November 6, 2005

What's with the phrase "gay men and lesbians"?

Why not just say "gay people" or "gays"? I've wanted to see some solid opinion on this subject for a long time. William Safire has a go at answering the question:
"Historically, gay represented both homosexual men and women and technically still does," says Chris Crain, editor of the gay weeklies The Washington Blade and The New York Blade, "but a number of gay women felt that gay was too male-associated and pressed to have lesbians separately identified so they weren't lost in the gay-male image." That led to such names as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. (The Washington Blade began in 1969 as The Gay Blade, a play on an old expression about a gallant.)

Diane Anderson-Minshall, executive editor of Curve, a lesbian magazine in San Francisco, agrees that the one-word adjective was expanded to set homosexual women apart: "When, in the queer world, you say 'the gay community,' the majority of the time that conjures up San Francisco's largely male Castro District, or West Hollywood or 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,' so interjecting the word lesbian into the mix is a necessary reminder that we — gay women — are not simply a subset of that larger male world but rather our own distinct community of individuals."
Safire thus explains the usage. He doesn't opine about whether the wordy phrase should be the norm. I tend to think simpler is better, but it's helpful to have a good grasp of the origin of the longer phrase and the feelings it expresses.

A whole separate question -- which I'm just going to guess Safire has already written about -- is: when should people with a particular characteristic be called a "community"?

49 comments:

chuck b. said...

I've heard lots of debate over the years about using the word "community" to describe a group or class of people.

The gay community, in distinction to what, "the straight community"? The black community as opposed to "the white community"?

It's absurd to lump together all straight people into "a community". So why lump all gays together in one? What's served by constellating people together in a community?

In the 80s people started using the word queer for the whole LGBT evertyhing. Although it was convenient to have one word, it made some people uncomfortable.

Speaking for myself and my circle of friends, we use gay for both men and women.

Mike said...

In response to the above: "Queer" as a noun is generally derogatory, while its use as an adjective has been reclaimed significantly. I'm queer, but you'd best not call me a queer. ;)

"Gay" is an adjective, too. It's occasionally used (with an "-s" suffix) as an abstract collective noun, but it's awkward-sounding.

And as for the "community" bit: one can use the word geographically without expecting that literally every person -- or even a majority of persons -- in an area is an active member in the community or considers herself part of it. The idea of "community" requires an active interest, doesn't it?

A group of people making a decision to come together to recognize their mutual interests (civil, social, political, personal, or whatever) seems as good a description of a community as any to me.

Of course, if you're apathetic about the idea of identifying along the factor(s) delineating the community, you'll probably be apathetic about the idea of such a community at all.

Palladian said...

Being a member of this "community" (the gay male one) I have to say how much I've always distrusted this tendency. There was a period in my late teens when I went to gay pride marches and pasted rainbow flags on my possessions, but this was short-lived. Being an introvert (re your post yesterday) I could never shake the distrust I had of groups and the individual-dissolving tendencies of groups. This led me to examine what it was I had in common with other homosexuals, and I could never arrive at a set of cohesive principles that could justify thinking of gay people as a community. As I developed my conservative libertarian philosophy, I became increasingly distrustful of all essentialist tribalism, whether it be race, gender, sexual orientation, religious... I've come to see this human tendency to form non-reasoned "tribal" bonds to be a vestige of our more barbarous past and one of the primary causes of misery in the world. I am less distrusting of social bonds that people choose reasonably, and of course all of the unthinking "tribalisms" I listed above can easily fit into this category as well, it's just a matter of viewpoint. But the minute someone tries to co-opt me into a group based on some essentialist argument, I turn and run in the opposite direction. (I've had people who refused to accept that I voted for Bush for any other reason than that I'm "dealing with self-hatred" because it must be pathological to vote other than left, right?)

I think some gay people feel less isolated and less vulnerable to think of themselves as part of a "community", and I can understand that. But I believe maturity and perspective often reveals these bonds to be illusory. The gay "community" as a political entity suffers from the same problem as "peace" marches and the Democratic party: mission creep. Go to any anti-war rally or gay pride parade and you will see dozens of causes airing their grievances, from the "Free Mumia" people to S&M liberation. At some point you need to ask yourself if you want to align yourself with all of these groups, and whether the fluidity of what is considered the gay community is really evidence of the fact that there's really no bonding principle there besides the fact that we all sleep with people of our gender (and given the prevalence of "straight queers" and celibate bisexuals and "de-gendered heterosexuals" and furry-lovers at these events, it's not even clear we have this most basic bond).

