Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A GMB Glossary

In many ways, we speak our own language.

It’s full of abbreviations and slang that many straight people aren’t accustomed to (especially in the case of Utah).

SGA? Trick? MOM? MoHo? Twink? Etc.

A year ago, I would have appreciated some clarification.

As part of an ongoing series, I plan to visit the terms and abbreviations that come to mind. Today’s theme is alphabet soup.

Let’s start with something simple (This post borrows heavily from an article clarifying and defining some terms found here)

gbltLGBT = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender

(Note: it’s not GBLT as I first thought—that would be a Gay Bacon Lettuce and Tomato sandwich.)

Most of us navigate these terms fairly handily. They’re recognizably used in everyday, culture.

Perhaps you’ve seen this variation: LGBTTQQIT-S? (It’s like a gay kid spewed up his breakfast of Alpha-Bits, no?)Alpha-Bits

In the article cited above, Megan Coffey explicates each element of this monster acronym. As we understand the first four letters, I’m going to use her explanations of the rest of the terms starting with the second T:

T is for Transsexual.

“An individual whose inner gender identity does not match his or her assigned birth gender. Transsexuals are often described as feeling like they were "born in the wrong body." They may or may not elect to transition partly or fully to match their gender expression (appearance) to their inner gender identity, whether hormonally, surgically or merely sartorially.”

Ever hear the terms MTF or FTM? Coffey puts the terms in this category:

“Some transsexuals adopt transgender identities such as MTF (male to female) or transwoman or T-Girl on the one hand, or FTM (female to male), transman or Boi on the other hand; other transsexuals identify entirely as their true (inner) gender.”

Q is for Queer.

“This is a reclaimed pejorative term that may only be used by people within the community; used to describe LGBTT people individually or as a group. Just as the "N-word" is off-limits to non-blacks, the word "queer" may still be insulting if used by straight outsiders.

Q is also for Questioning.

“Anyone who is exploring his or her sexuality and/or gender identity and does not fit the label ‘straight.’”

I is for Intersex. (Includes links to related columns by Coffey)

“Anyone who, genetically or anatomically, does not fit the standard medical definition of male or female. Approximately 1% of live births in the US are intersex (described in greater detail in a previous column). Intersex people are no more likely than "standard" men or women to be gay, but they are more likely to be transgender or transsexual. Their main political goal is to eradicate the secrecy, shame and surgical mutilation frequently inflicted upon intersex babies and children.”

T-S stands for Two-Spirit.

“A term used by some Native American Indian tribes to describe gay and/or transgender tribe members, who were once not only accepted, but often revered as shamans before the European cultural invasion.”

Although I’m familiar with these terms, I would have failed the comprehensive exam on them a year ago. That’s all for now.

Our program today was brought to you by the letters...


Mister Curie said...

I was able to follow your alphabet soup, but some of the other terms are unfamiliar to me. I'm looking forward to your explanation of the others ones that I'm not familiar with.

Madame Curie said...

Its pretty humorous to me that we as gay Mormons have acquired our own, Mormon-specific acronyms, but need refresher courses on the common acronyms used by most colleges and communities to describe the different LGBT-related communities. I did my undergrad at Cornell from 1996-2000, and at that time the acronym was LGBTQ (Q for questioning, not queer). I think that college is actually one of the most gay-friendly colleges in the US, actually. It was pretty easy there to date same-sex or opposite-sex without getting much grief from others.

It was definitely an eye-opener to me when I visited Utah after joining the Church. I threw myself back in the closet, and later learned the "new, Mormon-politically correct" terminology to use (SSA, SGA, MoHo, etc.)

I think I prefer a good GMLT myself - gay mutton lettuce and tomato sandwich.

Abelard Enigma said...

The Queers United blog has a regular feature called "Word of the Gay" where they define various acronyms and terms used in the GLBT community. Perhaps you should consider doing something similar for the MoHo community.

Anonymous said...

you may be familiar with them but I wasn't had an idea but now I'm glad to know

Ben said...

I probably would have scored about 60% if you had tested me before you posted this.

C.J. said...

I'm with Mister Curie. I knew these, but there are a lot of terms that are unfamiliar to me. I'm also sometimes at a loss for how to respectfully refer to transgendered folks; as you point out, many terms are essentially offensive, but have been reclaimed by the folks themselves (like reclaiming the pink triangle, or the n-word). But that leaves some very clinical terms, which seem to be, in of themselves, sometimes offensive. That I can understand; nobody wants to be talked to (or about) like they're a lab experiment.

I also don't know any of the MoHo-related terms (although I do know what MoHo stands for; my best friend, who is gay, explained it to me).

TGD said...

I thought the G was for Guacamole.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

I'm really fascinated by this vocabulary, so I'm sure at least a few more posts are in order down the line. I'll admit that the Mormon terms are somewhat scant at this point, but I'm compiling some lists.

@Abelard: Thanks for the tip. I have been looking for something like that for an upcoming piece. I'm not sure we have enough terms in MoHo culture to do something weekly, but the topic will definitely be visited a few more times.

@C.J.: I've found some fascinating reading on the Queer Slang. It's as fascinating as usage in any other culture, I'd say.

Oh my, TDG, as good as that sounds, I'm watching my figure. Haha. Much better than Mme Curie's GMLT.

Thanks, all, for letting me geek out a little on language.

~MiChAeL~ said...

To be honest, I had no clue what MoHo meant until I started reading the blogs, yesterday. haha

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