Gay as an umbrella?

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Raphael

Rainbow Members
May 6, 2018
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What do people think about the debate on if gay should be an umbrella term?

I've heard lots of things from both sides. The main argument is that if you're not specifically gay as in you are someone who experiences "same-sex" attraction, you can't be "gay". But, from the other side I heard that LGBT rights are lumped in together as the umbrella gay rights so it doesn't matter.

I personally have used gay as an umbrella term and am ok with that. But, I am bi-ace so who am I to say?

Anyways, thoughts? I don't mean to start a whole discourse, I've just been wondering what people thought about this whole discourse that happens within the community.
 

Codeawayhaley

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May 6, 2018
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I think it is something that is really up to personal preference, one can use it as an umbrella term for themselves and others who also think of it as an umbrella term, but some people see it as a very specific meaning and prefer to use queer as an umbrella term.
 

Raphael

Rainbow Members
May 6, 2018
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I think it is something that is really up to personal preference, one can use it as an umbrella term for themselves and others who also think of it as an umbrella term, but some people see it as a very specific meaning and prefer to use queer as an umbrella term.
I definitely agree, though something I've noticed from parts of the community is that people don't want to use it as an umbrella term unless it's specifically said by the other person that they're ok with it. The issue with that is that you can't get everyone's opinion about if they want it as an umbrella term so what term do you use? Queer is a bit more iffy than gay because gay is more normalized (although, still being used to harm) than queer. I have friends who have really strong feelings on the word queer because of their experiences and just get really mad when people use it or don't use it as an umbrella term. It's a real difficult thing to figure out because of how people experience words and slurs and how we are marginalized by words.

But yes, I agree that we should acknowledge someone's personal preference about the terms used and using it towards the person. I guess my question was more in the broader sense.
 

Eostre

Rainbow Members
May 7, 2018
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I switch between using gay, LGBT+, and queer.

Gay for casual chat where "queer" could be dicey, LGBT+ for formal situations, and queer for casual situations where it won't upset anybody. I prefer the term queer over gay because it's more explicitly inclusive of all people who are not strictly cishet, but do understand that it's sometimes seen as offensive.

My personal issue with using "gay" for the whole community is that it's ambiguous, I once got to hear the question

Is he gay-gay?, or just gay?
get asked at my local support group.

Other than the ambiguity, I don't have any problem with it.
 
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AudryLeigh

Rainbow Members
Sep 2, 2018
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Good Lord, 

Why are people so enamored of umbrella terms? First it was "transgender" that was an umbrella term (which it is, but not all inclusive as some seemed to think), Now it's gay? As far back as I can remember (probably farther than anyone else on this site), "gay" has meant either "lighthearted and carefree" (now the second definition), or referred to a homosexual male. How on earth can it suddenly become an umbrella term, and an umbrella that covers what, exactly? If we are searching for a single word or term to describe the entire LGBTTQQIAAN+++ community, how about NCH, for non-cis-het? It's a lot easier to describe what we are not than it is to come up with one word that describes what we are (collectively), and redefining words can only lead to confusion and argument. I'm surprised no one is screaming "lesbian erasure" here. If gay is an umbrella term, what do we call homosexual men?

Worth noting (I think) is that lesbian, bisexual, and gay are sexual preferences, transsexual is a medical condition, and transgender is about gender. The baseline acronym is already inconsistent, but at least there is a letter for each of the old-line categories that differentiates them. If gay is an umbrella term, then we are lumping sex, preference, and gender all together, as if they were some kind of homogeneous mass, which they are not. If you really want an umbrella term, how about "people."
 

IntoMyWorld

Rainbow Members
Sep 3, 2018
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I am a gay male and I hate other people using the word gay. I'm sick of lesbians saying they are gay women.

Gay is for men who like men. It's that simple. 

Why are people trying to erase Gay men all of a sudden?

Every other letter of the community has it's own words. But somehow the one word gay men gets stolen and plastered onto everything else. 
 
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AudryLeigh

Rainbow Members
Sep 2, 2018
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I'm sick of lesbians saying they are gay women.
The lesbians I know object to being referred to as "gay women," and that's a term you don't hear around these parts.

