The older I get, the more confusing this world seems to get. When I was a youngster growing up in Michigan, my friends were white, people of color and Native American, girls and boys and straight. When we moved to Nebraska, as far as I knew they were all white and straight. By the time I got out of college, the world had changed some. There were now some black friends, still a few Native American friends, some gay friends and one transsexual friend and the rest were male and female and straight.
As my number of acquaintances increased, so did the changes in the people I now knew. Now I had white, African-American, Native American, Hispanic, Latino, Indian (from India), gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, male and female and straight friends.
In the last few decades, what used to just be a Gay community, then became a GLBT before becoming a LGBT community, and before we added a Q and added other letters, was an interesting community to just listen to from various news sources. Remember, we did not have the internet until some 20+ years ago. It was always interesting listening to comments on who was gay, lesbian, bi or trans enough to be a member of that community. One can still hear the same comments being made today and the debates on which letters belong in our community. But the one thing that most of us agreed on was a binary system. Most people over the age of say 40-45 grew up in a binary system where we recognized male or female. It didn’t matter as to one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, we still thought of only male or female.
In less than a decade, there has been a large increase in the non-binary or gender- fluid people in our community. Along with the changes in pronouns, a lot of us as parents, allies, teachers, and the public are learning to deal with something new in our lives.
Some of us adapt easily to change. Some of us never do. But just like the friends of my youth were still the same friends, but the nomenclature has changed. As it has for our community, we have learned to deal with new letters being added and new terms being used. We have all learned to deal with being different ourselves. Let us learn and listen to our non-binary or gender- fluid friends. Just like in the past we learned about our androgynous friends and in decades before the “beat generation.”
Maybe life isn’t really so confusing as I age, maybe it’s just keeping up with changing terminology.
Or maybe instead of LGBTQ we should all just be HUMAN.