks. I think we all agree that queer means not straight, right?

I think @22 has a good suggestion: "gender, sexuality, and romantic minorities"

Though that's 2 nouns and an adjective, so maybe gender, sexuality and romance instead. Hmm, who does the "romance" part speak to, really? The asexuals because they don't want it to be about sex in any way? The polyamorists who feel that they're not icky swingers?

Maybe @34 is right and GSM (Gender and Sexuality Minorities) is the way to go.

53
QUILTBAG seems to cover quite a bit, and is pronounceable (bonus!).

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.ph…

One could add an S to the end for "straight", if one felt the urge.
54
Sexual Minorities is the academic term, I believe.
55
I don't see why one can't just be honest about who you are, without the additional letter in the growing acronym.

But I whine plenty about bi-invisibility. So, IDK. <-- more letters.

A bi-side - As a writer, with a few people readin' m' words, I think it's important to set an example & be OUT, if you're any of the QUILTBAG things. ;) I posted on National Coming Out Day about being bi. Not even two full minutes later, a (gay male) FB friend snarked as his status how "allegedly" bisexual women were trying to detract from his experiences & life by "coming out". Really hurtful. So I called him on it - said hey, you weren't in my life when I got BS for this from my family, & some friends, when I first came out, you haven't known any of my girl exes, you weren't there when people tried to follow us home - & none of that mattered..and worse, he then tried to act like "oh, didn't mean you.."

Happily, his husband stuck up for me. Even more happily this put me in such a mood that there was a lady friend I like a lot, who I saw at a party later & I was feelin' feisty, & so we were makin' out like bandits.

The friendship w/ the snarker hasn't fully recovered.

Uh..what was my point..'cause the letter has not a lot to do w/ that.. ;) I get where the LW is coming from, about wanting their relationships to be valid, & I think it's great that they recognize poly isn't as much an orientation thing. I see way more poly relationships around me than I used to. Freedom for all is the goal - but American closed-mindedness is such a huge hydra that working on lopping off one head at a time is wise. Getting marriage equality in all 50 states is what we're focusing our energies on. I don't want to say to poly friends "get in line", 'cause that sucks, & I know how it feels to be excluded. Just, we gotta work for the change we can attain - which is happening! - & then clarify the issues that would surround multiple-partner recognition.

My opinion only, sponsored by Sudafed & its related dopiness.
56
I have a set of poly pals over for dinner frequently, BTW, & there's a subset of my non-poly pals that're all like: ewwww. As if bein' poly was spread by cooties & they're worried about catching it. *eyeroll* FFS.

Non-poly pals: So, what was THAT like?
Me: Like dinner? With a couple of extra place settings?
N.P.P.: I just don't *get* that.
Me: You don't have to, it's not your life.
N.P.P.: It just seems complicated. Like, they just want attention.
Me: Good thing your monogamous relationship isn't complicated at all, right?
N.P.P.: ....

57
This is the funniest naming committee ever (I'm looking at you, Dan Savage, and #39, though not only you).
59
Mr Ophian - While the all-encompassing Queer has the advantage of simplicity, it lets the Unqueer define us by whom they let into or exclude from their club.

I don't see this as an umbrella, but as a bus being driven by vote. The qualifications for a ticket have become so loose that way too many anti-same-sexers can get on. Once they figure this out, they can pack the bus, take it over, and drive it far away.

It's probably time for subdivisions anyway.
60
@30 I definitely agree that this LW is overstating the risk that being out and poly entails. That said, I still want to point out that FMF triads are by far the poly relationship structure most accepted by the mainstream. People in general (from what I have seen anyway) can wrap their heads around it more easily because dudes with two chicks deserve a high-five and all that. Even your conservative boss playfully called you a dog for having two female partners. On the flip side, I have seen female friends with two male partners get a lot of flack for being sluts. So much so that I personally thought it constituted harassment at work when their private lives were revealed one way or another. I wouldn't say that is universal- maybe you know MFM triads who are treated respectfully or your female partners have additional male partners themselves with no hassle. I do think FMF triads get less flack overall, though.
61
Mr. Ven, @59, I think of it less like a bus and more like a barbarian horde--the good kind--like the Huns*. They were not so much an ethnicity or race, but an amalgam of disparate peoples that got together to kick ass.

*I'm not putting forth a valuation of the Huns as good. I am saying a loose--but concerted--affiliation of Gender, Sexuality, and Relational Minorities and allies could kick ass, and that would be [is] good.
62
I've seen this (jokingly and lovingly) referred to as LMNOP. As in, wherever in the alphabet you identify.
63
Mr O - Well, I think it's time to split up into about three or four tanks anyway, and those tanks making a concerted effort could probably have a considerable effect.
64
Ms Hopkins - Interesting story. I think you'd be justified in experimenting to see if Julius King's theory that Any Couple Can Be Separated has validity or not, perhaps pulling back at the crucial moment and letting the twerp know that you could have destroyed his relationship, but now he'll forever owe it to an alleged bisexual woman.

If it weren't for my own tendency to give what people always thought were curiously-assorted dinner parties when I was socially at my most active, I might have been surprised to read of people getting persnickety over dinner invitations.

