So the headline might be a bit of an overstatement, but bear with me.
I recently got "pinged" for a post I'd written for the Family Equality Council Blog. That post is called, "It's STILL Elementary," referring to the recently released documentary of the same name. The ping (or, for the less blog savvy, the notification that someone had directly linked to my post on another website) came from the Alliance Defense Fund -- you know, one of the nastiest, most well-funded radical right organizations out there.
Why, you ask, did my post get pinged?
It appears that the folks (aka fiends) at the ADF felt it necessary to put out an "Alliance Alert" on the addition of the Q to LGBT. Mind you, my post had very little to do with the substance of Q, but used the acronym LGBTQ a number of times.
For us at the Family Equality Council, the Q stands for queer. We decided to add the Q in recognition of a couple of things: (1) Put plainly, it's the term of the next generation, and (2) it can be read as a more inclusive, umbrella-type term, though hardly everyone in our community sees it that way, and we often engage in difficult discussions with members and other folks about it.
Q, as many of you know, can also mean "questioning," often in the context of youth who are figuring out their sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. In retrospect, I was a "queer youth" long before I was a gay one. My same-sex attractions flickered on and off for a couple of years before I fully recognized and embraced them, and then applied the term to myself that seemed most appropriate to an exclusively same-sex attracted male -- that term being "gay."
But if I'm talking to someone who can juggle more than one identity for a person at a time, I would identify myself as sexually gay and politically queer, going back to that whole notion of queer as an umbrella term, recognizing (for me, at least) the shared divergences from heterosexism that queer implies and the power of organizing as a community around them.
The Alliance Defense Fund had no desire to discuss the emergence of the Q in this context, of course. They had something far more sensational in mind (if you'll excuse the extended quote):
Enter now the mysterious “Q.” The “Q” stands for “Questioning,” and its new inclusion in the acronym of sexual immorality is quite telling, as it makes remarkably clear what we’ve been saying all along, that homosexual behavior is just that-behavior. Do an internet search on LBGTQ, and you’ll see that the “Q” is now standard phraseology at our country’s educational institutions, including: Brown, Arizona State, Colgate, George Mason, Toronto, Wisconsin, Chicago, Hawaii, Manhattan, North Carolina, and Georgetown, just to name a few. See also the Wikipedia definition, where other acronyms like LGBTQQ, LGBTQ2, LGBU, LGBTI, LGBTT, LGBTA, LGBTTTIQQA, FABGLITTER, etc., are fully described. Like Pinocchio’s nose, the acronym grows longer with each added lie.
There's something oddly satisfying in knowing that right wingers spend time crafting such statements -- doing internet research on queer sexualities, encountering and taking note of things like "FABGLITTER" (which is real, by the way, standing for Fetish Allies Bisexual Gay Lesbian Intersexed Transgender Transsexual Engendering Revolution). That's hot.
All bizarre/delightful visions of right wingers writing FABGLITTER on a Post-It Note aside, the downside of this attention to our terms is that they're using the "questioning" iteration of the Q to "prove" their point about sexuality being merely a choice -- a set of behaviors we could do without for the "greater good," but don't, because we're hedonistic, awful people. So they say.
Apparently we can't choose what urges to acknowledge, what feelings to follow, which people to love without that being a negative thing -- unless, of course, we can prove that we absolutely can't help ourselves, and thus why the "don't blame me for who I am I was born this way" argument comes in.
The Right's going to do what the Right's going to do, so I don't claim to be making any suggestions here about how we should approach the Q so that we don't give them more ammo to aim at us. I just thought it was worth pointing out that they're watching, always watching, and that, at the end of the day, I really think they're watching because...
They are all ones of us :)
P.S. The "like Pinocchio's nose..." comment is one of the gayest things I've ever heard!