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The case for just ‘q,’ the history of ‘LGBTQ’ and the preferred nomenclatures of LA’s gay community

An attendee of the 2018 Los Angeles Women's March waving a rainbow flag.
An attendee of the 2018 Los Angeles Women's March waving a rainbow flag.
Becca Murray/KPCC

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Depending on when you grew up, you might remember when it was just “LGBT” -- before subsequent additions “LGBTQIA,” and finally the attempt at an all-encompassing “LGBTQ plus.”

In his new essay in The Atlantic, Jonathan Rauch makes the case for dropping what he describes as the “alphabet soup” of “LGBT” and going with one, clean, all-encompassing letter: q.

The history behind the terminology for the gay (for lack of a better word) community has many twists and terms. “Homosexual,” which may have sounded clinical and insulting, was replaced by “gay” and then there was the introduction of the gendered addition, “lesbian.” Plus, there are the pejorative terms, buried by history or by choice, and then there are terms that have been reclaimed, like “queer.”

If you identify as LGBTQ plus, what’s your preferred terminology? How do you feel about the term “q” -- is it simple and inclusive, as argued by Jonathan Rauch? Or is it confusing? Do you feel that an umbrella term is needed to describe sexual minorities?

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Jonathan Rauch, contributing editor at The Atlantic, where his recent article is “It’s Time to Drop the ‘LGBT’ From ‘LGBTQ’;” he is also a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution; he tweets @jon_rauch