LGBT vs. GLBT: A Presidential Perspective

President Obama released a statement on Monday, June 1, proclaiming June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

Here are excerpts:

whitehouseobama“Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.

“…My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

“These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Obama promises the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities just about everything except for marriage. As an editor (and an admitted word geek), what struck me more than anything was the choice to use “LGBT” instead of “GLBT” to describe us.

I used to be a hard-core “GLBT” user, but I have long since weaned myself off of that habit. I know that “LGBT” has been embraced by many people and organizations as the preferred acronym (e.g., you may have noticed “LGBT” is the acronym of choice on this blog). I just hadn’t realized that the pendulum had swung so far in favor of “LGBT” straight into the White House.

For any remaining “GLBT” users out there, it’s now clear to me (if not to you) that your days are seriously numbered.

4 Responses

  1. We’ve gone from GLBT to LGBT at work in our many communication outlets. I’m wondering: What prompted the change? What’s the history behind these acronyms?

  2. I always assumed it was a way to acknowledge the “L” in the group because so many things are very “G” focused. And I think LGBT rolls off the tongue easier. It appears that most of the LGBT media uses, well, LGBT. It would be interesting to know the genesis.

  3. I will agree with Michael on that “LGBT” is a lot easier to say. And it sounds more like what it is trying to describe whereas “GLBT” sounds like a sandwich to me.

    But, I choose to use “LGBT” because it is simply a more feminist approach to the word.

    There’s not a science or a thesis to be written, I just think it comes down to the fact that it is more PC.

  4. I believe that we should each choose what we want to use. Do I need to be politically correct? No. I need to include all of us. If I chose to use one or the other, I have the choice and the right. Please don’t direct me to say what you want. I don’t follow the crowd. I think outside your little boxes….

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