Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Glossary (comments welcome, as always)

For one of my classes this semester I was asked to make a glossary. It was too much work not to share it. Haha. Also, this is for an intro class, so it has a lot of holes and a few problematic points. I hope it does the job.For one of my classes this semester I was asked to make a glossary. It was too much work not to share it. Haha. Also, this is for an intro class, so it has a lot of holes and a few problematic points. I hope it does the job. Comments welcome!

The following is a collection of terms likely to come up in our discussions this semester and beyond about gender and sexuality. The goal of this collection is to act as a starting place for our discussions. The following glossary is to be used as a guide, but not to be seen as firm definitions. Gender and sexuality vary immensely from person to person and definitions may change based on the intersectionalities of those involved. Please, keep in mind that the best way to describe someone is to find out how they self-identify and to use the terms and pronouns that they are comfortable with. Feel free to make notes on these definitions to add to their depth and also to add your own terms that did not make it on this list, which is by no means complete.
• Sex: Assigned at birth based on biological factors, such as internal and external genitalia, hormones, and chromosomes. It is important to realize that these factors are measured against socially determined standards for what it considered “male”, “female”, or “ambiguous”.
• Gender: Socially constructed bank of roles, behavioral expectations, and presentations based on a person’s levels of masculinity and femininity. Note that gender expectations vary cross-culturally.
o Gender Identity: One’s internal sense of their actual gender. This may be different that the gender they are perceived as by society and may be incongruent from the expectations of gender based on biological sex. There are many different gender identities and it is important for people to self-identify their own rather than to be categorized against their will.
o Gender Expression: How one presents their gender. This consists of clothing, behavior, patterns of speech, etc.
o Gender Identity Disorder (GID): “A controversial DSM-IV diagnosis given to transgender and other gender-variant people” (Really Awesome Trans Glossary). This diagnosis refers to the gender identity of a person being incongruent with their assigned sex and therefore assumed gender. The term is controversial because it has been used to pathologize trans* individuals and to treat their gender identity as a malady.
o Gender Dysphoria: Feelings of intense dissatisfaction and malaise towards one’s assigned sex and gender.
• Sexual Orientation: The summary of a person’s physical, emotional, spiritual, etc., attraction to others. Note that sexual orientation is separate from gender identity. A trans man may be attracted to other men and would like self-identify as gay, or could be attracted to women and may identify as straight.
o Sexual Expression: The sexual/romantic behavior of an individual. Sexual expression may or may not reflect sexual orientation. A self-identified bisexual woman may have sexual or romantic relationships with women the majority of the time, but that does not indicate that their sexual orientation has changed. Similarly, a self-identified gay man may have sexual or romantic relationships with women, but still identify as gay with complete validity.
• AMAB/AFAB: An acronym meaning assigned male/female at birth.  Often indicating that the individual had no choice in the assignment and that it may or may not reflect their actual identity.
• Intersex: “Describes a person whose natal physical sex is physically ambiguous. Parents and medical professionals usually assign intersex infants a sex and perform surgical operations to conform the infant's body to that assignment, but this practice has become increasingly controversial as intersex adults are speaking out” (Really Awesome Trans Glossary). The term, “hermaphrodite” is typically seen today as improper when referring to the intersex community as it is laced with misconceptions, discrimination, and misinformation about intersex individuals.
• Cross Dresser: Someone who dresses in the clothing typical of the gender assumed opposite of their own gender. Cross-dressing behavior or identity does not indicate sexual orientation. Many self-identified straight men engage in this behavior and it does not mean that they are homosexual. This behavior should also not be used as an indicator of a trans* identity. The term transvestite is today often seen as inappropriate or offensive. Cross dresser is the preferred term.
• Femme: Can be used to indicate an identity, presentation, or behavior relating to gender. Though often associated with lesbian communities, “femme” is not necessarily indicative of “womanhood”, rather it is used to indicate leanings towards femininity. For instance, a male-identified person may also identify as femme, or feminine.
• Butch: Similar to femme, but on the masculine end of the scale. Once again, this term is often used in the context of a lesbian community, but “butch” may be an entirely independent gender identity or may indicate feelings of masculinity. One may identify as butch in tandem with another gender identity or by itself, i.e. butch, butch trans woman, butch man, butch genderqueer, etc.
• Drag: Extravagant, dramatic, performative gender, usually as a vehicle of entertainment. Most commonly thought of in terms of cross dressing, but any combination of gender identity and sex can enact any gender in drag. For example, a female-identified person could act as a drag queen successfully, just as a male-identified person could act as a drag king.
• Trans*: An umbrella term representing a multitude of gender identities that involve identifying, outside of, in-between, and across gender binary (masculine, feminine) lines.
o Transgender: A person who identifies across from the gender assigned along with their sex at birth. Trans woman is a term indicating someone who identifies as feminine/female, but who was AMAB. Trans man indicates someone who identifies as masculine/male who was AFAB.
o Transsexual: A term that usually refers to someone identifying across from their assigned gender/sex who is seeking to transition. Note that both “transsexual” and “transgender” should be applied to individuals based on how they self-identify.
o Intergender/Genderqueer: A term of some ambiguity that can refer to a range of gender identities. Often genderqueer people identify as androgynous, or in between masculine and feminine. However, genderqueers may also identify as outside of gender norms completely.
o Genderfluid: Similar to genderqueer, but indicative of gender variation throughout an individual’s life. This may mean that they see their gender as constantly in flux, or it could be that they shift slowly from one gender identity to another.
o Bigender: Refers to someone who identifies as both masculine and feminine. This could mean that they see themselves as primarily one or the other at certain times or that they exist in a consistent combination of masculine and feminine.
