June is Pride Month. Specifically, June 28 is Pride Day. I would be remiss if I didn’t in some way acknowledge these months. For some, this post may seem unnecessary or as “Duh!” However, let me briefly explain why I’m writing it.
In 2020 when the world broke, many terrible things occurred. However, personally, I found a silver lining in all of it. It humbled me and allowed me to grow as a person. My eyes widened, and I found compassion in places I did not know existed. I also engaged in a lot of streaming, and it was this streaming that I discovered something that caused me to pause in my steps. As a writer, there are always discussions about pushing limits. Now, the next few statements are not made to point fingers, climb on any political or social agenda soapbox, shame, slight, or belittle anyone. I’m not about that life. Everyone is entitled to his opinion whether right, wrong, or indifferent. And I’m not one who decides what is right or wrong. I’m simply outlining the events that happened.
There is a saying in the writing community that authors should only write what they know. This view in its strictest sense means men cannot write female characters and women cannot write male characters. Additionally, it suggests that writers are only allowed to write characters of the same race, nationality, ethnicity, culture, religion, and sexual orientation. Following such strict guidelines would gravely limit the types of characters and books authors create. The argument is that a person who is not of the same group/community cannot accurately or intelligently discuss, depict, or communicate the group/community in question. And here is where the issue became super complicated.
In one of the series I was viewing during that time, a character of a marginalized group expressed that it was not his place to educate others about his community and, if people wanted to know, they would learn for themselves. However, when people began to ask questions to educate themselves, they were accused of being rude, nosy, and offensive. So, when these same people took to the internet for answers and received misinformation, they were chastised for not knowing better. My question was then, how can one adequately become educated if no one is willing to teach and discussions can’t be had? Attitudes of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” have benefits but also drawbacks. In many ways, it is like walking on eggshells.
At a former job, there was a rule that if the institution paid for an employee to attend a professional conference or workshop, the employee would have to give a brief summary presentation to coworkers who didn’t attend. Not only did I think this was a fair rule, but I also enjoyed it because it encouraged the spread of information. Why bottle up education and restrict it from anyone wanting to learn?
In my novels, I attempt to include diversity in my characters. I also heavily research any unfamiliar topics. My blog (Creole Bayou) is 98% researched based. (I do occasionally write an opinion piece which I always clearly indicate.) So, as I was sitting pondering what to write, I saw a post on Twitter that included the acronym 2SLGBTQIA+. I admit, I didn’t know what the 2S stood for. Later the same day, someone asked me what the Q and the I in LGBTQIA meant. Now, before the pandemic, if someone had said they didn’t know what the Q and I stood for in LGBTQIA, I would have given them the side eye for not knowing. I would have thought, “How could you not know? It’s all over the place.” However, we all have different lives and experiences. We all have different experiences and levels of exposure. Just like I assumed everyone would know what the Q and I meant, there are people who would think I should know what 2S meant. Thus, that is what has led me to this post. I thought why not share what someone would assume to be common knowledge but that may not be for everyone?
- What is the acronym 2SLGBTQIA+?
- Queer and/or Questioning
- Intersex (a concept that exists not in objective reality but has been created and accepted by the people in a society that reflects a variation in sex characteristics including chromosomes, genitals, and/or gonads that do not appear to fit into conventional definitions of male or female)
- Asexual/Ace (may not experience sexual attraction to anyone or has a low or absent interest in sexual activity) *NOTE: Some people consider the A to represent Ally (a heterosexual person who supports the LGBTQ+ community)
- + reflects the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to identify (e.g., aceflux, akiosexual, aromantic, demisexual, graysexual, pansexual, reciprosexual, etc.)
- 2S – Two-Spirit (a term used by some Indigenous people to describe the behavior or gender expression of persons who do not match masculine or feminine gender norms in their communities.)