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I recently received an email from Pink Therapy. They are an organisation “that promotes high quality therapy and training services for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender” (Pink Therapy, 2013), as well as others who identify as being a gender or sexual diversity. The email from Pink Therapy stated that instead of using the acronym LGBT they were now using GSD as it is a more inclusive term. GSD stands for Gender and Sexual Diversities.
At first I thought it was a case of being too politically correct and worried that as a society we were going to an extreme in that way. Whilst I do believe that some people are too easily offended and that society is becoming too PC, I have changed my opinion about the use of the acronym GSD.
Working as a therapist and also running an LGBTQ youth support charity, I began to think about the people I worked with and wondered whether I was being restrictive by putting them in that box of either lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning. What if somebody didn’t identify as any of those? That may add to feelings of isolation and not fitting in. That is the last thing I want and is counter-productive to my objectives. After much thought and discussion with people, I have come to the conclusion that GSD is a much more appropriate term. Not just because it is more inclusive, but because it doesn’t put a specific label on people.
GSD could mean absolutely anything. There are so many difference sexualities, gender identities and relationship types, and the new acronym covers all of those. The term LGBT comes in different forms ranging from those four letters to longer versions such as LGBTQQIAU+. That longer acronym seems ridiculous to me, although I do understand the need to be more inclusive of all gender and sexual diversities. However, more letters keep being added to it and I have joked that eventually it will include every letter of the alphabet. So for reasons of simplifying it, GSD is a better acronym.
When it comes to my work as a therapist I have begun to change my literature and will soon be writing about the new term on my website. This is to inform all potential clients that I do not judge or discriminate, that I accept all people into my therapy room regardless of what their sexuality or gender identity may be. Attending therapy can be daunting enough without worrying about whether your therapist is accepting of who you are.
With my charity Push Projects I have yet to decide what to do and will be speaking to the young people I support about whether a slight rebrand is necessary. As a charity we support young people of varying gender and sexual diversities, and I do worry that somebody who doesn’t fit into that LGBTQ mould may be put off from seeking the support they require. That said, at the moment I am swaying more to keeping it as an LGBTQ youth support charity rather than a GSD one. The reason for that is because people are only just beginning to understand what LGBTQ means and I would not like to further complicate things. Schools, professionals and parents are just getting their head around what LGBTQ stands for. Is it the right time to confuse them with a new acronym? I am not sure that it is. I think that in time the letters will change to GSD, but not yet. There needs to be some education first. People need to have the term slowly introduced to them. They need to be helped to understand what it means and the kind of diversities that it includes.
It’s an interesting discussion and one that I could continue having. There are reasons for and against using GSD instead of LGBT, but I see the new acronym as a much more positive and inclusive one. I have begun to introduce the GSD concept to people and it’s going well so far. I shall continue to do so and continue to work towards ensuring that all people feel valued and included regardless of their gender identity or sexuality.