But I'd advise you if you're at all so inclined to establish yourself as the authority on mixing poly with weddings - if there isn't one already from outside the group in question. Just think of all the questions. If it weren't past my bedtime, I'd list a dozen. It could be quite an enjoyable pursuit.
65
60. I have known out MFM triads too. If a few flat looks or off color comments are all someone has to worth about, then comparing it to the bigotry of anti gay groups is laughable. There are no anti poly groups. I have never seen a national news item about someone fired over being poly. Never heard of anyone being beaten up for being poly. Never heard of people being asked to leave a public place for being poly. Etc etc etc. The whole victim card the LW laid on is bullshit. I am tired of seeing it because it undermines real discrimination issues against the lbgt community. My mother is married to a woman and my son came out at 13, and is now 15. I have been around the gay community my entire life. They have legit worries about coming out. Our kids have been out to people at school for 7 years. Never a single negative situation. My son has been out as gay for two years and he will tell you the landslide of crap that has come his way about that. No comparison.

As for the comment about acceptance of us because we are a FFM, also incorrect as we make it clear to everyone that both female partners have and will have again other male lovers. If anything women have been extra supportive of me and then for that. It has been seen as the ultimate in feminist ideal.
66
Not every non-straight person identifies as queer, and some queer theorists have argued that straight people can be queer too.

But in the end who the fuck cares? PPP already fits somewhere on the spectrum: chances are extremely high that she's either straight or bisexual. So why doesn't she just call herself what she is, and come out about her "additional life partners" if she really feels the pressing need to?

I dunno, maybe non-traditional relationship arrangements are the next battleground, but there are limits on amount of information I want to know about other people's sex lives.
67
Whatever happened to TLAs? :(
68
A compilation plus some ideas --
: gay
. lesbian
?! bi
/ sf kink
* trans
; peggers
| straight
{} poly (since brackets enclose a group)
? questioning
# BDSM
" pan (I like men. Ditto! I like women. Ditto!)
∅ asexual (empty set. actually, that's probably pretty rude. hmm...oh, there we go! ... asexual. (Q. What do you like in sex? A. ...))
$ sex worker
+ sex-positive or GGG
´ leather/fetish (sex with something added, as in the accent mark?)
69
@65 Oof I worded my other post pretty poorly, sorry about that. I look back now and wonder if it came off as disrespectful of your particular relationships. That's not at all what I meant (I have a bad case of Internet foot in mouth). I 100% agree about your point regarding what gay people versus what poly people face. I honestly couldn't even get through the original letter without rolling my eyes. I added the caveat (should have put it at the beginning) that you may know MFM triads and/or that your female partners have other male partners with no big conflict from the outside. I am happy to hear that is the case. I wasn't trying to claim this was a universal thing, though that must not have come out well. Seriously, I am sorry if I trivialized your/their relationships. Being a dick was not my intention, I actually enjoyed your post and nodded along with it.

The example you gave of your boss reacting to bringing your two female partners reminded me of two friends. Anecdotes aren't anecdata but their stories did reflect some of the attitudes I saw back home. They were both in the same major metropolitan area in the Northeast but they worked at two different companies in very different fields. They were not the sort to bring up their relationships gratuitously but they didn't hide them either. They were not the special snowflake sort at all. They both were pretty aggressively harassed by a few male coworkers when said coworkers realized they had more than one boyfriend from a few careless comments. In one case HR just didn't want to get involved beyond repeating the sexual harassment policy to the coworkers. In the other case it really sucked- it was a small privately owned startup and the owners didn't care, even when a coworker stashed her desktop at work with pornographic material and made sexual jokes about her in meetings (which is just so much what the fuck I was shocked hearing it). They may have been harassed anyway but their having more than one boyfriend seemed to escalate shady behavior and attracted some inappropriate interest in their sex lives. They both quit those jobs in a matter of months after deciding it wasn't worth fighting uphill and getting outside authorities involved.

I think they would agree that isn't a tenth of the crap an LGBT person would get. Actually it may have been one of those friends who once said in passing that dating other women was more difficult than having multiple boyfriends in terms of flack received in her own experience. It sucked but they eventually found other jobs and filed it under "tough titties, got over it." They were very guarded after that and lied about their weekend plans and such if asked directly when chit-chatting at the office water cooler. The weird looks are to be expected, sure. It did seem that FFM triads were generally more understood there, though they still attracted weird looks and tsk tsks. Or maybe I should say they just attracted less of the aggressive variety of attention. Or maybe that area is particularly screwed up. It's a cornucopia of effed up woo hoo!
70
I actually like 68 lots- it would make Dan's letters shorter- you can just type "Hi, I'm a +|# dating a +|...." Good work! Oh, can I call @ for female-identified or female-bodied people? (since it looks like a "flower"- Georgia O'Keefe eat your heart out...).
71
Oh, and % for male-identified or male-bodied people.
72
+1 @68, 70, 71.
73
love the @ and %.
and how about ≈ for monogamish (that's the symbol for approximately equal to, for you non-mathematically inclined)