3 Sexual & Gender Gloss

Many people, including until now, me,  are confused, uncertain, or concerned not to offend regarding terms to use in relation to people of diverse genders. This is my attempt to clarify some terms that may be used.[1]

Gender - someone’s identity that may include binary identities such as: male and female, and non-binary identities such as androgynous and gender-queer.[2]

 Sexuality - someone’s determined sexual attraction, whether: heterosexual (physically attracted to a different e gender), homosexual (to the same gender), bi-sexual (to more than one gender), or asexual (not sexually attracted).

 Queer - preferred by many as a generalist, non-specific, more inclusive and friendly term, especially by younger people.

 Transgender - a person whose birth sex differs from the gender they identify as.

 Cis (or cisgender) - a person whose birth sex is the same as the gender they identify as.

 Trans - is a broad inclusive non-specific term for transgender people (including male to female, female to male, not specified, gender-queer, or bi-gender). Others, perhaps older, may also include cross-dresser, and transvestite within this term.[3]

 Transman (female to male), or transwoman (male to female).

 Gender-queer - a term used by some people who identify as neither male nor female. They see gender not as binary, but as a spectrum that ranges from masculinity to femininity. Most gender-queer people identify somewhere in between, or outside of masculinity or femininity.

 Non-specified - someone who is neither he or she, or may or may not be 'gay,' or 'homosexual,' which they may or may not wish to disclose. Sexuality is unrelated to gender and many transgender people may be heterosexual, or asexual. Sexuality may change with the transitioning journey, or by taking hormones.

Intersex - a biological, or medical term regarding someone’s number of chromosomes and/or hormone imbalances.

Rainbow (and rainbow family) - a symbol of diversity, and the queer movement. It has also had symbolic meaning for the monotheistic religions, particularly Judaism, of the subsidence of the Great Flood, of hope, and as the symbol of the international cooperative movement since 1921.

The best-known version of the rainbow flag was popularized as a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride and diversity by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker (b1951-) in 1978. When he raised the first Rainbow Flag at San Francisco Pride on June 25, 1978, it had eight colors, each with symbolic meaning: hot pink: sexuality, red: life, orange: healing, yellow: sunlight, green: nature, turquoise, or magenta: magic and art, blue: serenity and harmony and violet: spirit. Magenta and pink were later deleted.

Gender neutral pronouns are used by many gender-queer people, eg:  they, their, or them instead of binary pronouns such as she, her, or hers and he, him, or his. Some see this as rather clumsy expression, but to me it is probably no more so than ‘Ms’ was 30 years ago.

 A person who presents as male in appearance must (without them advising otherwise) always be addressed as 'he' (and will probably use the male toilets) and if appearing female, as 'she,' (female toilets) regardless of assigned birth sex, or sexuality.

People must always be addressed as they themselves wish, just as for some time a female chairman may have preferred to be addressed as the chair, the chairperson, or the chairwoman.

Any person may differ from any other in their sexuality, gender, or terminological preference.

Some older gay activists still insist on insulting young queer activists by their lack of inclusivity, despite their having often included sex-workers, and earlier, the women's movement.

 Out - someone who has publicly disclosed their sexuality, or non-apparent gender. It is very offensive to out someone who has not already done so themselves.

 Sexual preference - a meaningless term, and pejorative to some people including me, because it implies a choice in a person’s sexuality, which does not exist.

 Transsexual - a uncommon and outdated term that is now often replaced with transgender.

 'Tranny' - is pejorative, demeaning, and must never be used, except perhaps by transgender people themselves as an internal and generally endearing term.Drag queen (male comedic performer appearing, often exaggeratedly, as female), drag king (female comedic performer appearing as male), or transvestite (or cross-dresser, someone who enjoys and relaxes in clothes of a different gender). Both of these are unrelated to sexuality, as anyone of any sexuality, including heterosexual people, can be a transvestite.

 So, if in doubt use the term 'queer.'

 GLBTIQ - is a common acronym in Australia for gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans*, intersex and  gueer (or questioning). In USA, GLBT is still more common.

 SSA, SGD, or SSASGD - same-sex attracted, sex and gender diverse.


- In Australia, the accepted term for homosexual until c1972.

 - Theatrical, flamboyant, or otherwise fabulous.

  'Miss God' (a term invented by W H Auden in the 1950s), for himself as the all-knowing being.

[1] I want to thank Lee Taube for their extensive sage advice, and editing of this posting over many email exchanges.

[2] Interestingly in 1976, gender still only referred to a grammatical term. Refer: J B Sykes, Ed, The Concise Oxford Dictionary, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, Oxford (1911) 1979.

[3] Trans* - with the initial capital and the asterisk was used by some for a time, but is not now. www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/gender-neutral-pronouns-when-they-doesnt-identify-as-either-male-or-female/2014/10/27/41965f5e-5ac0-11e4-b812-38518ae74c67_story.html