I always say to my friends, I'm not a member of a group, the groups are members of me.

As to the semiotics of sexual orientation distinctions, it's a pretty old convention to separate gay and lesbian, and even in the early days of the gay rights movement, there were often separate groups for men and women (the Mattachine Society in New York for men and the Daughters of Bilitis in San Francisco for women). It's still fairly uncommon for gay men and lesbians to be close friends. I once had a lesbian friend (actually she preferred "dyke") who asserted that gay and lesbian were actually different things, that the values of men and the values of women were so fundamentally different that there could be no common description of the two groups. This sort of reminds me of your post weeks ago about the woman interviewing with the group of students who stated their "pronoun". I think this distortion of language can really step over into absurdity very quickly. You almost never see gay this-or-that anymore. It's now G,L,B,TS,TG,Q... Like a very bad hand of Scrabble. I hope to see the day when there are finally so many categories added to this that it actually encompasses all of humanity and therefore disappears.

alkali said...

chuck writes:

It's absurd to lump together all straight people into "a community". So why lump all gays together in one?

This doesn't really work. It is absurd to label "all American non-Methodists" a community, but it is not unreasonable to label "American Methodists" a community.

chuck b. said...

Mike asked, "The idea of 'community' requires an active interest, doesn't it?"

I'm not convinced that it does. "Community" is a catch-all that sweeps up everyone described by the adjective it serves. If you're gay, you're assumed to be part of the gay community. I don't think it matters whether you're apathetic about joining up or not.

On a practical level, I'm not sure that it makes any difference.

But as far as language goes, the word community evokes secondary notions of welcoming and mutual caring. Again, I'm not sure how many gay people feel esp welcomed or cared about by other gay people. Noone rolls out the red carpet when you come out of the closet.

And as for queer--yes, the adjective has certainly become less derogatory, but it's still a heavy word to throw around. I wouldn't feel comfortable using it in genteel, non-queer company.

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy doesn't even use the word to directly describe a person. There's a little bit of distance there.

chuck b. said...

Alkali wrote, "it is not unreasonable to label "American Methodists" a community."

True! Because you join the Methodist community when you elect to become a Methodist. There's a joining there, a signing up, so to speak. If you're born white, your not joining up.

madcat said...

There's no easy answer to this one. As a bi woman who was in a same-sex relationship for five years and could well end up in a same-sex life partnership (although I currently am dating a man), I'm much more conscious of the current tendency to exclude bisexuals from the sexual orientation discourse than any implication that "gay" is associated mostly with men. As such, I tend to use the phrase "gay and bisexual," or to try rather to phrase things in terms of same-sex couples. While "LGBT" and "queer" are the most inclusive of phrases, the first as an acronym doesn't appeal for aestheic reason and "queer" is offensive to others. I do, however, use the acronym LGBT for the sake of accuracy when the issue I'm talking about is one that clearly involves trans* folks and their rights as well as non-trans* gay and bi folks.

As to the issue of community, we're certainly a diverse, heterogeneous community. But by necessity, LGBT communities have formed, mostly for reactive reasons. In the past, since gays and bisexuals were for all practical purposes criminalized, they needed to form safe spaces where they could hold hands with their loved ones without fear of arrest. The same need continues to a lesser degree post-Lawrence, since there remains the danger of harassment from those who either blatantly dislike gays and bisexuals and might attack us physically for merely holding hands with our partners, or to some extent, we may just be accomodating the ongoing levels of discomfort expressed by many who say they have no problems with gays and bisexuals... they just don't want us to "flaunt" it. Whatever the degree or cause of such discrimination, as long as the discrimination exists, those who would rather not risk facing the animus of other communities just for holding their partners' hand in public have felt the valid need to create their own communities, in the form of bars, women's bookstores, festivals, parades, and other "safe spaces."

Then, of course, there's the political community. By virtue of coming together politically to defend ourselves against attacks on our equal rights, we've had to create an even more tangible community through political organizations and activities.

Such communities are meaningful and valid, but, as I said, don't necessarily require or imply homogeneity (or even just homos :)

A Menken Moment said...

Speaking of malaprop, why is nobody outraged that a particular "community" has usurpted a perfectly good word whose most immediate association used to be "happy" or "joyful?" Are we to suppose, for the sake of a minority whose habits most of us would never consider delectable, that the vast number of us, men who love women and women who love men, are "sad?"

madcat said...

