North Texas Daily

Denton queer community becomes more inclusive

Denton queer community becomes more inclusive

Denton queer community becomes more inclusive
September 12
08:03 2013

Mollie Jamison / Staff Writer

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities across the country have added more letters to the LGBT acronym in an effort to be more inclusive.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Denton has changed its name to GLAD: UNT’s Queer Alliance, to include the “other letters of the alphabet soup,” President and theater junior Kathleen Shattuck said.

“If you want to get really specific, it’s LGBTQQIAA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and ally),” said Vice President Sienna Riehle, a choral music education junior. “We don’t go by ‘GLAD’ anymore for that very reason. GLAD used to be the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Denton, but we obviously want to cater to everyone in the queer community, rather than focus on a specific group.”

Shattuck said the organization focuses on making sure that their members know that the “L” and “G” are not the only letters in LGBTQQIAA that matter.

“We hope that all members of the community feel comfortable, safe and welcome at our meetings and events,” Shattuck said.

Shattuck said some people complain that the growing acronym is too long and too hard to remember and difficult to keep up with.

“To leave out all the other letters beyond LGBT would be to ignore all the other facets of the community and set them apart as ‘other’ which completely contradicts our goals and ideals for community building and support,” Shattuck said.

Riehle said people’s responses to the long acronym are varied but that generally people love it or hate it.

“I’ve met a lot of people who think the acronym isn’t long enough,” Riehle said. “Where is the mention of genderfluidity, pansexuality, or polyamory? I personally don’t mind the acronym, but I typically use the term ‘queer,’ as a quick catchall, to avoid leaving anyone out. That being said, all sexualities and identities are equally important, and worth talking about.”

In order to avoid alienating certain groups, Riehle said that GLAD: UNT’s Queer Alliance holds special meetings to highlight the “other colors of the rainbow.”

“It keeps the focus off of the gay-straight divide and helps to educate our members about all kinds of people, including those whom they may not have met or known they have met,” Riehle said.

Clark Pomerleau, the organization’s faculty advisor and associate professor of history, said the longer acronym has been around for more than seven years.  He said the concept of the acronym originated in the early 1970s when organizations were calling themselves ‘gay.’

“Lesbian members of those organizations started to say ‘hey that’s not really inclusive to us, and we want these organizations to say gay and lesbian,’” Pomerleau said. “By the 1990s bisexual Americans and trans Americans were realizing that even if institutions said they were for gay people they weren’t necessarily doing anything to create space and resources for bi and trans people. So we get the ‘B’ and the ‘T’ added.”

Pomerleau said the acronym is more about creating inclusion and not erasing the diversity within that movement.

GLAD: UNT’s Queer Alliance meets every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Shattuck said the location for each meeting is posted every Tuesday on their Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Feature graphic by Fey Sandoval / Staff Photographer 

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