The Sexual Orienation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Caucus happened at the AWID Forum yesterday. Several people came together to discuss SOGI but the discussion was fragmented and people seemed to have no direction or desire to mobilize.
Instead a great deal of the time was spent discussing whether we were the LGBT, the queer, the LGBTI or the LGBTIAQ movement. We are neither and we are all. What is happening with the LGBTIAQ/Queer movement (my personal favourite way of naming the movement) is that it trying to “simplify” itself, a lot like the feminist movement into a single experience that can be managed.
A movement that ultimately revolves around sexual orientation and gender identity cannot be simplified, by its very nature it is diverse. It is impossible to argue for one single experience for all people within the LGBTIAQ/Queer movement – lesbian people face different challenges, different violence to asexual people, to gay people, to trans people. All LGBTIAQ/Queer people face violence, discrimination and everyday challenges but they are not the same. We need a unified movement, yes but it must be unified around the understanding that the experiences of its people are exceptionally diverse and may overlap at times.
Once we get to this understanding. And begin to move away from ‘what do we call ourselves’, we may actually be able to get some work done. The caucus was an hour long, and I don’t think we got anything out of that space. No resolutions. No ways forward. Just a whole lot of talk about what to name ourselves.
As LGBTIAQ/Queer people, we need to get past all this talk. We need to sit down and mobilize, unpack the violence, the power discrepancies and work on consciousness raising. We need to begin to take action. We need to share our stories. We need to stop hiding. We need to claim spaces.