Cis, Bi, Transgender, Pansexual – a ready reckoner on sexual identities and leanings

Other than the three commonly used terms - lesbian, gay, and bisexual, people tend to be unclear of other identities or their definitions. But since ignorance isn’t bliss, it's time we understand and start talking about all sexual orientations. 

Written by Anjali Jha | New Delhi | Updated: August 20, 2018 4:31:36 pm

Sexual orientation, LGBT, lesbian, gay, bisexual , cis, queer , trans, incel , bi, Sexuality Lesbian, gay, and bisexual – Understanding the different sexual identities. (Source: Getty/Thinkstock Images)

Kubra Sait might have played a transgender (and one of the most pivotal characters) in Sacred Games, but it seems that awareness of transgenders and sexualities is still not commonplace amongst the average and above average citizens of India. Just the other day, Maneka Gandhi, Minister of Women and Child Development had to publicly apologise for using the term “the other ones” while referring to transgenders in Lok Sabha. During a debate on Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, in Lok Sabha she termed the people from the LGBTQA+ community as “other ones”. Later, she drew flak from the transgender community and others for using the phrase and had to tweet out and accept her “lack of knowledge”.

Other than the three commonly used terms – lesbian, gay, and bisexual, people tend to be unclear of other identities or their definitions. But since ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s time we understand and start talking about all sexual orientations. Here is a list of terms, which while not comprehensive will still help widen our understanding of different sexual identities curated with the help of glossary list provided by University of California, Davis.

Cisgender

Cisgender is the opposite of transgender and used to describe someone whose gender classification matches their anatomical gender at birth.

Queer

Queer refers to someone who is not heterosexual. It has been reclaimed by some people from the LGBTQA+ community but isn’t a universally accepted term even within the community.

Homosexual

Homo means the same and refers to those who are attracted to the same gender as theirs.

Transgender or transsexual

People whose personal sexual orientation is different from naturally assigned one.

Incel

A state in which people are unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite feeling romantic and desiring for one. It is also known as inceldom wherein the person feels lonely and wants a partner. It stands for Involuntary Celibate.

Bisexual or Bi

Bi means two, and bisexual individuals feel attracted to both males and females.

Asexual

Asexual people can experience romantic and emotional attraction towards their partner but little or at times no sexual attraction. They still have successful and meaningful relationships while not feeling sexual attraction to their partner.

Pansexual

The word Pansexual is derived from the prefix “pan” that means all. The term defines those who have sexual and emotional feelings and have the capability to fall in love with all genders.

Allosexual

A sexual orientation generally characterized by feeling sexual attraction or a desire for partnered sexuality.

Monosexual

People who have romantic, sexual, or affectional desire for one gender only. Heterosexuality and homosexuality are the most well-known forms of monosexuality.

Demisexual

Demisexuality is a sexual orientation in which someone feels sexual attraction only to people with whom they have an emotional bond.

This is not an exhaustive list, but an attempt to build a greater understanding of the various types of sexual identities which are present around us. And hopefully to help us avoid using the term, “other ones” to describe anyone who is different from us. No harm trying.

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