Urvashi Vaid’s comments on the passing of Paula Ettelbrick remind us that “LGBT” is not a monolithic group that shares all the same desires and interests. There are many differences and disparities hidden behind those letters and also hidden in the now somewhat passe phrase “lesbian-and-gay.” We need to continue to struggle to address the sexism and racism that inhere even within our movment to ensure that social and economic justice, equality and freedom apply to all.
I don’t know what LGBT means anymore, but I do know that when it’s used in academic research–and we all use it–no one is really talking about the thing as a whole, but about parts of it. There are very few statements that can be made about “LGBT” that apply to all. And as bisexuals have known for a long time, the “B” is usually silent. We CAN work together but let’s not lose our histories, our complexities, and our differences to a soundbite that is useful for the media, but has little other value.