Are you queer or unpronounceable?

I remember when there was a gay community. Then we started calling it the “LGB” (or “GLB”) community. Then it became “LGBT”, and finally (I thought) “LGBTQ”. The word “queer” can mean pretty much anybody, so “Q” was the last letter we needed.

I just learned recently that more letters jumped on the train while I wasn’t paying attention. Some people say “LGBTQI” (intersex), and some say, or at least write, “LGBTQIA” (asexual). Honestly, can anyone say “LGBTQIA” out loud with a straight face? It’s hard not to break into a song, like this:

Is something quite atrocious
If you say it loud enough
You’ll always sound precocious

How many more letters are we going to add? UC Davis’s LGBTQIA Resource Center has a long glossary of words related to what’s between our legs and what we do with it (but not the word “LGBTQIA”, which would be too obvious). I guarantee you’ve never heard of half the words on that list. Who picked two of those words to add to the initialism, while leaving out all the others?

I’m so old-fashioned, I still talk about “gay rights”. When Ellen Degeneres said “I’m gay,” did you get upset with her for not specifying that she was a lesbian? No, because “gay” is a usefully broad term, and it’s easy to say. So is “queer”. We don’t need to enumerate every possible combination of sexuality. Nobody should print “LGBTQIA” on a bumper sticker or chant it outside the statehouse. If you want people to hear your message and take you seriously, they need to understand what you’re talking about and not think you’re Bert the Chimney Sweep. Can we just go back to “gay” and “queer”?

According to the glossary, some people say “MOGAI” instead of “LGBTQIA”. It’s an acronym, but I don’t care what it stands for. It’s pronounceable and only has two syllables, and that’s fine with me. People might think you’re saying “Moe Guy” or “more gay”, but they’ll get used to it. If you don’t think “gay” and “queer” cover enough bases, how about “MOGAI”?

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