Contrary to popularized, now-obsolete beliefs, the word ‘queer’ is neither a comedic or derogatory word for someone who identifies somewhere on the homosexuality spectrum or as a gender other than the physical one they received when they were born. It does, however, serve as a simple, single-syllabic term that encompasses the entire LGBTQA spectrum and can help simplify explanations if one has gained inquiry as to their identity. Wikipedia, I have found, is a fantastic source for those who want to discover endless information regarding each sexual and gender-based orientation we have become increasingly aware of as a society, but it contains so much information that it can be difficult to find the concise explanations one may be looking for.
As a predecessor to the elaborations I have planned in an effort to out-Wikipedia Wikipedia, I must state this perspective, complete with visual aids, that I rely on as a basis for the rest of this article’s content:
What this is portraying is that sex is a physical trait, gender is a psychological trait, and sexuality is an emotional trait. You may be born ‘male’ or ‘female’, and thus be labelled as your culture would have you, but psychologically and emotionally you may not align with these labels.
For a more elaborate description, click here.
Due to the more traditional perspectives warming up to gender identity, we have been able to witness the celebrity of a few transgender women (Laverne Cox, Caitlyn Jenner, Isis King) and genderfluid figures (Ruby Rose, Miley Cyrus) in the media. While the controversy still stands with some of them, they are helping break barriers that were formerly incorruptible within our society. So as to inhibit confusion in the ‘Sexual Orientations’ overview within this article, these terms will be addressed first.
Broad term identifying incongruence of anatomical sex and psychological gender.
When one begins to undergo the physical change from their sex to their gender, they may choose to identify as either FTM (Female to Male) or MTF (Male to Female). The processes that allow this physical change to occur vary greatly.
For more information on FTM, click here.
For more information on MTF, click here.
This site is a supportive and informational source for anyone who is interested in researching these topics.
Term that refers to one who identifies with the anatomy they were born with and the cultural/societal community involved with it.
One who identifies as male, female, or genderfluid (see below), but is not cisgender.
One who may identify as a woman or a male at any given period of time (may prefer a they/them/their pronoun).
Refers to an identity that lacks desire for gender representation.
The LGBTQA community sometimes is met with a confused glance when referred to as such. A bunch of letters in succession normally evoke similar responses, to which the speaker inevitably feels slightly miffed at needing to explain. The goal is to eventually eradicate the discomfort both sides consequently experience during such an encounter.
One who identifies as a female who is attracted to others who identify as female. A common issue with this label is that there is an ‘invisibility’ that applies when a lesbian presents herself as traditionally feminine, whereas there is a connotation and expectation that lesbians prefer to present themselves as more masculine figures.
While it may also be used as an umbrella term to encompass most sexualities, the word ‘gay’ refers one who identifies as male who is attracted to others who identify as male. Just as with lesbians, there is an invisibility factor that comes into play when a male presents himself as traditionally masculine due to the cultural expectation that a gay man appears feminine.
This term refers to someone who is attracted to people that adhere to the male/female gender binary. They may have a preference for one of these two genders, but they do not identify as someone who is attracted to one entirely. Bisexuals have a different experience with invisibility, as they are typically seen as straight (heterosexual) if in a relationship with someone opposite their gender, or are seen as homosexual if in a relationship with someone opposite their gender.
Umbrella term that one can use to identify themselves as anything other than completely heterosexual or cisexual. A pro to using this terminology is that it is broad enough to be a simple explanation of one’s identity when time or context limits farther explanation, while a con is that it leaves much gray space to as what one directly identifies as.
Contrary to satirical consensus, one who identifies as asexual cannot, in fact, reproduce on their own. Asexuality describes one who is not attracted to any gender whatsoever. This does not mean that asexuals are asocial-they simply have no sexual attraction whatsoever.
The theoretical opposite to asexuality is not included in the LGBTQA combination;
Pansexuality is occasionally misconstrued as bisexuality, but is a broader term that encompasses all genders, whether they are attracted to someone who identifies as male, female, transgender, genderfluid, genderqueer, etc. etc. etc. Pans have nothing to do with it.
In addition to these terms, I find myself drawn to addressing romantic terminology as well.
Aromantic (not ‘aromatic’, mind you) / Homoromantic / Heteroromantic / Biromantic / Panromantic / etc:
Given the previous explanation of the prefixes of the given terms, I do not doubt that you, dearest reader, are intelligent enough to get the gist of whichever gender(s) each identification leans toward. Romanticism, in contrast to sexuality, refers to which gender(s)-if any-one is interested in participating in romantic endeavors with. For example, an asexual-aromantic will never pursue anything but platonic relationships. An asexual-biromantic would be interested in having a romantic relationship with someone who identifies as female or male. Heteronormative relationships revolve around interest based in heterosexual-heteroromanticism.
Gender expression holds a great deal of power in the aforementioned invisibility status of various identities. While, culturally, one who identifies one way may present themselves completely conversely, thus blending in with expectations that revolve around them. An explanation of this, due to my inherent need to go off on tangents, will be saved for another time.
Please please please inform me if I have skimped on any of these definitions or have left out terms that should be immediately addressed.
Thank you for your curiosity, intellect, and respect.