LGBTQ+, are labels really necessary?

When conducting interviews with locals in Prague there’s one thing that really stands out: most people do not know the meaning of the abbreviation ‘LGBTQ+’. This abbreviation refers to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and many more. In that way the abbreviation represents the whole non-heterosexual community. Using these labels can be useful but there are also some risks.  

According to Bohdana Rambouskova, one of the organisers of Prague Pride, people in general don’t know the meaning of LGBTQ+. Locals know the words ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ but in most cases have no idea that these are connected to the abbreviation and are not aware of the LGBTQ+ community in prague. Prague Pride plays an important role in increasing the knowledge about this community although this is not easy. As with every evolution you have to start at the beginning.

Rambouskova stated:

“As for prague pride we tend to use the abbreviation LGBT, that’s it. Because even those four letters are quite difficult to make familiar with the Czech society.” 

When the abbreviation LGBT is perceived as an integral part of society there will be room for moving on to explaining more challenging words like ‘queer’ and to focus more on the ‘plus’ part of the abbreviation.

Increasing the knowledge about the LGBTQ+ community among Czech citizens is an important part of Prague Pride, but the most important goal is to bring people with all kinds of different labels together. It’s not an event exclusively for LGBTQ+ people but also for heterosexuals. More and more heterosexuals come to the event every year to meet LGBTQ+ people and to show their support for the community.

Prague Pride is an amazing tool for bringing more attention to the LGBTQ+ labels and contributes to the inclusion of this community in the Czech society. On the other hand, putting labels on people can also exclude these people from a community and can create the illusion of a ‘deviant group’. Even though, Rambouskova thinks it is necessary to have labels:

“When you’re not heterosexual and you don’t fit in the heteronormative world, you need to identify yourself with something and see that you’re not alone. LGBT is the abbreviation that represents more than LGBT.”

Labels are not only to put people in boxes and exclude the ones that are perceived as deviant from society. Labels can really help people understand their identity and find like-minded people.

In a world that is becoming more inclusive towards the community but still hasn’t reached full inclusion it’s important to feel part of a group in which you’re not considered deviant. Even though labels can be used to repress certain groups and put them in a minority position it’s important to identify yourself with that label. A label creates a possibility for identity politics and mobilisation. This means you can use the label to fight for the rights of your community and gain equal rights as the groups that are considered normal. This is an ideal way to fight for further inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in society.

Maybe it’s better not to think about labels as moral but move to an amoral view on the abbreviation LGBTQ+ and labels in general. Labels can be good as well as bad, but maybe we should focus on the gray area in between. Using a label to define yourself in order to claim equal rights, and educate people about the meaning of these labels in order to stimulate inclusion, that’s what LGBTQ+ is all about.


Leave a Reply