LGBT...ETC: The Code of the In Crowd
First there were gays; then there were lesbians and gays; then there were lesbians, gays and bisexuals—a long enough list to require the initialism LGB; then there were lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBT). When the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke recently about the disagreements within the Anglican Communion which resulted in a suspension of the Episcopal Church (USA), he apologized for the pain caused to LGBTI people (adding “intersex” to the list).
Some people prefer to use LGBTIQ, which adds “queer”, taken to mean “favoring non-normative gender roles” (but not necessarily locked into one). There are plenty of variants, but the prize surely goes to Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, which worked very hard in 2015 to come up with a more inclusive approach. The result is LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM. It was used by Office of Residential Life to advertise safe housing space for every conceivable “sexual” minority.
But a sex-obsessed culture will always want to glamorize something “new”, so even a 15-character initialism will not be enough. The priests and priestesses of our high culture have a serious commitment to the creation and acceptance of deviations. This is how people in flight from moral and religious sanity validate themselves. To cease to create, identify and champion the Bizarre is to risk moral silence—and so the possibility of serious reflection on the Good.
The in crowd always has its own code. In a traditional class society, it is a fairly stable code, but it still prescribes how you are to think and speak and live. In the culture of moral novelty, the code is more demanding still, for it changes constantly. To be sure of yourself, you have to go where the in crowd goes; you have to know what the in crowd knows. And you have to learn how, quite literally, to talk trash.
If you don’t get the musical reference (songwriter Billy Page, “The In Crowd”, 1964), here are the most telling lines:
I’m in with the in crowd.
I go where the in crowd goes.
I’m in with the in crowd
And I know what the in crowd knows.
We breeze up and down the street.
We get respect from people we meet.
We make ev’ry minute count.
Our share is always the biggest amount.
We got our own way of walkin’.
We got our way of talkin’.
Spendin’ cash, talkin’ trash.
I don’t care where you’ve been,
You ain’t been nowhere till you been in
With the in crowd.
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