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John Corvino Headshot

Am I Gay, or LGBT?

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I admit it: Like many gay men of my era -- I'm now in my 40's -- it took me a while to move from "gay" to "gay and lesbian" to "LGBT" and beyond.

It's not that I didn't recognize common cause among the groups. It's that I tend to get set in my ways when it comes to terminology. (First they wanted me to refer to Constantinople as Istanbul, and now this!) And "LGBTQITSLFA" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

There's a more substantive concern as well. The LGBT community is actually a collection of overlapping communities, each with distinctive experiences, needs, and challenges. While it makes sense to find common cause, it can also make sense to separate the various groups sometimes, in order to avoid obscuring our diversity.

Meanwhile, I continue to be moved by stories like this one about a high school principal's cruel and thoughtless response to a transgender student. Terminology may be challenging, but basic human kindness shouldn't be.

I discuss the "alphabet soup" of LGBTQetc. in this video, one of a new series of 11.