Gay is for men who like men. It's that simple.
It is simple. I don't know why people think they have a need to, or the right to go changing the definition of words, just because they think it's how things should be. I still can't understand how "transsexual" came to be a derogatory term, or how it came to be included under the transgender umbrella. Neither of those things is true, and neither makes any more sense than trying to lump everything under "gay." These words have had their meanings for a long time, and just because somebody can stick anything they want to on Wikipedia, doesn't mean shit. It pisses me off that people take such liberties with language these days.

I completely disagree with using "gay" to mean anything other than what it has meant for years. You won't catch me doing it, and you can bet I'll jump right down the throat of anyone who does.
 
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Codeawayhaley

Moderator
Staff member
May 6, 2018
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Why are people so enamored of umbrella terms?
Because umbrella term makes it easier to discuss things involving all of a group, and the difficulty of coming up with a umbrella term is that humans are fluid, and all terms will eventually be replaced with newer terms while older terms fade into obscurity, that is as much to do with how people identify, as much as it is language evolution.

Gay is for men who like men. It's that simple. 

Why are people trying to erase Gay men
Firstly it wasn't always just men who like men it took a while from its adoption to be a less scientific jargon synonym to homosexual to what it is mostly used today for, ie men who like men, however you got also remember depending on region that distinction never truely took hold so very much depends on the dialect of English used.

As for people trying to erase gay men I really don't think that is the intention, and you kind of used it just then in a way that implies gay can be used as an adjective for other groups "gay men" which is also how most people who do used as a umbrella for not-heterosexual do tend to use it when specifically reffering to men (while I don't personally use it as an umbrella term).
 

AudryLeigh

Rainbow Members
Sep 2, 2018
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I think it is something that is really up to personal preference
I'm sorry, but the meaning of words is not an issue of personal preference. Words mean what they mean, and if you let personal preference enter into it, pretty soon we're going to have dialects that only the people who are part of the little piece of the sub-culture who agree on a set of incorrect meanings can understand. Th entire reason we have dictionaries (Wikipedia is NOT a dictionary, BTW) and standardized meanings for words is to avoid misunderstandings. If people start using personal preference to define words, they will simply be inviting misunderstanding, which I thought was something we all wanted to avoid.

I prefer the term queer over gay because it's more explicitly inclusive of all people who are not strictly cishet, but do understand that it's sometimes seen as offensive.
Queer is loosely defined, but "gay" neither explicitly nor implicitly includes all people who are not strictly cishet, and using it in that way, in any setting or context is simply incorrect. As 1@IntoMyWorld[/USER]implied, using the term "gay" to mean anything other than what it has meant for decades, is essentially gay erasure, and if you are going to suggest something that constitutes the erasure of any group, you should expect, and will get a serious backlash from that group

What do people think about the debate on if gay should be an umbrella term?
 This entire discussion is as ridiculous as it is irrelevant. What anyone here thinks is of no consequence at all. No one here is in a position to decide or even debate how a well established word should or should not be used. "Gay" already has a well defined, and well established meaning and usage, and no one here or anywhere else on the Internet is in a position to change that, and it's downright arrogant to think that thy do. There is no legitimate debate about whether or not "gay" should be an umbrella term. It is not now, never has been, and never will be an umbrella term -- end of discussion. To debate something that is already well established is indicative of someone who doesn't know what they are talking about. Shall we debate whether or not "gender" should be an umbrella term for everything that has to do with sex? Shall we debate whether or not "sex" should be an umbrella term for all gender variants? Shall we debate the meaning of the words "correct," and "incorrect?" WE are not in a position to decide. WE are a tiny little group of apparently rather opinionated people who think that what they think has some bearing on the use of words that are already in standardized usage by millions of people.

I don't mean to start a whole discourse, I've just been wondering what people thought about this whole discourse that happens within the community
If you don't want to start a whole discourse, you'd do better to avoid debating things that aren't up for debate, and that millions of people already agree on. And what "community" are you referring to? The entire LGBTQ+ community, or the little LGBT Forums community here. I've not heard anyone outside of this website imply that "gay" is or should be an umbrella term, and there aren't nearly enough people here to constitute any kind of representative group.