A Menken-

Only if your way of thinking is governed by polarized dichotomies.

Logic does not dictate that if homosexuals and bisexuals are allowed to claim a happy (gay) identity, they are necessarily saying anything negative about YOU.

I would warn against being trapped by unfortunate polarizing "us vs. them" paradigms, needing to view "the other" as negative, especially just because they are identifying in a positive way... which should pose no threat to you.

A Menken Moment said...

madcat

There is something to what you say, but much would depend on how militant homosexuals (may I use that word?) become if I, for whatever style of thinking I may wish to adopt, should demur.

John Althouse Cohen said...

I had a gay friend who hated to be called a "lesbian." To her, "lesbian" evoked a dowdy, middle-aged couple. She'd say, "I'm in my 20s: I'm a gay woman."

why is nobody outraged that a particular "community" has usurpted a perfectly good word whose most immediate association used to be "happy" or "joyful?"

No need to be outraged, there are plenty of synonyms for "happy" that you can still use. Or, if you're ever in a situation where "gay" (meaning happy) is the only word that really pins down what you're trying to express, then go ahead and use "gay" and let people figure it out from the context.

stoqboy said...

I live in the Alt-house community. Come visit.

A Menken Moment said...

John,

I must thank you for your kind permission. Most attentively shall I keep your counsel in mind whenever I make bold to speak. wink ...

...Upon reflection, however, I recognize that I should have left off "outraged." "Bemused" would have been more accurate. If I can for the moment claim a victim's status, I will say that I was responding to the dis-ease over the use of the word "community," which concern Ann introduced into the thread.

Nevertheless, I am still convinced that I can detect more than just a whiff of PC among your and madcap's comments. Am I failing adequately to comprehend the legitimacy of the "other?" Perhaps, but please don't snitch on me to that red cadre in charge of reeducation.

Roger Sweeny said...

I think it was back in the early '80s, as "community" was being used to refer to more and more things, that I saw a reference to something like the
"non-reinforced concrete construction community."

It was a liberating moment. I realized that the word no longer had to refer to anything actually like a community. It had become just a way of saying "something in common."

Brendan said...

Sorry, but "homosexual" should cover it all. When writing, I never use the term "gay/lesbian" unless it's used in an official title or via attribution. Minority groups do not have the right to determine how the rest of us refer to them. Besides, "gay" is a loaded, politicized word.

A Menken Moment said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
michael a litscher said...

I use the word homosexual to describe both.

Every time the ministry of truth sends me their latest revision of the newspeak dictionary, I'm careful to place it in it's proper place - the garbage can.

Mary in NC said...

Brendan said "Minority groups do not have the right to determine how the rest of us refer to them. Besides, "gay" is a loaded, politicized word."

"Minority groups" is a loaded, politicized phrase, especially when you are doling out who has "rights". "homosexual" is a loaded, politicized word - chosen by the majority, who, apparently, have rights some of us do not.

PatCA said...

The main problem with the new meaning(s) of "community" is that too often the word is used by some demagogue for political purposes, to claim knowledge of what a whole bunch of individuals think or want.

I can therefore see Brendan's point. It would be like me getting ticked off because someone called me an American instead of a Celtic American...I mean Irish American. Well, Irish-French-American.

Brendan said...

"Minority groups" is a loaded, politicized phrase, especially when you are doling out who has "rights". "homosexual" is a loaded, politicized word - chosen by the majority, who, apparently, have rights some of us do not.

Baloney. It's a clinical, sociological term. It's no more loaded or inappropriate than "heterosexual."

A Menken Moment said...

Mary,

Just what right are those in the majority claiming that any in the minority have not?

"Homosexual" means merely what it says, a greco-latinate adjectival form of a plain designation for those whose "sexual"-ity is directed towards those who are of the same,"homo," gender as themselves. There is no semantic, and even less, political distortion here.

A privileged claim on the word "gay," pace madcap, which historically has referred to an emotional state that anyone might experience, is quite another animal.

Right, one must allow, is granted equally to both appellations, but good grace and common sense? I think not.

wildaboutharrie said...

Brendan said "Minority groups do not have the right to determine how the rest of us refer to them."

Just curious - do you feel this holds for all 'minority groups'?

John Althouse Cohen said...

