LGTBI Movement: What is it and What is its History

LGBTI Movement What is it
LGBTI Movement What is it

Certain gender identities and sexual orientations continue to generate unjustifiable rejection.

LGBT movement has significantly marked the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. Through a great diversity of social and political struggles, they have managed to make visible experiences, desires, knowledge, discomforts and feelings that had been denied and pathologized for a long time.

On the other hand, the history of the LGBT and LGTBI movement is very long and can be approached from very different starting points. Below we will point out some of the events that marked its beginning and development in the West.

What does LGBT mean?

The acronym LGBT refers to both a collective and a political claim movement , whose letters stand for: Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender. These last words refer precisely to people who are assumed and recognized as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Although the history of this movement is older, the LGTB concept became especially popular since the 1990s. Among other things, it has allowed it to replace the term “gay community”, which although it was vindictive and very important at one time; he had also silenced other identities and sexualities.

The use of the term LGBT has made it possible to emphasize the diversity of sexual and gender identities, with which it can be applied to many people, regardless of whether their bodies have been sexed in feminine or masculine.

Where does diversity end? The LGTBI claim

Within the framework of these political demands, other struggles and identities have also been added. From this the letters of the term LGBT have increased. For example, the letter “T” has been added, which refers to transsexuality; the letter “I” that refers to Intersexuality, and the letter “Q” that refers to people and the “Queer” or “Cuir” movement, Castilianized.

Specifically, this last category has made it possible that, although some people who do not feel identified with any of the previous identities (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transsexual-transgender-intersex), they can share spaces of claim and struggles for diversity in equal opportunities. This is much more complex and even problematic. At first, because the metaphor of “trans” has spread a sometimes deterministic conception of changes in gender identity (for example, that there is a pre-established beginning and end), among other complications.

In an introductory way, we can say that transsexuality refers to someone who makes a body modification to move from one sex-gender to another; while the word “transgender” refers to practices that are also visible on the body, for example in aesthetics, but that do not necessarily include an organic change . In this context, the need to separate the transgender by sex or gender has been discussed, an issue that has also been problematic

For its part, intersexuality refers to bodies that share different organs and genetic or phenotypic characteristics that have been attributed by Western biomedicine to women and men in a different way. So, depending on the context we can find both the concept of LGBT, as that of LGBTI, LGBTIIQ, LGBTQ, and perhaps others.

The LGTTBIQ movement arises from many people who have made explicit that the assigned gender identity does not always correspond to the felt gender identity, with which, it is valid to defend the complete freedom to claim and live the identity that is felt on which imposes.

First struggles: LGTB rights

There are many versions about the beginning of the movement in the West. One of the most accepted is that it was first used to name student movements in the 1960s in the United States that demanded the depathologization of non-normative behaviors and equal rights.

The development context of the LGTB movements was mainly characterized by the fact that many people denounced that they had been systematically invisible by the norms of heterosexuality. This was especially visible in the United States and in Europe, where feminist movements were also gaining greater diffusion.

But, among other things, those feminist movements had been basically heterosexual, which very soon caused many women to publicly vindicate lesbian identities. Here a first starting point was opened for the vindication of other sexualities that had also been reserved for the private space.

We could even go further back and look at some of the antecedents of the early twentieth century, when some European intellectuals who had homosexuality as an experience, undertook the task of writing and publishing in favor of the legitimation of their sexual desires and practices.

However, this did not become general until those people who had also seen their rights violated took to the streets, in the form of social movements and activism.

Breaks with Anglo-Saxon Feminism

Anglo-Saxon feminisms had made a major break in the more traditional gender norms. However, they had been organized around a very naturalized view of the gender-sex divide, which continued to be binary, leaving out other practices and experiences.

In other words, movements that only positioned themselves in favor of women were remaining on the same oppressive gender basis, with which other identities had been excluded. For example, homosexuality, lesbianism, trans identities, and all those that do not fit into these categories.

Thus, the LGTB movement had to establish a first break with feminism that had involuntarily ignored other expressions of sexuality. Likewise, and insofar as the production of knowledge is always situated in a specific experience and place, some feminists of the lesbian movement had adopted essentialist perspectives that were not useful for other claims and identities.

For example, people who assume themselves as bisexual were reproached for not being able to “come out of the closet” in hegemonic terms. It was thus that, after a period of accommodation, separation and feedbackthe lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual groups were grouped into a single collective of struggle.

The term LGBT was probably used for the first time to refer to activist students who went out to these struggles mainly in Europe and the United States from the 1960s, although there are different versions about the first time it was used, and also about who was the first person to use it.

From criminalization to pathologization

Non-heterosexual sexual and gender identities and practices have been criminalized and seriously penalized in various formats for many centuries. Currently and given the preeminence of biomedical paradigms that position themselves as the social instructors par excellence, as well as through supposed mental pathologies, many of the non-hegemonic gender practices are still understood as if they were a pathology.

The protest movements of 1960, and many of the movements today, have fought against the circulation of pejorative, violent and offensive concepts towards non-heterosexual people.

But not only that, but they have denounced explicitly violent and repressive practices such as lgtbphobia (which in many cases ends in murder); and other very common, naturalized and apparently innocuous practices such as pathologization.

In fact, it was not until after these social vindication movements led by a large part of the LGBT community itself, when homosexuality was no longer considered a mental pathology by the APA and the WHO. Just 45 and 28 years ago respectively. And what is more: these struggles are not over, because pathologization as a way of criminalizing still exists.