This is the kind of thing that I find annoying but others don’t waste even a second on allowing it to vex them, yet you’d think that in a world that values “tweets,” it would be a no-brainer.

In order to be politically sensitive, it seems, people attempting to be all-inclusive must recite an ever-lengthening list of groups and sub-groups. I almost hesitate to begin such a list for fear of unintentionally leaving some deserving group out. Politicians are especially prone to having to recite the lists of people they intend to include. The often repeated citations are: “…including people who are black, white, brown, red, yellow, Hispanic, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, people of all faiths, religions, colours and creeds, BLM, LGBTQT, those who are mentally or physically challenged…Let’s see now, did I leave anybody out?” I could make a joke of this ever-lengthening list but I shan’t.

Frankly, I stumble over just the LGBTQT recitation, not because I want to intentionally malign anyone, but because it’s awkward. The list used to seem inclusive at reciting just religions, colours and creeds. If one accepts that the term “religions” might include those with no religion, that short list is fairly inclusive. What was missing was the whole sexual orientation issue. That may seem to be a more modern concern, and people who have not faced discrimination because of it might even think that it is unnecessary to include. But it is necessary to include. Why? Because shunning people who can do positive things for other people is mean, stupid and ultimately self-destructive. That’s why!

Ask most homosexual folks who their homosexual hero from history might be and you will discover a whole world of here-to-fore invisible talent, wisdom and compassion. The list of people who loved their own is practically endless, though less frequently known. Tchaikovsky is but one of thousands of talented gay men whose valuable lives were intentionally cut short due to the shame attached to, or projected upon, being homosexual. My one-time friend, John R, was another. Who knows what these decent people and countless others might have contributed to humanity had they been allowed to simply live without shame? That issue is its own essay which I shall not pursue here.

I would suggest that speech writers simplify their “inclusive” list by writing BOA. Well, not BOA, as in British Overseas Airways, or my feather boa, or even the letters B.O.A. Instead, speakers should be all-inclusive by saying, “People of all beliefs, orientations and appearances – all people who support the ideal of pursuing a ‘common good’.” It may not include all people by specific mention, not by identifiable label, but the categories include everyone except terrorists, who clearly need re-education at the minimum.

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