Gooooooood morning friends!
It is pride month and I am proud of you.
By now, we should be widely accepting civilization that welcomes those in the LGBTQ+ community. Sadly, this is often not the case. I can't fathom what would drive a person to discriminate against someone because of who they love or how they choose to express their gender but it does happen. In fact, there has been a 144% rise in homophobic and transphobic hate crime since 2014 in the UK - and those are just the reported incidents. Maybe you're the type of person who has some questions about the LGBTQ+ community but doesn't know where to start? We're going to attempt to give you the resources so you can learn and understand.
TERMINOLOGY: key words/phrases and what they mean.
The acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer. The plus denotes everything else included in the community out without heterosexuality including pansexuality, asexuality, non-binary, and non gender conforming, to name a few.
Why Queer?! Isn't that offensive?
Queer is a term used by those wanting to reject specific labels of romantic orientation, sexual orientation and/or gender identity. It can also be a way of rejecting the perceived norms of the LGBT community (racism, sizeism, ableism etc). Although some LGBT people view the word as a slur, it was reclaimed in the late 80s by the queer community who have embraced it. That being said, you should not label someone as queer if they do not define themselves as queer. Don't be a dick.
Someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth.
Someone whose gender identity is different to the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans people may describe themselves using one or more of a wide variety of terms, including (but not limited to) transgender, transsexual, gender-queer (GQ), gender-fluid, non-binary, gender-variant, crossdresser, genderless, agender, nongender, third gender, bi-gender, trans man, trans woman,trans masculine, trans feminine and neutrois.
This was used in the past as a more medical term (similarly to homosexual) to refer to someone whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. This term is still used by some although many people prefer the term trans or transgender.
Calling someone by their birth name after they have changed their name. This term is often associated with trans people who have changed their name as part of their transition.
Used to describe when a person experiences discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between their sex assigned at birth and their gender identity.
How a person chooses to outwardly express their gender, within the context of societal expectations of gender. A person who does not conform to societal expectations of gender may not, however, identify as trans.
A person’s innate sense of their own gender, whether male, female or something else (see non-binary below), which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned at birth.
An umbrella term for people whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’. Non-binary identities are varied and can include people who identify with some aspects of binary identities, while others reject them entirely.
LETS TALK PRONOUNS
Even if a persons pronouns are new to you, it is really important that you respect the individuals choice of pronoun and use it when necessary. Pronouns are:
She / Her / Hers
He / Him / His
They / Them / Theirs
Ze / Hir / Hirs
Xe / Xem / Xyrs
Most trans people will use the most common pronouns, ‘he’ and ‘she’, to refer to themselves. However, some people may use the gender neutral pronouns ‘they’ and ‘their’ in the singular sense. You may also meet a trans person who uses less common gender neutral pronouns (such as ‘zie’ or ‘hir’) but these are currently mostly used online. In place of the gendered titles of address (Mr, Miss, Mrs, Ms), you might see the use of a newly created gender-neutral title of Mx. More commonly people may just opt not to use any title. Once someone has let you know their pronouns and title, it is (again) really important to try and get them right as much as possible, even if they are new or unusual to you.
If you are speaking briefly with or about someone and are unsure how the person would wish to be addressed, then it is usually best just to avoid using any gendered terms. In this case, "they", "them" would be most appropriate.
If the interaction is long enough, ask the person their name to try to determine which pronoun to use. If it is still not clear then it is acceptable to politely ask: “excuse me, but which pronouns do you use?” or “excuse me, but how do you like to be addressed?”
If you accidentally use the wrong pronoun, just apologise once and continue with the conversation. You don’t need to apologise profusely or try to explain why it happened – this often only causes more awkwardness.
Thank you to Scottish Trans Alliance for this great information! https://www.scottishtrans.org/trans-rights/practice/use-of-pronouns/