The LGBT movement significantly marked the second half of the 20th century and the start of the 21st century. Through a wide variety of social and political struggles, they have succeeded in making visible experiences, desires, knowledge, discomforts and feelings that had long been denied and pathologized.
On another side, the history of the LGBT and LGTBI movement it is very long and can be approached from a variety of starting points. Below we will highlight some events that marked its beginning and development in the West.
What does LGBT mean?
LGBT acronyms refer both to a collective and to a political protest movement, The letters stand for: Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender. These last words refer precisely to people assumed and recognized as lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgender people.
Although the history of this movement is older, the concept of LGBT became particularly popular from the 1990s. Among other things, it replaced the term “gay community”, which, although vindictive and very important. he had also silently left other identities and sexualities.
The use of the term LGBT made it possible focus on the diversity of sexual and gender identities, Thus, it can be applied to many people, whether their body has been gendered female or male.
Where does diversity end? The LGTBI claim
Other struggles and identities have also been added within the framework of these political demands. From there, the letters of the term LGBT increased. For example, the letter “T” has been added, which refers to transsexuality; the letter “I” which refers to intersex, and the letter “Q” which refers to people and the “Queer” or “Leather” movement, in Spanish.
Specifically, this latter category made it possible that, although some people who do not feel identified with any of the above identities (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transsexual-transgender-intersex), if they can share spaces of claim and struggles for diversity in equal opportunities. It is much more complex and even problematic. Initially because the metaphor of “trans” has spread a sometimes deterministic conception of gender identity shifts (eg, that there is a pre-established start and end), among other complications.
In the introduction, we can say that transsexuality refers to those who make a bodily modification to move from one sex-gender to another; while the word “transgender” refers to practices also visible in the body, for example in aesthetics, but which they do not necessarily include an organic change. In this context, the need to separate trans people by sex or gender was discussed, an issue which also posed a problem.
For its part, intersex refers to bodies that share different organs and genetic or phenotypic characteristics that have been assigned differently by Western biomedicine to women and men. So, depending on the context, we can find both the concept of LGBT, and that of LGBTI, LGBTIIQ, LGBTQ, and maybe others.
The LGTTBIQ movement stems from many people who have made this explicit the assigned gender identity does not always match the perceived gender identityThus, it is valid to defend the total freedom to claim and live the identity that feels on which it is imposed.
First fights: LGBT rights
There are many versions of the start of the movement in the West. One of the most accepted is that it was first used to name student movements in the 1960s in the United States. they demanded the depathologization of non-normative behavior and equal rights.
The context of the development of LGBT movements has been characterized mainly because many people have denounced having been systematically made invisible by the norms of heterosexuality. This became particularly visible in the United States and Europe, where feminist movements were also growing in popularity.
But, among other things, these feminist movements had been predominantly heterosexual, Which quickly led many women to publicly claim their lesbian identity. Here, a first starting point was opened for the claim of other sexualities which had also been reserved for the private space.
One could even go back further and look at some of the background to the early twentieth century, when some European intellectuals who had experience of homosexuality took on the task of writing and publishing in favor of the legitimation of their sexual desires and practices.
However, this only became widespread when people who had also seen their rights violated took to the streets, in the form of social movements and activism.
Break with Anglo-Saxon feminism
Anglo-Saxon feminisms had made a major break with more traditional gender norms. However, they had been organized around a very naturalized view of the gender divide, Which remained binary, and left out other practices and experiences.
In other words, movements that were positioned only in favor of women they stayed on the same sex oppressive basisThus, other identities had been excluded. For example, homosexuality, lesbianism, trans identities and anything that doesn’t fit into those categories.
Thus, the LGBT movement had to establish a first break with feminism which had inadvertently ignored other expressions of sexuality. Likewise, and since the production of knowledge always takes place in a particular experience and place, some feminists in the lesbian movement had adopted essentialist perspectives that were not useful for other claims and identities.
For example, people believed to be bisexual have been reprimanded for not being able to “come out of the closet” in hegemonic terms. Thus, after a period of accommodation, separation and return, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups have been consolidated into one fighting group.
The term LGBT was probably first used to refer to the student activists who participated in these struggles mainly in Europe and the United States from the 1960s onwards, although there are different versions on when it was first. has been used, and also on who was the first person to use it.
From criminalization to pathologization
Non-heterosexual sexual and gender identities and practices have been criminalized and severely penalized in various formats for many centuries. Currently and faced with the preeminence of biomedical paradigms which position themselves as social instructors par excellence, as well as through alleged mental pathologies, many non-hegemonic gender practices are still understood as a pathology.
The protest movements of the 1960s, and many movements today, fought against the circulation of derogatory, violent and offensive concepts towards non-heterosexual people.
But not only that, but they explicitly denounced violent and repressive practices such as LGBTphobia (Which in many cases ends in murder); and other very common, naturalized and apparently harmless practices such as pathologization.
In fact, it was until the leader of these social defense movements led by much of the LGBT community itself, when homosexuality ceased to be viewed as a mental pathology by the APA and the WHO. Barely 45 and 28 years ago respectively. And what’s more: these struggles are not over, because pathologization as a means of criminalizing still exists.
- Jhon and Crespo (2012). History of the LGBT community. Accessed May 18, 2018. Available at http://lgbtdehoy.blogspot.com.es
- Solà, M. (S / A). The re-politicization of feminism, activism and post-identity micro-discourses. MACBA publications. Accessed May 18, 2018.Available at https://www.macba.cat/uploads/publicaciones/desacuerdos/textos/desacuerdos_7/Miriam_Sola.pdf.