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Pride Month 2022: A lexicon of 22 words to better understand the LGBTQI+ community

This Pride Month, we have put together a lexicon of words -- sourced exclusively from the Humsafar Trust -- that one ought to learn so they can educate others and keep the conversation going

Pride Month, Pride Month 2022, Pride dictionary, lexicon, LGBTQI+ community, understanding the LGBTQI+ community, dictionary of words LGBTQI+ community, LGBTQI+ terms, LGBTQI+ words, indian express newsWhile as a country we have made progress, the LGBTQI+ community still remains in the shadows in many cultures and societies, thereby obstructing the growth of individuals, who want to exist with pride. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Sameer (name changed) could not understand why his co-worker and longtime friend failed to grasp the concept of gender. “We got into a heated argument one day, when he attempted to simplify gender based on nothing but biological fabric. The conversation turned particularly problematic when he declared that gender is whatever is assigned to a person at birth, and that, it is this identity they ought to live with throughout.”

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Interestingly, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines gender as “characteristics of women, men, girls and boys that are socially constructed”. It adds that this can include “norms, behaviours and roles associated with being a woman, man, girl or boy, as well as relationships with each other”, and that since it is a “social construct, gender varies from society to society and can change over time”.

The WHO states that gender-based discrimination “intersects with other factors of discrimination, such as ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, age, geographic location, gender identity and sexual orientation”.

And so, while there has been a lot of awareness lately, the world still remains largely ignorant about not only gender identities, but the LGBTQI+ community as a whole.

Sameer’s exchange with his friend recapitulates the fact that while as a country we have made progress, the LGBTQI+ community still remains in the shadows in many cultures and societies, thereby obstructing the growth of individuals, who want to exist with pride.

As such, it is important to have a discourse around it and that can happen with certain awareness about issues pertaining to the community — including that of identity.

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This Pride Month, therefore, we have put together a lexicon of words — sourced exclusively from the Humsafar Trust, an NGO that provides counselling, advocacy and healthcare to the LGBTQI+ community — that one ought to learn so they can educate others and keep the conversation going.

While it is not a comprehensive list, it can help to widen your Pride vocab. Read on.

1. Asexual: A person who experiences little-to-no sexual attraction towards another person. Asexuality is a spectrum and may not or may have varied intensities of sexual attractions.

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2. Bi-Curious: A person who is actively exploring sexual and romantic attraction towards two genders and may not be sure of their sexual orientation yet.

3. Bisexual: A person who is sexually and romantically attracted to any two genders.

4. Coming out: The process of sharing or claiming a sexual orientation or gender identity out of the cisgendered-heteronormative construct with anyone is known as ‘coming out‘ or ‘coming out’ of the closet.

In 2020, Elliot Page — who was formerly Ellen Page — had come out as ‘transgender’, stating that his pronouns would now be ‘he/they’.

5. Demisexual: A person who is sexually attracted to someone only when there are emotional ties attached is a demisexual person.

6. Gay: A self-identified man who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to another self-identified man can claim ‘gay’ as a sexual orientation.

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In December 2021, a gay couple — Supriyo Chakraborty (31) and Abhay Dange (34) — solemnised their relationship at a resort in Hyderabad after they announced their wedding in October which went viral on social media.

7. Heterosexism: Discrimination in favour of heterosexual individuals against someone on the basis of sexual orientation.

8. Heterosexual: A person who is romantically and/or sexually attracted to a person of another sex or gender.

9. Homophobia: Verbal, mental or physical discrimination against homosexual individuals.

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10. Homosexual: A person who is romantically and/or sexually attracted to a person of the same sex or gender.

11. Lesbian: A self-identified woman who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to another self-identified woman can claim ‘lesbian’ as the sexual orientation.

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12. Non-binary: Persons who do not identify with the binary gender identities of man and woman fall under the non-binary umbrella.

Last year, singer Demi Lovato opened up about being pansexual, and in a video shared on Twitter, identified as ‘non-binary’ and said that they will “officially be changing [their] pronouns to they/them.”


13. Pansexual: A person who is romantically and/or sexually attracted to a person of all other sex or genders or regardless of their sex or gender.

14. Queer: Originally used as a pejorative slur, queer has now become an umbrella term to describe the diverse ways people reject binary categories of gender and sexual orientation to express who they are.

15. Androgynous: A person who expresses gender in both masculine and feminine manner.

Many celebrities have made a case for androgynous fashion, and among them are Ranveer Singh, Ayushmann Khurrana, Lilly Singh, to name a few.

16. Cisgender: A person who identifies with the same gender that they were assigned at birth.

17. Cross-dresser: A person who dresses in the opposite gender’s manner as per the binaries.

18. (a) Drag Queen: A person irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity expressing themselves in a flamboyant feminine way usually for entertainment or advocacy purposes.

18. (b) Drag King: A person irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity expressing themselves in a flamboyant masculine way usually for entertainment or advocacy purposes.

19. Gender dysphoria: The psychological distress that occurs when a person’s gender identity differs from the gender they were assigned at birth.

20. (a) Transgender: A person who does not identify with the gender that they were assigned at birth and identifies with another gender identity, fall under this overarching umbrella.

20. (b) Transition: The process of socially and/or medically being identified with a different gender than the one assigned at birth is called transition.

Actor Elliot Page, in a recent interview, opened up about his transition, calling transphobia “just so extreme”. He was quoted as telling Esquire: “I can’t overstate the biggest joy, which is really seeing yourself. I know I look different to others, but to me I’m just starting to look like myself. It’s indescribable, because I’m just like, there I am. And thank God. Here I am. So the greatest joy is just being able to feel present, literally, just to be present.”

21. Transman: A person assigned female at birth but self identifies as man.

22. Transwoman: A person assigned male at birth but self identifies as woman.

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First published on: 23-06-2022 at 12:30:02 pm
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