Is anybody straight these days? When I came out as a lesbian in the 1970s the guesstimates for numbers of those of us that shop around the corner veered between 5 and 10 percent. Later, both within the US and UK those figures were disputed as ‘too high’. In the US National Survey of Men estimated that only 2.3 percent said that they had not been exclusively heterosexual, while only 1.1 percent said they had been exclusively homosexual. Now, everywhere I look people that wish to be seen as edgy are identifying as ‘Queer’. The problem is, ‘Queer’ means absolutely nothing, or rather, anything anyone wishes it to be. And according to a recent piece in the Washington Post on how Trump lost and Biden won, the Queers did it. ‘In 2020, the share of US voters who identified as LGBT rivaled that of other minority communities, influencing who won and lost tight races,’ reads the article. ‘LGBT voters probably played a decisive role in swing states in handing the presidency to Joe Biden.’Apparently, a larger share of voters identified as LGBT than in any previous election. ‘The LGBT population in the United States is growing, with an ever-greater number of young adults identifying as LGBTQ: in 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 16 percent of high school students, and 22 percent of girls, identified as LGBTQ.’But the category that is growing within the list is undoubtedly Queer, which is more likely these days to mean straight but with a blue fringe. Most of the heavy lifting within the ever-growing acronym is the ubiquitous ‘Queer’ which usually has little or nothing to do with sexual orientation or identity. Although some gay men and lesbians use it as a way to reclaim a word that used to be used exclusively as a horrible insult, more recently it has come to mean ‘straight but special’. LGBTQQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, plus. Two Spirit (2S) was added, along with Sapiosexual, Polyamorous and the very latest is Kink (anything from foot-fetishism, wearing adult nappies, to preferring sex with a tumble dryer to a human). As my friend Paul Burston who, like me has spent his entire adult life fighting for lesbian and gay rights once said, ‘There’s only one sure way of ending the alphabet soup nonsense, it’s “LGBTQQINQBHTHOWTB” – “LGBTQQ Not Queer But Happy To Help Out When They’re Busy”. Or it could be shortened to “GLW” (Gay, Lesbian or Whatever)’.To take some of the more ridiculous additions in recent years:Q — questioning whether or not you might be LGBTQQIA+ or not; A — allies: a person who identifies as straight but supports people in the LGBTQQIAAP+++++++ community; A — asexual: a person who is not attracted in a sexual way to anyone; P — pansexual: a person who is potentially attracted to anyone; S — sapiosexual: a person attracted to intelligence. Everyone on that list could well be heterosexual expect for the L,G and B. As a lesbian who has been physically and sexually assaulted, have lost jobs, housing and volunteer positions due to bigoted reactions to my sexuality, I take offense at straight people elbowing their way on to an ever-growing list of what used to exist for those of us who are not straight and seek solidarity against oppression. What exactly is the working definition of ‘queer’? Does it just mean now ‘I’m too progressive to identify as straight’? People claiming to be Queer can have completely straight sex lives and sexual orientation and skew the data on lesbians and gay populations.One female columnist used National Coming Out Day a few years back to declare that she was ‘pansexual, polyamorous and a genderqueer woman’, handily just prior to the judges meeting to decide on the 101 most influential LGBTQQIA+++++++++++++++ folks to be included in the Independent on Sunday’s annual Rainbow List. Call me cynical, but she just got married. To a man.
Then there are the heterosexual couples that define as Queer, primarily it seems because they are bringing up their child as ‘genderless’ such as Halo and Leo, both of whom use the pronouns ‘they/them’. Just a regular straight couple with a kid. If anymore is added to the list we will run out of the alphabet and have to start using Sanskrit. As Simon Fanshaw says, the latest looks less like an acronym and more like a fool-proof WiFi code. Heterosexuals: I understand that you want attention and to feel special, but to quote Syndrome from The Incredibles, ‘And when everyone’s super, no one will be!’