"Homosexual" means merely what it says, a greco-latinate adjectival form of a plain designation for those whose "sexual"-ity is directed towards those who are of the same,"homo," gender as themselves. There is no semantic, and even less, political distortion here.

A privileged claim on the word "gay," pace madcap, which historically has referred to an emotional state that anyone might experience, is quite another animal.


That is all just talking about what the words have meant at some point in the past. You can insist that people need to always use words only as they were originally used, but you're not going to have much success. The fact is that "happy" is no longer the primary sense of "gay," and "homosexual" is disproportionately (not always) used by those who are not especially gay-friendly.

A Menken Moment said...

The fact is that "happy" is no longer the primary sense of "gay," and "homosexual" is disproportionately (not always) used by those who are not especially gay-friendly.

So, if I refuse to respect the entymology of words or consider their historical meanings, I must cower in the coventry to which the most clamorous partisans of fleeting contemporary meanings will send me? Such meanings are always in contention and will certainly change again as time, tide, and political fashion moves on.

As to "success," if I can find success among those who respect clear thinking in the use of words, I'll happily forgo such disapprobation as the Act Up crowd may cast upon me, if you please.

And, while we are at it, where in the constitution does it say that I must be gay-friendly? All I must do is respect their enumerated rights; never am I obligated to cater to their feelings.

John Althouse Cohen said...

So, if I refuse to respect the entymology of words or consider their historical meanings, I must cower in the coventry to which the most clamorous partisans of fleeting contemporary meanings will send me?

Yeah, pretty much.

And, while we are at it, where in the constitution does it say that I must be gay-friendly? All I must do is respect their enumerated rights; never am I obligated to cater to their feelings.

I agree with you that the Constitution doesn't require you to be gay-friendly.

...Wait, who said anything about entymology?

A Menken Moment said...

"So, if I refuse to respect the entymology of words or consider their historical meanings, I must cower in the coventry to which the most clamorous partisans of fleeting contemporary meanings will send me?

Yeah, pretty much."

You're right! I'll be sliced and diced by the PC crowd, cut up into little sections like a bug.

See what happens when I lapse into sloppy subjectivism and stray from the venerable cannons of etymology?

madcat said...

...and for that matter, since when are the rights guaranteed by the Constitution limited to enumerated rights?

Last I checked, the Ninth Amendment reserves unenumerated rights to all people, not just heterosexuals.

Or are you not a strict constructionist/textualist, and think the text of the Ninth Amendment can just blatantly be disregarded at your whim?

A Menken Moment said...

Please, do not speak to me about whims, especially if you really mean to assert that my first amendment right to free speech is trumpted by some imagined right of respect that I "owe" to homosexuals or some necessity to avoid using that catch-22 notion, hate speech. There are whims enough among the living constitution crowd to confuse rational discussion for decades.

You remind me of the fellow who thinks the commerce clause extends to infinity or who loves to speculate on penumbras and emanations. Certes I had rather be known as a textualist than such a one of those, if you please.

Would not the discussion proceed more civilly if we both agreed to cease speculating about whims?

Performing Bear said...

"Community" is used as an abbreviation --see Performing Bear for a post on the subject of abbreviations--to describe an aggregate of individuals presumably sharing one or more characteristics. The trouble with the term is the trouble with all generalizations. Among other things, they encourage stereotypes. And it's lazy thinking.

Rather than deal with individuals, one lumps facile similarities together to create a "community."

In politics, conservatives prefer to emphasize individuality, not group identity. I suppose, however, that political power in this pluralistic system of ours comes only with banding together into communities of interest.

Tell the Iraqis how it's it done in the good old U.S.A.

A Menken Moment said...

As for the ninth amendment, I believe it says that it reserves unenumerated rights to the states and to the people.

Now, we may quibble about what "people" means in this context, especially when placed in relation to the "states." I admit that I am not familiar with the historical debates. But I'll go out on a limb and hypothesize that they refer to what the "people" of the various states "decide" in their legislatures, always subject, of course, to the states' constitutions and to the federal constitution above.

How this should harmonize with the 14th Amendment I am not sure. I must leave such discussion to those of Ann's friends who are learned in the law. I am open to instuction, but I think I can read the First Amendment as well as anybody else. I still cannot find where I must tender especial deference to homosexuals, where I am obligated to refer to them as "gays."

A Menken Moment said...

My apologies, I have conflated the Ninth with the Tenth Amendment. As I said, I am open to instruction here. My first question would be: have there been cases where it seemed that words in the Ninth would militate against words in the Tenth. If so, how have such cases been resolved?

madcat said...

