77 Pages Posted: 4 May 2020 Last revised: 9 Jun 2021
Date Written: April 7, 2020
In many circles, “LGBT” is an antiquated acronym that excludes many of the individuals that the movement is supposed to serve. “LGBTQ,” “LGBTQIA,” and other variations of the acronym have become ever more pervasive as nonbinary, intersex, and asexual individuals have become increasingly visible. The LGBT initials that once signaled solidarity and intersection are now appearing limited because they highlight only certain subgroups.
Although many movement organizations have adopted a more expansive formulation of LGBT, national legal rights organizations have limited their agendas to LGBT issues. Until recently, they devoted the bulk of their efforts to gay and lesbian concerns by focusing on securing marriage equality and sexual orientation-based antidiscrimination protections. Lately, their agenda has expanded to encompass transgender rights, but that work has centered around transgender individuals who are gender conforming. To pursue these goals, national organizations have used assimilationist arguments that tend to exclude the less mainstream members of the LGBT community.
This Article argues that including nonbinary, intersex, and asexual rights would require national LGBT organizations to reformulate their current goals and tactics in ways that could benefit not just nonbinary, intersex, and asexual individuals, but also more marginalized current members of the LGBT community. For that reason, what is at stake in expanding national LGBT rights groups’ agendas is as much the representation of existing members as it is that of new ones. However, such a change could have significant costs, as national organizations have pursued assimilationist goals and strategies because these are effective and efficient means of securing legal rights. Given the competing concerns undergirding movement expansion, this Article presents alternatives that national organizations and nonbinary, intersex, and asexual rights advocates might also consider.
Keywords: LGBT, LGBTQ, sexuality, intersex, asexual, transgender, social movements, family law, health law, civil rights
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