Picture it –It’s 1993, “I Will Always Love You” plays on the radio, Jurassic Park is the top grossing movie, gas prices are only a dollar and mid-December the Clinton administration introduces the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. Less than two months later, this discriminatory policy would remain in effect for the next 17 years.
Now, 30 years after a policy that perpetuated generations of shame and discrimination, our knowledge and understanding of what it means to be a member of the LGBTQIA+ community has exponentially changed. While the research still has a long way to go, it can seem overwhelming to take in new information on a subject that is constantly evolving. My hopes are that this post will serve as an easy-to-read reference. Below is a short list of frequently asked questions:
What does LGBTQIA+ stand for?
LGBTQIA+ (historically GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) is an acronym that refers to humans who are:
Lesbian: An adjective to describe humans who identifies as a woman and are sexually and/or romantically attracted to other women.
Gay: An adjective to describe humans who are sexually and/or romantically attracted to their same gender.
Bisexual: An adjective to describe humans who are sexually and/or romantically attracted to more than one gender.
Transgender: An adjective to describe humans whose gender identity are different than the sex they were assigned at birth.
Queer: An adjective to describe humans who feel the terms lesbian, gay, and bisexual are too limiting.
Intersex: An adjective to describe a human who was born with more than one sex characteristic. This could include genitals, chromosomes, and internal reproductive organs.
Asexual: An adjective used to describe a human who does not experience sexual attraction.
What is the difference between transgender and nonbinary?
Transgender folks are those whose gender identity is different than the sex they were assigned at birth. Nonbinary folks are humans who do not exist within the binary of male or female.
In literature transgender is often used as an umbrella term to encompass all folks whose gender identity, gender expression and behavior do not conform to the typical societal expectations.
How do I know what pronouns to use?
You never want to assume someone’s pronouns. A good rule of thumb is to introduce yourself with your pronouns and ask the other person what pronouns they use. When asking someone’s pronouns it is crucial to not use the word preferred, keep in mind that pronouns are not preferred but they are essential to our identity.
What is a dead name and when is it OK to use it?
Occasionally referred to as an old name, given name or birth name, a dead name is the name that transgender folks or gender-expansive folks used before coming out. Typically, the name they are assigned at birth.
It is never OK or necessary to use someone’s dead name. Using someone’s dead name can be triggering, cause stress, embarrassment and even put the person in danger.
What does it mean to be Cisgender?
Cisgender folks are those whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth. In other words, if you were born with all the ‘It’s a girl’ parts and you still identify as a female, you would be considered cis gender.
I hope this article provided helpful information. If you are a member of LGBTQIA+ community, family member, or caregiver seeking support, please contact Clinical Counseling Associates to schedule an appointment with one of our LGBTQIA+ affirming therapists.