cohesion

Christina Engela's picture

Who Are We? Why Are We Here?

I sat down this morning wondering what our community is all about. I'm thinking about the Pink Community of course. Pink, because of the confusing array of acronyms we apply to describe ourselves, that almost always put some sub-groups before others, and invariably leave someone out. Pink, because of our association with the feminine, with the notion that we break the boundaries set for us by society, and because it flies in the face of some beliefs that pink represents weakness and inferiority - an idea some are growing to realize is not the case at all.

Who does our community include? Well, anyone who breaks the stereotype, any person who does not feel the description of straight and cis-gender describes them. Anyone who does not fit into the neat, ordered little pigeon-holes designated for them by a straight, patriarchal society that decrees males shall behave like this, and females shall know their place, and behave like this, and be subservient to the male. It includes anyone who does not feel comfortable with these designated roles, and refuses to accept having them forced on them, being more inclined to fight for their freedom and equality.
Christina Engela's picture

Agents of Change

What are we in this world? Agents of change? Do we make things better, or worse? Or do we sit back and moan all day, doing nothing constructive and even worse, leaving the world unchanged and no better for our passing? We could go even lower by referring to our friend IdiOT Amin's "bloody agent", but I'm sure we can do better than that. So could he.

In South Africa we don't seem to have GLB groups leaving the T and I out - or discriminating, or abandoning us like in the USA and ENDA matter. The UK has "Stonewall UK" - a group that does a good job fighting for gay and lesbian rights - but that has solidly turned its back on the transgender and intersex communities, and occasionally even helped to attack them. Luckily we haven't seen this deplorable behavior here. Transphobia from the straight bigots in our society, yes. There is still plenty of that, but then, isn't there everywhere?

GLBTI is an acronym. Some use LGBT - and some sit on the sidelines and pick at the way people use these acronyms. It's so hard to please everyone and to keep everybody happy. People get annoyed by the order of the letters, people get pissed off because their letters are left out, or some other letter they don't like gets added in. If you're thinking how childish this sounds, you're not alone.
Christina Engela's picture

Leave No-one Behind

We often refer to our diverse community of sexual minorities as "GLBT", including main groupings such as Gay, Lesbian (also gay), Bisexual and Transgender. Sometimes, when we feel generous we add on the I for Intersex. Perhaps when we run into groups that confuse us, or defy classification into the other main groups, we tack on the "Q" for Queer or Questioning - although I have to wonder who it is that is doing the actual questioning? Us? Or the folks on the outside of the community? I often wonder Why is it that we as a community are struggling so much with our own diversity?

A little while ago I saw the following:

LGBTTIQQ2SA That's right, Someone was using this unwieldy acronym to refer to the broader "Gay" community. In case you need a translation (as I did), "LGBTTIQQ2SA" refers to "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirited and Allies."

Hahaha. Wow.
Christina Engela's picture

Rainbow Unity

Last week I noticed for the first time that people refer to the rainbow flag as "the gay flag". I have often heard it referred to as such, but for the first time I really thought about it. Is it really?

We have quite a diverse community, consisting of gay men, gay women (or lesbians), bisexual people, transgender people (including transsexuals, drag queens, transvestites, she-males) and intersex people. There are also other sub-groups such as pansexuals, panromantics, the gender-queer and asexuals. And if you think that's all there is to us, you're mistaken. There are also some lesser-known sub-cultures within our community, such as the bear and leather groups.

And yes, while we may be gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex, we can also be part of more than one of these groups at the same time. I for example, am a transsexual woman who generally dates other transsexual women. I am also panromantic and asexual - and to add to the flavor, I am also an honorary member of the PE Bears - and yes, all of these things at the same time. Considering this, I could find individual flags for the Transgender Community, bisexual (but not pansexual or panromantic) community, and the Bear flag. I did manage to find one flag to represent all of these things - the Rainbow Flag - which represents all these aspects to my nature, my personality and my existence, even though I am not technically gay, but don't mind being called as such. This would be the Rainbow Flag, which is too often called the "Gay" flag.
Christina Engela's picture

Rainbow Flag = Cohesion


It is a simple fact that if members of a community stop socializing together, we soon stop co-operating and standing together as well. Pretty soon we stop thinking of ourselves as being part of the same community - and not long after that, we start acting like rivals - or worse yet, enemies.

The word appropriate to this discussion is "cohesion" which is defined by Wikipedia as: "Community cohesion refers to the aspect of togetherness and bonding exhibited by members of a community, the "glue" that holds a community together. This might include features such as a sense of common belonging or cultural similarity." I also like the following definition, but that may be because I spent some time in the military - "Cohesion (military): the bonding together of members of an organization/unit in such a way as to sustain their will and commitment to each other, their unit, and the mission (Cohesion the Human Element in Combat, William Henderson, 1985)."
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