OK, I'm going to step down off my soapbox for now. Enough is enough.

Sorry if I offended anyone.

 

AudryLeigh

Rainbow Members
Sep 2, 2018
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very much depends on the dialect of English used.
How many dialects of English are there (in the US)? Also, I'm sorry, but your grammar is atrocious. If you want your opinion to be accepted as credible, you should at least take care to use proper grammar, as doing otherwise simply invites misunderstanding.
 

Codeawayhaley

Moderator
Staff member
May 6, 2018
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Language is always changing to say one meaning is correct over another is a prescriptivist view; prescriptivism is a dying view point as it should be because it doesn't acknowledge that languages evolve, and faster than many people realise. Secondly it is incredibly rude to call someones grammar attrocious and that poor grammar is less credible, you don't know the situation of the person; that person may have English as their L2 tongue. Also I spend a fair amount of time using proper grammar during the day in Academia, I'm not going to use it all the time online it is exhausting, and an entirely different language register if people are judgy based on grammar alone and don't ask questions or clarification that their problem, not mine. As for the number of dialects I wasn't just talking about the US, I don't live in the US and in my country alone there is at least 3 different dialects.
 

AudryLeigh

Rainbow Members
Sep 2, 2018
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So I'm a stickler, I guess.

Also I spend a fair amount of time using proper grammar during the day in Academia, I'm not going to use it all the time online it is exhausting,
Exhausting? Really? Running up a few flights of stairs is exhausting, but using proper grammar? Daymn! I'd think if you use it all day, it'd become second nature sooner or later. Also, prescriptivism is not about language evolution, it's about one variety of a language vs. another. And yes, languages do evolve, but not faster than hard copy dictionaries can keep up with, and most evolution is about expansion, not about changing existing definitions. Grammar and dictionaries exist for the purpose of avoiding misunderstandings. If you want to talk about something that's exhausting, it's exhausting to have to continually ask for clarification which is usually unnecessary if one uses proper grammar and standard definitions in the first place.
 

Codeawayhaley

Moderator
Staff member
May 6, 2018
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Firstly I'm autistic I don't think in serial way therefore to even translate my thoughts into serial stream of characters is not that simple, which is why grammar is exhausting because it doesn't fit nicely with the way I think which is branched. Also my point is prescriptivist attitudes fail to accept that languages evolved, and all dictionaries worth their salt are descriptivist. To then say this is what is in the dictionary therefore this is how one should correctly use this word is a rediculous way to view language, especially english which is spoken so widely with large variety of  lexicon and dictionaries typically document how one particular dialect uses this particular string of Latin characters and how it is used. To hold a dictionary to such  standards as "how the language should be" is to deny language diversification, if everyone followed that we'd still be using the word "gay" to mean "happy" only, or maybe whatever it meant before that as it has likely changed meanings before.
 

AudryLeigh

Rainbow Members
Sep 2, 2018
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Sorry about the grammar thing -- I didn't know, but understand. I don't think languages evolve as fast as you are implying, or that dictionaries are as slow to react. The current of usage of "gay" has been in most dictionaries for quite some time now (decades) -- I'd have to go to a library to see just how long. Dictionaries don't change every time the language changes, because some things end up being slang and fall out of usage, but consistency in how words are used is crucial to avoid misunderstanding. Therefore, when addressing a large or diverse audience, I think it is wise to stick with accepted dictionary definitions, unless you add parenthetic comments or footnotes to clarify how you are using the word. It is precisely because of the diversification of language that dictionary definitions are important, otherwise we'd be speaking different dialects that not everyone would understand the nuances of. When you are talking in a group of people who live in the same area and speak the same language (so to speak), it's fine to use colloquialisms and more recently coined words and meanings, but when addressing a diverse group (such as the members here), you cannot assume that they are all up on the language as you are using it, and since (I assume) you want everyone to accurately understand what you are saying, I think it is wise to stick with what is well established and widely known.
 

self

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May 1, 2018
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I would still prefer gay as gay, lesbian as lesbian, and so on. I see many article titles like "xxx (both men and women) come out as gay". I mean it's fine for me since I understand what the articles are trying to convey, but maybe more or less media like this is one of those that influence how people use the gay term. 
 
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