10 LGBTQ Terms That You Need To Know
This year, LGBTQ issues have become pertinent ones—377A is still in effect, the NLB has banned children’s books featuring different types of families, and the #WearWhite movement was started to “protest” against the annual Pink Dot event.
While we aim to be inclusive, there are lots of terms that the LGBTQ community use to describe themselves, and more have been added to their lexicon in recent years. If you’re not too sure what they are, here’s a list that will help you understand their struggles.
Many of us are familiar with the acronym LGBT, but there has been a new letter added to this term, which describes a community of people. The “Q” stands for queer, referring to people who are not straight but feel like other labels like “lesbian” or “gay” don’t quite fit them.
For example, a gay man could incidentally be attracted to one girl. Although he is mostly attracted to men, he may feel like his friends who are also gay may think less of him. So he can identify as queer, a more general label to include people who do not identify as straight.
Bonus: LGBTQ isn’t the only acronym used to describe the community. QUILTBAG comes to mind, and stands for Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Transgender/Transsexual, Bisexual, Allied/Asexual, Gay/Genderqueer. It’s more inclusive and easier to say, too.
2. (Non) Gender Binary
When we think about gender, we think about two genders, namely, male and female. This is called the gender binary, and it describes the idea that there are only two types of genders in the world, but that’s not true. Gender comes in a spectrum. There are lots of people who don’t fit into these categories, and there are proper names for them too.
While most of us consider ourselves to be male or female, there are people who do not identify as either, and consider themselves to be genderless. Yes, that’s right. They can’t see themselves as male or female, and we’re totally cool with it.
It is natural to desire people sexually, but there are some people who do not feel sexual attraction to any people, whatsoever. That’s totally okay! Asexual people may or may not be interested in romantic relationships, but they certainly don’t want to have sex. There are also aromantic people, which means that these individuals do not feel romantically attracted to others.
Sometimes, people are born with two kinds of genitalia, or are born women and have male DNA, and vice versa. Because of this, it can be pretty difficult to tell who is intersex at birth, and people only realise this much later. The term “hermaphrodite” is also used, but intersex is a lot more sex positive and less demeaning.
No, pansexual doesn’t mean that you’re attracted to frying pans. Lame joke aside, if you are pansexual, it means you’re romantically or sexually attracted to people of any sex and gender identity. Awesome.
We’ve all heard of coming out of the closet, but the word “outing” means that someone has chosen to tell of another person’s gender identity and sexual orientation without consent. This happens a lot in the public eye, where famous CEOs are outed and forced to resign because of who they are. This is not cool, and violates a person’s right to privacy. Someone who has a different gender and sexual orientation should be able to come out when he or she feels ready.
Transgender is a general term that is used to describe people whose identity is different from the one they are born with. More precise terms under this umbrella include transsexuals, androgynes, as well as some cross dressers who choose to identify as transgender. A transgender woman is someone who used to be male, and a transgender man is someone who used to be female.
Woo, this is a loaded term, and it happens a lot on our society. This term refers to the discrimination against the LGBTQ community, because it assumes that heterosexuality is the “normal” sexual orientation. Any other sexuality that deviates from this norm isn’t given a say or any rights. That’s really sad. LGBTQ people are people, too.
This one is for all you straight folks out there. With all this talk about alternative sexualities, there is a term to describe people who identify with the gender that they are born with. That’s what cis-gender means.
Now I Know All These Terms, But So What?
People are complex creatures, and they don’t always fit into neat little labels, which is probably why more and more are being created to suit different identities. Whatever our friends may identify with, we should respect what they would like to be called. This list can also be used as a jumping point to learn more about these issues, and hopefully clear up some of the questions you’ve been having.