Get Down with the LGBTQIA

A generation of “post-gay” activists say “LGBT” is a thing of the past.

You know you’re old if you’re still using the term “LGBT,” or at least that’s what an article published in today’s New York Times suggests. The University of Pennsylvania makes an appearance in the piece, which talks about a young, emerging group of “post-gay gender activists” and how they are “forging a political identity all their own, often at odds with mainstream gay culture.”

“If the gay-rights movement today seems to revolve around same-sex marriage, this generation is seeking something more radical: an upending of gender roles beyond the binary of male/female. The core question isn’t whom they love, but who they are — that is, identity as distinct from sexual orientation.”

It’s been evolving for a while, but this “younger, more progressive” set is firmer in adopting an acronym that works to embrace everyone: L.G.B.T.Q.I.A. What does it stand for? You’re free to pick and choose.

“‘Q” can mean “questioning” or “queer,” … “A” stands for “ally” (a friend of the cause) or “asexual.” … And with a plethora of ever-expanding categories like “genderqueer” and “androgyne” to choose from, piecing together a gender identity can be as D.I.Y. as making a Pinterest board.”

Campuses across the country have embraced this mouthful of a label, including Amerherst, which even went so far as to emblazon a few extra letters on their  L.G.B.T.Q.Q.I.A.A. center. Most however, have been slower on the uptick. That’s where the University of Pennsylvania comes in. Though ranked last year by The Advocate as one of “The Top 10 Trans-Friendly and Universities,” several Penn freshmen have expressed concern that out of the nearly two-dozen gay student groups, none focused on gender identity. The outcome has been the emergence of a new group, Non-Cis, which stands for non-cisgender.

“For those not fluent in gender-studies speak, “cis” means “on the same side as” and “cisgender” denotes someone whose gender identity matches his or her biology, which describes most of the student body.”

So does that mean we need to add an “N” now? Check out the rest of the article to learn more about the group’s all-encompassing beliefs, and about other changes that are happening at Penn to embrace our ever-evolving spectrum of queerness … or whatever you choose to call it.