No, actually, the Ninth Amendment says nothing about states, and most certainly does reserve unenumerated rights to the people:

"The enumeratin in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

I'm really not sure how a strict constructionist or textualist could look at this language and then state that homosexuals are only entitled to those rights enumerated in the Constitution.

That's all I'm saying.

madcat said...

Griswold v. Connecticut might be viewed as such a case, since it pitted state powers against individual rights and explicitly mentioned the ninth amendment among others as among the constitutional sources of the right to privacy, much to the dismay of those who prefer state power over individual liberty and rights, especially where such rights are unenumerated...

You may not like the concept of penumbras, but to deny unenumerated rights as emanating from the penumbras is to disregard the very text of the Ninth Amendment, which is contrary to the principles of strict constructionsim.

Fun dilemma, eh?

But we're getting off topic.

Other than the fact that Griswold and its progeny line of reproductive privacy rights cases was cited by the Court in its 6-3 Lawrence opinion in which it held that gays and bisexuals do indeed have the right to "demand respect." (yes, exact quote).

Not that the Court is saying you have to LIKE me... nor do you have to call homosexuals "gays"... you can call me a loaf of bread, for all I care. All I would question, and have questioned, is 1) the implication that if homosexuals call themselves "gay," they are somehow harming you or implying that heterosexuals are therefore "sad," and 2) that gays and bisexuals... or ANY citizen, for that matter... is only entitled to enumerated rights. I just couldn't let that one slide, sorry.

A Menken Moment said...

I am going to have to plod here.

The Ninth Amendment seems to be saying that there is a universe of rights posessed by the "people," and that however far this universe extends and just who the "people" are (we know that in 1791, slaves were not to be considered among the "people"), nothing in the text of the federal constituion may in any form be construed to disparage ("threaten" or "curtail," I suppose) any one of the rights. (Which I interpret to mean that although the totality of the rights cannot be limited, each one of the rights can be clearly discerned.) ...

Let me leave it at this for the moment for comments from Anne's friends. I am thinking that regardless of how pertinant my thoughts may be here, many things changed when the 14th Amendment was enacted. But, textualist that I am, I at least wanted to start with the considerations offered above.

A Menken Moment said...

On Griswold,

Fair enough, madcat. Perhaps off topic but I don't see how you and I or anybody else will be able to resolve whatever needs to be resolved about the, ahem, felicity of homosexuals in a constiutional republic unless we can speak with mutual comprehension about the big constitutional cases.

That means a layman such as myself has to get to work. I have not gone to lawschool, but I can parse an English sentence, even one that is saturated with latinisms. So, I'll turn my browser to Griswold, read up, and only then, respond to your particular comments.

(I know, this thread will be dead by then, but I don't think the basic issue will die anytime soon.)

Elizabeth said...

In politics, conservatives prefer to emphasize individuality, not group identity. In rhetoric, maybe. It sure doesn't explain "Ditto, Rush!" Conservatism is as conformist as any ideology. There's plenty of twist to the rhetoric; conservatives may say they're all about individuality, but then they have to compunctions about supporting policies and laws that deny my rights based on my individual identity as a lesbian.

vbspurs said...

, I became increasingly distrustful of all essentialist tribalism, whether it be race, gender, sexual orientation, religious...

Good for you. I dislike "community" as a term for group, a lot.

There's only one community. And that's the community of all of us.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

It's now G,L,B,TS,TG,Q... Like a very bad hand of Scrabble.

*LOL*

BTW, the very expressive Brazilians have a dazzlingly funny word for those in the gayosphere, if you will.

They call them:

GLS

(pron. Eng. "zheh -- ELeh -- ESseh)

Gays, Lesbicas, e Simpatisantes.

Gays, Lesbians, and people partial to them.

They nailed it.

Cheers,
Victoria

A Menken Moment said...

Alright, I can see where Griswold is going with regard to the Ninth, and that the "penumbras" are not so radical as I had earlier believed, especially when I observe the precedents as they were built up from Meyer v. Nebraska and Pierce v. Soc. of Sisters; but I still have to wonder whether there were not some arbitrairiness involved in the judgement that while marital relations are covered under the Ninth, Lockner type contracts are not. Are the liberties of the marital relationship really more fundamental than those of the economic?

