In the summer of 2021, a team of librarians at the William H. Hannon Library launched an initiative to create the diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism library guide. Alexis Weiss, the previous reference and instruction librarian for theology, led the process with support from Acquisitions Librarian Ron Lewis and other librarians. This undertaking culminated in spring 2022 and now serves as an invaluable resource for the LMU community to guide people toward accessible resources on a range of DEIA topics. To learn more about the library’s commitment to DEIA, click here.
We are uplifting this resource now as part of the DEI office’s series of columns dedicated to highlighting work that connects to LGBTQIA+ History Month, as this resource directs our attention to some of the most current conceptual understandings and linguistic developments now called for by the LGBTQIA+ community. Specifically, we wanted to highlight the current movement away from using the term “homophobia” and the call to instead use the term “queermisia.” From the LibGuide:
- Queermisia can be defined as an aversion, hatred or mistrust of people who are, or appear to be, any sexual identity other than heterosexual. In this context, queer is used as an umbrella term to include anyone who is homosexual – gay or lesbian – as well as including people who are bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, and any other mspec (multi-sexual spectrum) identity, and those who are demisexual, asexual, greysexual, etc. Using this term is not meant to diminish the real harm created by what we traditionally refer to as homophobia, but to be inclusive of all non-heterosexual people.
A similar shift is underway related to the term “transphobia:”
- Transmisia can be defined as an aversion, hatred, or mistrust of people that are transgender, appear to be so, or to those whose gender expression does not conform to common understandings of tradition gender norms. Transmisia can also be expressed as a disbelief of the existence or validity of gender identities that fall under the trans umbrella including, but not limited to: binary transgender men and women, nonbinary transmasculine and transfeminine people, nonbinary people, and those who are gender queer, gender fluid, agender, bigender, neutrois, or demigender. It is important to note that not all people identifying under these terms will use the umbrella term transgender to describe themselves and it is important to be aware of and use the terms stated by an individual on a case by case basis.
In short, the suffix “misia” connotes hatred, whereas the suffix “phobia” connotes fear. This shift in focus more accurately locates the source of harm toward members of the LGBTQIA+ community as being rooted in hatred and puts the onus on those who perpetuate such harm to become accountable for their own healing and transformation, rather than enabling the continuation of harmful behaviors by calling them “phobias,” which connotes something that is beyond someone’s control. Furthermore, this inaccurate usage of “phobia” invalidates the reality that many people do suffer from a range of legitimate phobias that warrant a different kind of response than what is required to address hatred toward members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
This LibGuide points researchers to a range of resources about instances of queermisia and transmisia worldwide. It also provides examples of how to combat queermisia, including: attending workshops that discuss issues from the LGBTQIA+ community; using inclusive language; and confronting the norms we enforce on others. One article describes some ways we can combat transmisia in the workplace, including familiarizing ourselves with the different gender identities, learning from the trans community, removing barriers, and actively educating ourselves. The site provides several organizations for support, such as Dignity USA, Los Angeles Bi Task Force, Trans* Lounge – Los Angeles LGBTQ Center, etc. The guide also directs users toward academic resources on these issues, including scholarly articles and books that discuss how to combat queermisia and transmisia. The library guide will be updated on an ongoing basis and is a living repository of invaluable information.
- Celebrate LGBTQIA+ History Month and the LGBTQIA+ community throughout the year with the community hub.