A guide to the LGTBQIA+ concept and the background story of feminism
Dear fellow students,
I am writing on behalf of the Pride Society to talk about inclusivity, bisexuality, and feminism. To begin with, I would like to introduce you to the concept LGTBQIA+ – probably most of you know what it means and what it stands for. For those who don’t, a quick recap of basic terms:
Lesbian, the term is used to describe female-identified people attracted romantically, erotically, and/or emotionally to other female-identified people.
Gay, (1) this term is used in some cultural settings to represent males who are attracted to males in a romantic, erotic and/or emotional sense. Not all men who engage in “homosexual behaviours” identify as gay, and as such, this label should be used with caution. (2) Also, a term used to refer to the LGBTQI community as a whole, or as an individual identity label for anyone who does not identify as heterosexual.
Bisexual, usually a person emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to males/men and females/women. This attraction does not have to be equally split between genders and there may be a preference for one gender over others.
Transgender, a person who lives as a member of a gender other than that expected based on anatomical sex; sexual orientation varies and is not dependent on gender identity.
Queer, it’s an umbrella term which embraces a matrix of sexual preferences, orientations, and habits of the not-exclusively- heterosexual-and-monogamous majority. Queer includes lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transpeople, intersex persons, the radical sex communities, and many other sexually transgressive (underworld) explorers. Moreover, this term is sometimes used as a sexual orientation label instead of ‘bisexual’ as a way of acknowledging that there are more than two genders to be attracted to, or as a way of stating a non-heterosexual orientation without having to state who they are attracted to.
A reclaimed word that was formerly used solely as a slur but that has been semantically overturned by members of the maligned group, who use it as a term of defiant pride. ‘Queer’ is an example of a word undergoing this process. For decades ‘queer’ was used solely as a derogatory adjective for gays and lesbians, but in the 1980s the term began to be used by gay and lesbian activists as a term of self-identification. Eventually, it came to be used as an umbrella term that included gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. Nevertheless, a sizable percentage of people to whom this term might apply still hold ‘queer’ to be a hateful insult, and its use by heterosexuals is often considered offensive. Similarly, other reclaimed words are usually offensive to the in-group when used by outsiders, so extreme caution must be taken concerning their use when one is not a member of the group.
Intersexed, someone whose sex a doctor has a difficult time categorizing as either male or female. A person whose combination of chromosomes, gonads, hormones, internal sex organs and/or genitals differs from one of the two expected patterns.
Ally, is someone who confronts heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, heterosexual and genderstraight privilege in themselves and others; a concern for the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex people; and a belief that heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are social justice issues.
The plus at the end of the term is used to give space to all the rest of different sexualities, genders and orientations of the 60 that are out there, and this helps the community to get closer together.
So why is it important to embrace every human, no matter their orientation, nor sexuality or gender? I believe that in order to develop this answer further I need to talk about bisexuality and the feminist movement.
In 1948, Alfred Kinsey, interview over 20.000 people in order to describe the sexual behaviour of the human. He created the Kinsey scale, where there were seven different grades of sexual tendency, from the absolute heterosexuality up to the full homosexuality. This was the first time something of this scale happened. Up to that moment, the sexuality stayed in the most intimate side for both the scientific community as well as the society.
The word bisexual appears for the first time during the XIX century, being used to describe what later on would be known as a hermaphrodite and that now we know as intersexuality. The University of Cornell and the University of Essex did a research study where they analysed the dilatation of the eyes of the volunteers while they were watching porn. On their conclusions, they observed that the lesbians had a stronger response while watching lesbic sex. Also, heterosexuals got excited while watching lesbic sex, and moreover, men, in general, experienced a bigger eye dilatation when they watched masturbation videos, no matter the gender.
So overall, the study proved that in a bigger or lower way, all of them were bisexual. But, isn’t sex the attraction, and love a mere physics matter? How does culture and society influence our own perceptions? Would a Rusian man, as an example, have a higher probability to identify himself as bisexual if he was born in Barcelona? Would most of our mothers be lesbians or bisexuals if they were born in 2020? Do we choose what we are? Or is our surroundings and environment who does?
Generation Z is the one less heterosexual of history. Based on a study published on the British paper “The Telegraph” those born between 1994 and 2010, are “the least heterosexuals”: only 66% considers themselves exclusively heterosexual. If we compare it with Millenials, only 71%, and with generation X, it reduces up to 88%. 2018 was a record year for LGBT characters in fiction. The GLAAD annual TV diversity report pointed out that 8.8% of 857 series. Moreover, it was a historic year for racial diversity, more than 50% of the LGBTQIA+ characters were performed by racial people.
I would like to finish this article with a short history of feminism. Feminism is the social and political movement that aims for the freedom of the women. Equality with men will be a consequence of this freedom. Let’s assume that women have been subjugated to man through centuries, due to its reproductive capacity as well as their biological differences. To understand the origin of patriarchy, we need to talk about sex and their differences, because the term gender is a cultural concept that appears in the ’70s (1970) in order to explain the roles and stereotypes to whom is assigned based on their sex. Some experts state that the beginning of the submission of the woman appears with the private property. When humans were nomads, the hierarchic relations where more relaxed and therefore, the aggression episodes were more exceptional. During the hunter-recollected societies, women took place in the community equally. They had the most important role as they were in charge of the reproduction and the line of succession was maternal. The kids were of the community and raised within the society.
When they start to be farmers and ranchers, they establish as sedentary communities. In order to avoid wars among tribes, they start exchanging women in order to generate marital alliances. The societies with more women could have more kids that were used as labour. Later on, women would we bought or sold as slaves, where they would have to have sexual performances as part of their job, and the kids would be the owner’s property.
When they start to have a surplus of production and accumulate some wealth it’s the moment where private property appears. At that time the principle of “mater semper certa est” (the woman that gives birth will always be the mother of the child), men started to get worried, as they needed to make sure the kids that were born were theirs, as they would have to raise and maintain, and if they were men they would be their heirs.
However, it’s interesting to admit, that on average, men are superior in strength than women, but not all men are. Thus, throughout history, it wasn’t the biggest or stockiest man the ones who got higher positions in the population hierarchies, but those with specific social abilities or certain capacities to impose rules and judgments. Some theorise that the origin of the patriarchy is determined for the strength of the man against women. However, the patriarchy is the social, cultural and political structure where men are the higher authority. It is a power system where there is an oppressor, men, and an oppressed, women. Throughout history, we gave a legitimization of this system and a reason why men should have this position of power above women, with a strong religious and philosophical character. Aristoteles supported that women were merely a receptacle where his genetic heirs were gestated. He was the one to constitute life through his sperm, she was only the material where the child would raise. This reminds us of the traditional view of the ovule as a passive and submissive in front of the sperm, where they fight the race to fecundate it. However, now is known that it is the ovule who chooses the winner in an active way, based on their genetic charge of the gamete.
I wanted to talk about all of this today, to understand that love doesn’t understand of borders or races, of gender nor religions. It is time that all of us support each other. If you are a woman that is reading this, go out in the streets and protest for what is yours. Don’t stand the Status Quo. If you are a man, support your colleagues and friends, be on their side for whatever they need. If you see an aggression to someone, no matter what kind, if racial, for their sexual orientation, or their gender, step up and know that #ItStopsWithMe because together we can change the world.