Here’s how to talk about LGBTQIA + issues (and why pronouns are so important)

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You’ve heard the expression “Knowledge is power”. There is also power in language; it identifies who we are. As we wrap up Pride Month, WCPO takes you to school to explain some of the LGBTQIA + terms you have likely seen and heard but may not be familiar with.

LGBTQIA +

The letters stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer, intersex and asexual / ally / lawyer. The plus is added to represent anyone else who feels their gender or gender identity does not fit into any of these categories.

Sex versus gender

While sex refers to a person’s biological characteristics, gender is a social construct.

The LGBTQ Journalists Association (NLGJA) puts it this way: “Gender is usually assigned to a person at birth by an attendant or parent who bases the decision on the infant’s visible genitals. This attribution may not correspond to the real sex of the person, to his knowledge. of which may emerge later.

Queer

The term was once considered an insult, but has since been picked up by the LGBTQIA + community as an empowering vehicle to describe people who do not conform to sexual or gender norms.

The NLGJA recommends caution with the term, however, as it may still be used as an epithet or viewed as offensive by LGBTQIA + communities, regardless of intent and may require explanation or contextualization.

Intersex

According to the NLGJA, the term intersex refers to “people born with sex chromosomes, genitals and / or a reproductive system that are not considered the norm for males or females.” People born intersex often have their gender and gender identity chosen for them, but may later decide to change one or both of these identities.

Asexual / Ally / Lawyer

Asexual refers to “someone who does not experience sexual attraction” and is more closely associated with sexual orientation than gender (according to NLGJA).

The A in the acronym LGBTQIA + also applies to allies and advocates, those who do not identify as part of these communities but offer their support and alliance in political and social issues.

Cisgender

“’Cis’ in Latin means ‘the same’,” said Tristan Vaught, who works with school districts on equity, inclusion and belonging. “You were assigned a gender at birth and you still identify with the assignment. Being cisgender does not necessarily indicate one’s sexuality (i.e. homosexual or heterosexual), only that his gender identity (i.e. male or female) matches the gender assigned to him. at birth.

Pansexual

“That doesn’t mean I’m drawn to pots and pans,” Vaught said. “This actually goes against the term bisexual because bi means ‘binary.’ According to NLGJA, the term” (d) describes someone who experiences attraction regardless of sex, gender identity or gender. ‘gender expression‘.

“A person who identifies as pansexual can be drawn to many different gender identities or to all gender identities,” said Dr. Sarah Pickle, a family and community medicine specialist at the University of Cincinnati.

Non binary

This term refers to anyone whose sexual and / or gender expression does not correspond to a man, woman, man or woman.

“So non-binary, I don’t feel like a man or a woman,” Vaught said. “I’m kind of in the middle. I’m close to being a trans man, but I’m in this non-binary space. My assigned gender was female,” they said.

And what’s the deal with pronouns?

The NLGJA, The Associated Press and other organizations have reported that the pronouns they are now just as acceptable as he / his / her when referring to a single person whose gender or gender identity does not match the traditional binary.

But why are pronouns so important?

“The language is really powerful,” Pickle said. “It’s a cultural phenomenon and a way to show respect,” for those who don’t identify with the pronoun others might expect to use when interacting with them.

“Non-binary individuals may identify somewhere between male and female or reject a binary categorization of gender altogether,” according to the NLGJA guide.



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