o Gender fucking(er): Someone who intentionally uses their gender expression/identity to challenge cultural norms surrounding gender.
• Cis: Where “trans” means “across” in Latin, “Cis” means “the same”.
o Cisgender: Someone whose gender identity/expression is consistent with their assigned birth sex.
o Cissexual: Someone who does not seek to transition physically due to having a body that is socially congruent with their gender identity.
• Chaser: A person who eroticizes or fetishizes someone based on their gender or sexual identity. Often this term is used to describe cis individuals who dehumanize trans* individuals, often in a sexual context.
• Passing: The notion that a person’s identity is able to go unnoticed when they wish. In a gender context, a person who is passing may be a trans woman who is seen as having an outwardly appearance and or behavior that renders her able to disappear among other women, unless she chooses to out herself as trans. Passing is complicated by the fact that who passes as what is socially determined and out of the hands of the individual. Rather, it is society who decides if a person passes. “Passing” in some ways cannot be defined because the nuances of what qualifies vary widely. Passing may refer to things outside of gender or sexual orientation including race, social class, etc.
o Passing Privilege: The idea that a person able to “pass” as their identified self is able to avoid some challenges that those with less passing privileges may face. This may include not being seen as a target for violence or discrimination, or may come down to whether or not someone is interpreted as “other” by society.
• Transphobia: Fear, distrust, hatred, etc. of Trans individuals and Transconcepts that can lead to violence, “othering”, and discrimination.
• Homophobia: Fear, distrust, hatred, etc. of homosexuals and homosexual concepts that can lead to violence, “othering”, and discrimination.
• Heteronormativity: The assumption that heterosexuality is unnatural, normal, expected, or mandatory. This concept can be enacted through non-inclusion of non-heterosexual identities or non-cis identities. Contributes to the “othering” of identities that fall outside of heterosexual and cissexual expectations.
• Transition: The process of physically and mentally becoming congruent with one’s gender identity and physicality. The terms below are often used to describe various aspects of transition. Note that no one should have to be reduced to their body parts and that each of these terms is not a stage or a step, but a part of transition for some people.
o Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Gradually taking hormones to become physically and mentally congruent with one’s gender identity and physicality.
o Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS): The act of undergoing a surgery or combination of surgeries to alter one’s physicality into a state congruent with one’s gender identity.
o Non-op: A trans* individual not seeking surgical procedures in transition.
o Pre-op: A trans* individual who is seeking surgical procedures in transition, but who has not yet undergone said procedures.
o Post-op: A trans* individual who has undergone surgical procedures in transition.
o Top Surgery: Refers to surgical procedures to remove the breasts of a trans* individual.
o Bottom Surgery: Refers to surgical procedures to remove/alter/construct the genitalia of a trans* individual to help them physically align with their gender identity.
• Queer: Can be used as an umbrella term for the GLBTQQIIAAP community (that’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, intergender, ally, asexual, pansexual.) Or can be a separate identity. Queer can mean different things to different people. For this definition, queer is a term that refers to an individual who identifies under the trans umbrella and also identifies within the homosexual umbrella, often as bisexual or pansexual.
• Monosexual: A sexual orientation based around one gender.
o Lesbian: A woman who has a sexual orientation geared towards romantic, sexual, or spiritual relationships with other women.
o Gay: A man who has a sexual orientation geared towards romantic, sexual, or spiritual relationships with other men.
o Straight (heterosexual): A man or a women who has a sexual orientation geared towards romantic, sexual, or spiritual relationships with genders opposite from their own.
• Multisexual: A sexual orientation based around multiple genders.
o Pansexual: An individual who has a sexual orientation geared towards romantic, sexual, or spiritual relationships with other individuals without stipulations of gender identity.
o Bisexual: An individual who has a sexual orientation geared towards romantic, sexual, or spiritual relationships with other individuals who are male or female identified.
o Heteroflexible: An individual who is primarily heterosexually identified, but has a sexual orientation that is open to romantic, sexual, or spiritual relationships with same gender partners.
o Homoflexible: An individual who is primarily homosexually identified, but has a sexual orientation that is open to romantic, sexual, or spiritual relationships with opposite gender partners.
• Asexual: An individual who has little to no interest in sexual partners. However, this individual may still seek out romantic partners and may consider themselves gay, lesbian, pansexual, straight, etc. based on their preferences toward genders of their romantic partners.
• Aromantic: An individual who has little to no interest in romantic partners. Often aromantic individuals identify as asexual as well, but this is not necessarily the case.
• Monogamy: A relationship style wherein the individuals involved have only one sexual and or romantic partner.
• Polyamory/nonmonagamy: A relationship style where the individuals may have more than one romantic or sexual partner with the knowledge and consent of all parties involved.
• Ally: An individual who acts in support of marginalized communities. In the case of the GLBTQQIIAAP community, an ally acts in support of those who are marginalized specifically for their gender or sexual identities.
Terminology to avoid/pejorative terms:
The communities of which they apply see most of the following terms as highly offensive. However, in some cases, individuals may self-identify as these terms, in which case identities should be respected, though it is important to understand the history of such terms and to look at their influences on communities most affected. There are many other terms not on this list, which is a brief sampling of words out of an ocean of defamatory language. Use common sense and be respectful if you have a question about whether or not how you are referring to an individual or a community is appropriate or offensive.
Bio male/female or genetic male/female, she-male, trap, reverse trap, he-she, it, tgirl, tboy, tranny, dick girl, lady-boy, chicks with dicks, runts with cunts, hermaphrodite, transvestite, faggot, fag-hag, fruit fly, dyke, etc.
“A Really Awesome Trans Glossary” by erinhoudini 
https://docs.google.com/document/edit?id=1YKAAZgij2… (used with permission)
Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg (1997)

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