Monday, January 28, 2013

The Official-ish Blog Dictionary

I tend to use vocabulary in my writing that may not be very accessible to the average reader.  Mostly because it's...y'know...made up.  Focusing on queer activism, we have a LOT of words that we, as a community, have generated and started using among ourselves.  In case you ever see a term that you've never seen before and your dictionary's only response is "lol wut?", this sheet should suffice in helping you!  I'm filling it with all the words that either a) people aren't often familiar with or b) have complicated or varying definitions, even within the community.
Taking that last part into account, note that these definitions are not the end-all-be-all of definitions for the words presented, but are instead how I have come to understand and use them.  A lot of them are also descriptions of personal identities, which is another red flag - a person may identify as something even if my (or anyone else's but their own) definition doesn't qualify them.  And this is perfectly okay.

These definitions are meant to help describe peoples' identities based on how I see people tend to use them, and nothing more.  Knowing a definition gives you no right or entitlement to tell people that their identity is somehow "wrong" if it doesn't qualify under the definition.  That is their decision - so this list should be used as nothing more than a basic point of reference! </proactive scolding>

This list will be updated occasionally when I think of any more words that need defining.

  • Activist – A person who takes steps to make a progressive change in their community.
  • Ally - A person who is an activist for a group of people that they don't otherwise belong to.
  • Biological Sex - How a person's biological, physical features classify them as male, female, in between those sexes, or without one.
  • Cisgender – A person whose biological sex, gender identity, and gender expression are either all male or all female.
  • Coming Out - When someone of an invisible minority tells people about their identity or condition.
  • Entitlement - An expectation from privileged people that they will be treated with respect and not have difficulty in achieving their goals.
  • FAAB/MAAB – Female/Male Assigned At Birth; the terms to describe a person’s sex as judged by the doctor at the moment of birth.
  • Gender Essentialism - An understanding of gender that assumes men and women have distinct, separate, and mutually exclusive traits inherent to them.
  • Gender Expression - How one's general appearance (clothing, body language, hygienic choices, makeup, etc.) associates with a gender.
  • Gender Identity - One's self-perception of their own gender.  Completely independent with sexual orientation and biological sex.
  • GSM - Stands for Gender and Sexual Minorities.  This term stands to replace LGBT...etc. since it's simpler and more inclusive by nature.
  • Intersex - A person whose biological sex does not fit into either Male or Female.
  • Invisible Minority - A person with an identity or condition that is not noticeable without them telling you; some examples are LGBT, rape, sexual assault, and domestic abuse survivors, and people with mental disorders.
  • LGBT(TQQIIAA)...etc. - An ever-expansive acronym for the queer community with a letter for every identity.  Replaced by GSM.
  • Marginalization - To treat a group of people in a way that excludes them from the greater part of society.
  • Privileged - Used to describe a person or group of people that experiences a freedom from stigmas in a given society.
  • Queer – A reclaimed umbrella term for a person who pursues any sort of relationship that deviates from the “socially acceptable” norm of being heterosexual, cisgendered, vanilla, monogamous, and prudent.
  • Trans* - Any form of gender identity that is not cisgender, including (but not limited to)…
    • Transgender – A person whose gender identity is different from their biological sex.
    • Transsexual – A person undergoing Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), has undergone Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS; formerly [and incorrectly] known as “sexual reassignment surgery”), or a person who is presenting as a gender different than their biological sex.
    • Transvestite – A person whose gender expression differs from their biological sex and (often) their gender identity as well.
    • Nongender – A person who feels that neither Male nor Female describes their gender identity; may also refer to themselves as Third Gender, or Name-As-Gender.

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