An OUSU motion, which suggested the acronym LGBTQ should henceforward be referred to by OUSU as BGLQT, failed to pass. The motion, proposed by Merton student Martin Lester in 3rd week stated that “Sexualities, just as gender and nationality options, should be alphabetically ordered.”
The motion noted that “People of all sexualities are equal in rights, and not limited to ‘heterosexual’ and homosexual’”. It continued, “In a variety of material produced by OUSU, including its website and the Fresher’s Guide 2012, there are references to ‘LGBTQ’. The alphabetical ordering of ‘LGBTQ’ is ‘BGLQT’. OUSU material should present sexualities in alphabetical order.
The motion resolved “To support such a change in material produced by OUSU”, and “To mandate the Vice-President (Welfare & Equal Opportunities) and LGBTQ Officer to effect such a change.’
At the meeting, Lester drew attention to the fact that, in the previous council, a motion had been passed to support a change in the University’s online postgraduate application forms that would switch gender options “male” and “female” over, as “Gender, just as nationality options, should be alphabetically ordered.’
He argued that, at present, the LGBTQ ordering of sexualities was “not consistent” with this, and that it was “hypocritical” to ask the University to change the ordering on its forms without addressing the order of LGBTQ.
However, OUSU LGBTQ rep Jess Pumphrey asked, “Have you spoken to anyone in the LGBTQ movement about this?” One student present at the meeting added, “Have you considered that changing the order makes it look like the word ‘bigot’?”
Pumphrey continued, “I have spoken to the LGBTQ community and they’re saying this is silly: we didn’t ask for this. The ordering is not arbitrary, it signifies the whole community as a solid banner.”
Lester disagreed, saying, “I think it’s humourous to claim that the term is standardised. If we’re serious about consistency then we must be consistent in gender ordering.” Pumphrey added, “There’s a difference between the ordering of LGBTQ and the ordering of options on a form. LGBTQ is a solid thing, it’s an acronym.” The motion then failed to pass.
Pumphrey, not commenting in their role as OUSU LGBTQ rep, later told Cherwell, “I opposed this motion on behalf of the LGBTQ community. “LGBTQ” is not an arbitrary jumble of letters – it is an identifiable brand that students, especially new students, will look for in its current form. It is a quite different matter from form options, where “female or male” and “male or female” are equally clear, and both have the same meaning.”
Andrew Hall, LGBTQ rep at St Anne’s and Secretary of LGBTQsoc, commented, “As LGBTQ is such an established term used by all relevant charities and organisations – it makes absolutely no sense to change the acronym.” Edward Nickell, equalities representative at Exeter College, agreed, adding, “plus, it just rolls off the tongue better.’