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LGTBI movement: what is it, what is its history and what struggles does it group?

LGTBI movement: what is it, what is its history and what struggles does it group?

July 19, 2024

The LGBT movement has marked in an important way 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 It is very long and can be approached from very different starting points. Next we will indicate some some events that marked their beginning and development in the West.

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What does LGBT mean?

The LGBT abbreviations refer to both a collective and a movement of political vindication , whose letters mean: Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender. These last words refer precisely to people who assume and recognize themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.


Although the history of this movement is older, the LGBT concept became popular especially since the 1990s. Among other things, it has allowed replacing the term "gay community", which although it was vindictive and very important at the time; He had also left other identities and sexualities in silence.

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

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Where does diversity end? The LGTBI claim

Other struggles and identities have also been added to these political demands. From this the letters of the LGBT term have increased. For example, the letter "T" has been added, which refers to transsexuality; the letter "I" that makes reference to the Intersexuality, and the letter "Q" that makes reference to the people and the movement "Queer" or "Cuir", 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-intersexual), yes can share spaces of vindication and struggles for diversity in equal opportunities . This is much more complex and even problematic. Initially, 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 who makes a body modification to pass from one sex-gender to another; whereas the word "transgender" refers to practices that are also visible in the body, for example in aesthetics, but that they do not necessarily include an organic change . In this context, the need to separate the trans by sex or gender has been discussed, a question 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 differentiated way. So, depending on the context, we can find both the concept of LGBT, LGBTI, LGBTIIQ, LGBTQ, and maybe others.

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

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First struggles: LGBT 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 the student movements in the 1960s in the United States that They demanded depatologization of non-normative behaviors and equal rights .

The development context of LGBT movements was mainly characterized because many people reported that they had been systematically made invisible by the norms of heterosexuality. This became visible especially in the United States and in Europe, where also the feminist movements were gaining more diffusion.

But, among other things, those feminist movements had been basically heterosexual , which very soon caused many women to publicly claim lesbian identities. Here a first point of departure 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 experience with homosexuality, were given the task of writing and publishing in favor of legitimizing their sexual desires and practices.

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

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Ruptures with Anglo-Saxon feminism

The Anglo-Saxon feminisms had made an important break in the more traditional norms of gender. However, they had organized around a very naturalized view on the division between gender-sex , which remained binary, and left aside other practices and experiences.

That is, the movements that only positioned themselves in favor of women they were staying 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 LGBT movement had to establish a first break with feminism that had unintentionally ignored other expressions of sexuality. Likewise, while 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 bisexuals were reproached for not being able to "come out" in the hegemonic terms. It was like that, after a period of accommodation, separation and feedback, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups were grouped into a single fighting group .

The term LGBT was probably used for the first time to refer to student activists who came 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 He was the first person to use it.

From criminalization to pathologization

Identities and sexual and gender practices that are not heterosexual have been criminalized and severely penalized in different formats for many centuries. Currently and in the pre-eminence 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 to this day, 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 LGBP (which in many cases ends in murder); and other very common, naturalized and apparently innocuous practices such as pathologization.

In fact, it was only after these social movements of vindication conducted by a large part of the LGBT community itself, when homosexuality ceased to be considered a mental pathology by the APA and the WHO. Just 45 and 28 years ago resctively. And what's more: these struggles are not over, because pathologization as a way to criminalize still exists.

Bibliographic references

  • Jhon and crespa (2012). History of the LGBT community. Retrieved May 18, 2018. Available at //lgbtdehoy.blogspot.com.es
  • Solá, M. (S / A). The re-politicization of feminism, activism and post-identity micro-discourses. MACBA Publications. Retrieved May 18, 2018. Available at //www.macba.cat/uploads/publicacions/desacuerdos/textos/desacuerdos_7/Miriam_Sola.pdf.

How We Got Gay (Full Documentary) (July 2024).


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