As an observer of people and language, and an expert in neither, I enjoy watching the changes that take place in how people identify things. Over the years we’ve become much more comfortable with acronyms, and the proliferation of texting has made the increase in acronyms even greater.
Acronyms aren’t new, of course. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has always been the FBI. The importance of the NAACP’s acronym is so great that they keep the words “Colored People” in their name in order not to mess with those initials.
There has certainly been an “E” (evolution) of “A” (acronyms) over time, and sometimes it is hard to keep up with them.
Kids who are out of control used to be called “wild.” Over the years that has changed to ADD or ADHD. We could add a letter to that if a person was considered to be “Type A.” ADHDA is unpronounceable, but maybe we can buy a vowel so it could be.
The area of sexuality has been in the news a lot over the past, oh, forever, but especially the past year or so. At one time, people were thought of to be “normal” or homosexual. Then, as society became more accepting, the term “Gay” became popular, with other people being “straight.”
When I was in college, the acronym “LGB” emerged, covering people who were lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Sometime between then and now the transvestite community joined in, placing a “T” at the end.
Much more recently – a day I must not have been paying attention – the letter “Q” was added. I understand that it means “Questioning.” If it were up to me, I’d have picked “U” for undecided, but it clearly wasn’t up to me.
In some respects I think Facebook got it right when they provided the “It’s complicated” option under the category of “relationships.” The world of gender surely has become complicated.
So, with LGBTQ as the acronym for that “community,” I wonder if there are more letters to come. There could be an “A” for androgynous, a “D” for disinterested, or an “R” for retired.
Honestly, I have no concern over what people do as individuals or what they decide to call it. At this stage in my life the acronyms that most concern me are things like CD’s, SSA, IRA, FDIC, NASDAQ, and PSA (prostate specific antigen).
I’ll stay tuned for updates in the world of acronyms, though, so I can pretend to be knowledgeable and on top of things.