10/12/07

LGBT: answers on a postcard please

Commenting on Bullshit Bingo, Media Whore wonders what “LGBT” stands for. MW’s opening bid: Less Go Bed Togevver. Any better offers out there?

As a hint, let me reproduce this gem from a recent UNAIDS publication on Men Who Have Sex With Men”: (pdf file, 703 kb)

“While we use the term ‘men who have sex with men’ here it is within the context of understanding that the word ‘man’/’men’ is socially constructed. Nor does its use imply that it is an identity term referring to an identifiable community that can be segregated and so labeled. Within the framework of male-to-male sex, there are a range of masculinities, along with diverse sexual and gender identities, communities, networks, and collectives, as well as just behaviours without any sense of affiliation to an identity or community.”

If you can get past the PC footnotes, the report is actually full of pretty good information about sex between men in Asia, drawing attention to rapidly rising infection rates among gay guys in many countries in the region.

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This post was published on 10/12/07 in Ideology and HIV, Men, women and others.

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  1. Comment by James, 11/12/07, 11:07:

    I know what it stands for, and am surprised you consider it bullshit. Likewise MSM, which I think is a very valuable term, and is going to include – and hopefully help – more than just the “gay guys” you refer to. This kind of pussyfooting language is kind of annoying, but it’s also necessary to reach many LGBT folks who don’t necessarily identify as such, and will run a mile from treatment centres that so classify them.

  2. Comment by Lee Rudolph, 14/12/07, 07:24:

    The semantics of “MSM” is (understandably, but maybe regrettably) somewhat confused (and probably not going to get less confused). The linguist Arnold Zwicky has been following it; see the second paragraph, beginning “Added 1/1/05”, of his LanguageLog post at http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001773.html
    for some discussion (including the important point, which Arnold is fully qualified to state with authority, that “white MSMs […] tend to view [their sexual activity] as something more akin to a hobby than a sexuality”.

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