LGBT vs. GLBT: Metro Weekly Decides

Washington City Paper recently ran an article titled “Ladies First: Does D.C. Have a GLBT Community or an LGBT One?” The article focuses on the decision by The DC Center for the GLBT Community to change its name to The DC Center for the LGBT Community:

DC Center - Old Logo

DC Center - New Logo

Why the concern over the placement of a couple of letters? David Mariner , Executive Director of the DC Center, says that his organization’s acronym switch-up is “not a big deal either way,” but that the Center made the change “to be consistent with the other national organizations we are affiliated with.”

The article explores the usage of both acronyms in other instances, which brings us to Metro Weekly. Sean Bugg, co-publisher of Metro Weekly, is quoted:

The DC Center’s switch isn’t the only indication that the District is now batting for LGBT. Metro Weekly also recently began favoring the acronym; Bugg says the change from GLBT to LGBT was codified in its style guide about six months ago. “I hesitate to change our style guide without having a really strong reason for it,” says Bugg. The rationale: Metro Weekly’s style was becoming increasingly inconsistent with community standards, and ‘GLBT’-schooled Metro Weekly reporters kept returning with quotes from ‘LGBT’-happy subjects. “A lot of people would be using ‘LGBT’ in a quote, and we would be using ‘GLBT’ as a matter of style,” says Bugg. “It became a bit awkward and confusing.”

Kevin Naff, editor-in-chief of the Washington Blade, is also quoted:

Also confusing: navigating the ever-expanding roster of initials that can be added to the standard four-letter-acronym. Local newspaper the Washington Blade has an evolving approach to the acronym. According to Editor in Chief Kevin Naff, the paper “uses LGBT in stories and headlines.” In its branding, however, the paper now tacks on an extra Q.

“We’ve recently added the Q to our tagline in response to reader inquiries and concerns that those ‘questioning’ their sexual orientation were excluded from coverage,” Naff says. “We have not added the Q to standard references in stories, mostly because the alphabet soup starts to get unwieldy.”

The NLGJA stylebook supplement does not give explicit guidance, but only lists “LGBT” as an option, perhaps revealing a preference? In a previous post, I already revealed my bias in favor of “LGBT” usage. Which acronym do most NLGJAers prefer?

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7 Responses

  1. Our college campus’ group was BIGAYLA, but technically referred to themselves as LGBTQQIA — the last part was queer (as in studies?), questioning, intersexed and (straight) allies. Most people were confused, even some gays. They ended up changing their name to “prism”. Most students just LGBT anyway.

    Sigh. Alphabet soup indeed.

  2. Wouldn’t GLBT make more sense? Since Lesbians, the last time I checked, ARE GAY. GAY is inclusive of both genders. GAY = Homosexual.

    And technically, B & T aren’t Gay. Why should they take up the rear? There are probably a lot more bisexuals out there than Gays. And I’m sure the T’s want their own letter, separate from everyone else.

    It would be just as valid to use BGLT.

  3. I like LGBT because I can pronounce it “leg bite”. With GLBT, I can only come up with “glob bet”, and I have no idea what a glob bet is.

  4. I coined a phrase here in New Zealand to cover it all: GLBT-WXYZ. I try and use it whenever I can.

    In terms of the debate surrounding GLBT vs LGBT, I’ve never understood it but took it as a push my lesbians to finally be before men. It seems kinda sad to me.

    • I didn’t think it was a case of lesbians wanting to be men, just for their name to come BEFORE men, for the same reason that some lesbians spell women “womyn” so they’d have no connection to men. Proving that the female ego can be just as petty and arrogant as the male one.

  5. Andy, obviously you don’t understand the history of the gay rights movement. It was originally, back in the ’70s, called the LGB community because there was, and still is, many problems with lesbian invisibilty. Even now lesbians are still portrayed as something solely there for heterosexual men’s pleasure and not because they have their own identity. Gay men made the switch to GLBT somewhere along the way to put themselves first. So it has nothing to do with a “push by lesbians to finally be before men” but one has to wonder why that would be a bad thing? Is it wrong for women to want their acronym before men? Sounds like sexism, sad that it’s that way even in the gay community and I am a gay man. I just don’t get how we can be intolerant of homophobia and heterosexism and but tolerant of sexism itself. Seems selfish.

  6. […] Bugg of MetroWeekly has delved again into the use of LGBT as an inclusive shortand for the entire LGBT community.  In a posting on […]

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