Maybe, maybe not; but I do follow madcat's observations on enumerated powers and the Ninth Amendment. It seems that there is more than a little room for interpretation. (Although I do note the reference to "tradition and the collective conscience of the people."--as the notions were wrangled with in Snyder v. Mass. and Powell v. Alabama) How would the deference to (respect for) homosexuals madcat tells me was explicated in Lawrence square with a Griswold "collective conscience" if the fact remained that the vast majority of citizens were convinced that homosexuals did not merit a Lawrence type respect?

I'll confess that my introduction to Griswold has given me much to think about as I continue to review the Ninth Amendment, but I must read much more before I can even begin to think about extendng my researches to Lawrence.

As for the tension between textualism and "living constitution," what I learned from reading Griswold is that it may be possible to read into a provision of the Constitution something that was not explicitly present ab origio, but that the new reading must bear a very strong logical connection with the original text. If I were sitting on the bench (yes, yes, I can hear the resounding hosannas thanking the Lord that I shall never earn a place in that choir), I would not depart from a strict construction unless compelled by the most rigorous of logical analyses.

All that said, I'll be rooting for Justice Alito. I'd like to hear his voice singing in that choir.

ziemer said...

my goodness,

what alot of jabber without getting anywhere.

gay men are called gay because, by and large, they are a great joy to be around. they are gay, as that term was used before it had homosexual connotations.

lesbians, by and large, are not gay. they are mean.

i have lesbian friends who are not mean, and who i love very much.

but, the fact remains, homosexual men are, by and large, gay. homosexual women are, by and large, mean.

its that simple. gay is an inappropriate description of most lesbians.

EgregiousCharles said...

My personal experience aligns with Ziemer's; all but one of the lesbians of my acquaintance seemed to harbor active predjudice against and dislike of men, including gay men, but gay men of my acquaintance do not seem to harbor the same dislike of women. It's an admittedly small sample set, but I suspect that's why lesbians demand to be set apart in terminology.

I don't know enough bisexuals of either gender to comment on them.

vbspurs said...

its that simple. gay is an inappropriate description of most lesbians.

What about queer?

They're queer ducks, right?

Cheers,
Victoria the Not-Serious, but Playing-Along Anyway

vbspurs said...

In the question of self-referential terms which were once considered epithets, Brazilians yet again add their quirky humour to the mix.

Their slang term for lesbian has been appropriated by the latter, quite normally.

Sapatão

Or "Big shoe". :)

It's like "Queer Studies" now. Bravo, I say.

I like people who don't take themselves all-that seriously, and don't cry in their beer about the dastardly unfairness of life.

Those people are winners.

Cheers,
Victoria

reader_iam said...

Me, I'm just back from attending an Episcopal Diocesan convention, one of the big issues of which was the Windsor report (which, to oversimplify, was the global Anglican Communion's reponse to the ECUSA's decision to install as Bishop a practicing--homosexual? gay? well, take your pick--man).

Thus, you can imagine there was a pervasive subtext about all the issues being discussed here--sexual orientation, "community," language use, and so forth.

What was interesting to me was that in the end, there was so much discussion about how to discuss the issues, that we never actually got around to discussing them (repetitive word choice is intentional).

For the second year in a row. With much frustration, tension, and hurt feelings all around.

Make of that what you will.

Buck Pennington said...

Victoria: You da BOMB! You are, by far, my favorite commenter in the Althouse community! Always generous and playful in nature, even when making a serious comment, and informative as all get out.

(I like your blog, too.)

Performing Bear said...

Elizibeth's response to my comment (as the latest straw on this camel's back)has convinced me to no longer generalize about politics. I can no longer refer to myself as a conservative bear because of, among other things, the anti-gay stances of many calling themselves conservative.
At times, I have described myself as a Log Cabin Republican, to brand myself a moderate. I don't know where the moderates are anymore, in either party. Lately, I've referred to myself as a liberatarian. I believe in personal responsibility, individual rights and efficient (which includes smaller) government. I have a bias toward markets but believe they need to be scrupulously regulated. See my weblog for a post on that subject.

Revenant said...

What confuses the heck out of me is when I see "queer" used separately. For example, a local pride march referred to "gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer" people.

Ok... so, it doesn't mean homosexual, it doesn't mean bisexual, it doesn't mean heterosexual, and it doesn't refer to men who identify as women or vice-versa. So what's "queer"? Someone about whom Hank Hill would say "I tell ya, that boy ain't right"?

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