Thursday 29 October 2009

Queer by Any Other Name: Mark Jordan on Terminology

In the beginning was a word, and the word was “queer”. But this was seen as offensive, so we changed it to “gay”.  Many women felt they were not clearly included, so the words became “gay and lesbian”. Some thought this was a tautology, so it was spelt out: “gay men and lesbians”, sometimes “lesbians and gay men”.  “What about us?” asked the bisexuals, so it became “lesbians, gay men and bisexuals”.  But some men didn’t like being called gay, they were just “men who have sex with “men” – MSM. Then we realised there were others who were excluded – but lesbian gay bisexual and transgendered was too much of a mouthful, so it became LGBT, later extended to LGBTQI – so adding “queer” (now including all other sexual minorities, or none) and “intersex”.
Yesterday, Michael Bayley and I had a short interchange in the comments thread to a post at Wild Reed (an important one, which I plan to address separately.  In the meantime, read and think about the post at “An exciting endeavour”, or just read the comments.)
In yet another example of staggering synchronicity, one of the first news reports I saw this morning on my personalised Google News page was a report of a lecture by Mark Jordan on exactly this topic, together with a comment which pretty will sums up my feelings – but ever so much more eloquently.
(Before giving you Prof Jordan’s remarks, I should clarify may own stance on this blog.  I don’t like any of the terms that are used, but my preference is “Queer”, with a very specific new meaning.  But I recognise that many people either dislike the term, or are not familiar with the modern usage.    So, in a spirit of inclusiveness, I try to use a range of the less offensive terms without discrimination – and with no attempt to be consistent).
Here follow extracts from the lecture (from Yale Daily News):

Thursday 22 October 2009

Gay Marriage – in Church: Sweden

It’s been a long time coming, but has been expected ever since same – sex marriage was approved by the Swedish parliament back in May this year – immediately before the news from Iowa.  As I predicted at the time, the Swedish Lutheran Church has now approved church weddings for gay and lesbian couples.   The interesting part of this to me is that although individual pastors are not obliged to perform same sex ceremonies, local churches do not have the same opt-out:  all churches must be available to all couples.  If the resident pastor won’t do it, a substitute must be brought in from elsewhere.

Bridegrooms on Church Steps

Once again, this advance has come after discussion that began much earlier, before the church approved “blessing of homosexual partnerships years ago.”  In so doing, the majority of the church discounted the traditional view that such partnerships were somehow “against Scripture”.  This is another very welcome step in the defanging of that fallacious argument. (See “Countering the Clobber Texts”)