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‘LGBT’ is Not a Synonym for ‘Gay’



Our Struggles and Our Liberation are Both Entirely Connected and Incredibly Unique

We all know that a person’s choice of words can be incredibly powerful.

In a moment, and with just a few syllables, someone can make us feel at ease, uncomfortable, welcome, or in danger. For decades, we’ve been fighting the government, our teachers, our neighbors, and our families to use proper language to describe us and our relationships — and we’ve made some really great progress.

It’s no longer considered strange for two men to refer to each other as husbands or two women wives (or partners, or spouses, or any other of the many words we’ve chosen to describe our relationships), and we’ve certainly made progress with the idea of using proper pronouns for folks and exploring entirely new ways of talking about gender. There are some areas, though, where perhaps we could work a little bit harder.

A few weeks ago I wrote about a report from the CDC that talked about self-harm and sucide among lesbian, gay, and bi youth. The study talked about the risk factors they face and suggested ways we can alleviate specific issues. If you read any of the comments on our Facebook page, though, you’ll have noticed that the majority of the folks were upset we didn’t include “T” in the acronym. This particular study, which was just one small part of a larger study, focused on sexual activity and risk factors among high school students, and not gender presentation, identity or expression. 

More recently, a friend of mine posted an invitation to a blood drive on his Facebook wall. A friend of his commented, “I hope that the LGBT community is one day able to donate. It’s horrible that we can’t!” But here’s the thing: The prohibition applies only to folks who were assigned male at birth who have sex with other folks who were assigned male at birth. Other folks in our community can donate blood without a problem.  

And this week, it was announced that a cisgenger, gay man will once again play a trans woman in a movie. But not only that, he reportedly said, “Any actor can play an LGBT role.” He continued, “You can play any role no matter what, whether that role is straight, or gay, or whatever.”

Now, I’ll grant that a straight actor can play gay and a gay actor can play straight — after all, embodying a character often means portraying emotions and desires different from the actor’s. But playing a different gender is an entirely different story.  Anne Hilt among others, responds to this better than I ever could.

All of these things, I think, are connected. We’ve (hello, HRC!) pushed the narrative that “LGBT” is a just a synonym for gay. We see it all the time — how often is a Pride celebration referred to simply as “gay Pride”? Yes, it’s shorthand, but it’s sloppy shorthand. By definition, LGBT and “gay” aren’t synonyms. Bisexual people, specifically, aren’t gay. Some trans people happen to be gay, and some are bi, and plenty of others are straight.  

There are times when we must come together as one community, without a doubt. Most obviously, we have the same enemies. The same folks who hate me for being gay hate my friends who are trans, and usually/probably for the same reasons. But the day-to-day challenges I face are pretty much nothing like those my trans friends face, and it’s damaging to both me and them to imply they’re the same. (While gay folks were worried about being able to get married, trans folks were fighting to simply stay alive, for example.)

When we use LGBT as a synonym for gay, we arrive at the point where a gay man thinks he can successfully portray a trans woman in a movie. Or that bisexual people aren’t actually bi or that all trans people are gay. We’ve even had teens coming out and labeling themselves as “LGBT.”

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love how varied and diverse our community is. I love how we really do represent a rainbow of all kinds of people, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I also know that I’m at my best as an ally when I can recognize what privileges I have that others in our community don’t. It would be disingenuous for me to pretend that reality didn’t exist.

Our struggles and our liberation are both entirely connected and incredibly unique. Let’s embrace the times we’re fighting as one community and be the best cheerleaders and supporters we can be when we’re fighting our individual battles. 

Robbie Medwed is an Atlanta-based LGBT activist (he’s not “LGBT,” he’s an activist for the LGBT community) and educator. His column appears here weekly. Email him or follow him on Twitter @rjmedwed.

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Pelosi Delivers Brutal Response After McCarthy’s Acting Replacement Orders Her to Vacate Her Office Immediately



Within hours of Kevin McCarthy being ousted as Speaker of the House late Tuesday afternoon, his hand-picked acting successor, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), ordered Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi to vacate her Capitol Hill offices “by tomorrow.”

McHenry, whose title technically now is “Speaker Pro Tempore,” is a staunch McCarthy ally who worked diligently behind the scenes in January to help the now-former Speaker get elected on the fifteenth attempt, had an aide issue the order.

“‘Please vacate the space tomorrow, the room will be re-keyed,’ wrote a top aide on the Republican-controlled House Administration Committee,” Politico reported Tuesday night. “The room was being reassigned by the acting speaker ‘for speaker office use,’ the email said.”

Politico adds that “House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ staff helped Pelosi’s office make the move, according to a spokesperson for the former speaker.”

Pelosi, who was honored with the title “Speaker Emerita” in 2022 by the House Steering and Policy Committee in an effort to help unite the House, did not vote for or against McCarthy’s ouster. She remained in California to attend the funeral of her friend and colleague, the late U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

READ MORE: ‘Radical Left Marxists’: Trump Launches Attack Hours After Judge Imposes Gag Order

But Pelosi, the first and only woman Speaker of the House, who served from 2007 to 2011 and again from 2019 to 2023, did not take McHenry’s order lying down.

