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Christmas Presents

Iain Dale

QUESTIONING OUR LABEL-OBSESSED SOCIETY

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Why do we all have to have a label? We’re all individuals, aren’t we? I’ve just been reading about the new acronym that is supposed to replace LGBT. Apparently we’re now all supposed to say LGBTIQ, or even – wait for it – LGBTIQQAA. Nope, me neither.

For the uninitiated, the IQ stands for ‘Intersex’ and ‘Queer’. The QAA then stands for ‘Questioning’, ‘Asexual’ and ‘Allies’. You really couldn’t make it up.

It’s interesting to look at the history of ‘gay’ terminology. The word ‘homosexual’ tended to be used as a catch all and it wasn’t until the 1970s that ‘gay’ became the preferred self-describing word used by gay men. Towards the end of the decade the phrase ‘gay and lesbian’ entered common parlance. It wasn’t until 1988 that LGBT first started being used, and it has remained the staple up until this point. The Green Party Manifesto’s chapter on equality issues used the LGBTIQ term, provoking much discussion about its appropriateness. The political editor of The Sunday People, Nigel Nelson, incurred the wrath of some by describing the acronym as a ‘Countdown Counundrum’. He added: “Queers may hope to rebrand this word as an inoffensive umbrella term… [but] as a middleaged, middle class, heterosexual white man, I could no more bring myself to say what sounds offensive than call black people the N word”. Well I think he’s got a very valid point. I wince every time I hear a black man or woman use the N word, and I don’t like hearing the Q word either. To me it’s a word with hugely pejorative connotations and I do not understand the desire of anyone to ‘reclaim’ it. Why? What would be the point? Leave it for the bigots.

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About Attitude

This very special edition of Attitude is our biggest ever. It marks our first annual Pride Awards, which were created to champion the unsung heroes of the LGBT community; all of our 11 recipients grace the cover, and their extraordinary stories are told inside. They will all be honoured at an event in London, hosted by Alan Cumming, on 26 June. This issue also marks Attitude’s 21st birthday, and inside we feature 21 ordinary 21 year olds from the LGBT community who speak about what matters to them as they come of age in Britain in 2015. The issue also includes interviews with Roisin Murphy, Little Mix, Mary Lambert, Aston Merrygold, Kavana, Collabro, actor Layton Williams, and director Bill Condon; as well as features on the rebranding of Switchboard, and a look back at Queen’s iconic Live Aid performance 30 years on. All this, plus our regular fashion spreads, columnists, real life features, travel and fitness.
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