“With all of the important decisions that the new Republican Leadership must address, which we are all eagerly awaiting, one of the first actions taken by the new Speaker Pro Tempore was to order me to immediately vacate my office in the Capitol,” Pelosi said in a statement, according to Politico’s Nicholas Wu. “Sadly, because I am in California to mourn the loss of and pay tribute to my dear friend Dianne Feinstein, I am unable to retrieve my belongings at this time.”

“This eviction is a sharp departure from tradition. As Speaker, I gave former Speaker Hastert a significantly larger suite of offices for as long as he wished,” She noted.

“Office space doesn’t matter to me, but it seems important to them,” Pelosi added. “Now that the new Republican Leadership has settled this important matter, let’s hope they get to work on what’s truly important to the American people.”

READ MORE: ‘Terrorist Attacks’: Murphy and Cornyn Slam House GOPers Over McCarthy Ouster


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‘Radical Left Marxists’: Trump Launches Attack Hours After Judge Imposes Gag Order



Just hours after New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron imposed a limited gag order and directed Donald Trump to remove his social media post targeting and attacking, by name, the judge’s law clerk, the ex-president Tuesday evening issued an attack targeting the legal system, and apparently, by extension, Attorney General Letitia James.

Judge Engoron’s Tuesday order barred Trump from “posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” as Politico reported. The judge’s gag order did not extend to any officer of the court, witnesses, or anyone else involved in Attorney General James’ $250 million civil fraud case against Trump.

“Consider this statement a gag order forbidding all parties from posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” Engoron said Tuesday afternoon. “Failure to abide by this order will result in serious sanctions.”

Judge Engoron had announced in court: “This morning one of the defendants posted to his social media account a disparaging, untrue and personally identifying post about a member of my staff.”

“Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate and I will not tolerate them in any circumstances,” Engoron added.

Politico described Trump’s social media post as “a message alleging [the law clerk] ‘is running this case against me.’ The message was pulled from an account on X with fewer than 200 followers. Trump then linked to an Instagram account for Greenfield’s campaign for a judgeship in Manhattan civil court.”

READ MORE: ‘Part of the Authoritarian Playbook’: Trump’s Courthouse Rant Slammed by Fascism Scholars

“’How disgraceful! This case should be dismissed immediately!!’ Trump added. He also posted a photo of her alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and referred to her as ‘Schumer’s girlfriend.'”

And while the judge ordered the social media post taken down, there’s nothing that can be done about the email blast Trump sent to “millions” of his supporters that included the post, as The New York Times reported.

Tuesday evening, despite having already been given one gag order, Trump appeared to tear into the legal system and Attorney General Letitia James in a series of false claims.

After claiming James’ civil lawsuit against him was unconstitutional and election interference, Trump wrote the decision to apply that statute to him “was done by Radical Left Marxists design, and is not the America we know.”

“It is so unfair that I am being tried under Section 63(12), which is unconstitutionally being used to punish me because I am substantially leading Crooked Joe Biden in the polls,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “It is a Consumer Protection Statute, and not meant, at all, for Election Interference purposes, which is what this is all about! Under this Section of the law, I am not even entitled to a JURY (there is no checking of a box alternative!).This was done by Radical Left Marxists design, and is not the America we know. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

As The New Yorker reported last week, the law Trump is referring to was “passed at the behest of one of” James’ “Republican predecessors, Jacob Javits.”

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‘Terrorist Attacks’: Murphy and Cornyn Slam House GOPers Over McCarthy Ouster



After U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and seven of fellow far-right House Republicans voted to oust their own Speaker of the House for supporting a bipartisan vote to keep the federal government of the United States from a shutdown, a powerful Senate Republican and Democrat are both strongly denouncing the work of the few GOP extremists who toppled Kevin McCarthy.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn, a hard-core Republican of Texas and a former member of the Senate Republican leadership team, blasted the eight House Republicans for their “terrorist attack,” and warned it will happen again.

“We saw a similar thing happen to Boehner, Ryan, and now McCarthy. I’m sure the next speaker is going to be subjected to the same terrorist attacks,” Senator Cornyn said, according to HuffPost’s Igor Bobic.

Responding to a Texas radio talk show host from his official social media account, Sen. Cornyn added, “A handful [of] House members just want to blow up the institution and themselves in the process. Sad.”

READ MORE: McCarthy Ousted as Speaker in Historic First as Republicans Vow Vengeance Against Gaetz: ‘Kiss My A–’

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) called the ouster “a deeply embarrassing moment for America. A consequence of a Republican Party that has become so radicalized that it can no longer function as an organized political party.”

“Nobody should be rooting for this circus,” added Sen. Murphy in video recorded as he watched the House voting to remove McCarthy as Speaker. He warned that the ouster of McCarthy will now take the House away from the critical work of keeping the government open after November 17, “instead of working on a budget.” And he warned that no new funds to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war have been authorized.

“These are life and death stakes,” Murphy said, lamenting this “makes us look so weak and foolish around the world.”

Watch Sen. Murphy’s remarks above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Part of the Authoritarian Playbook’: Trump’s Courthouse Rant Slammed by Fascism Scholars

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