I had a client a couple of years ago ask what the “Q” in LGBTQ meant. I told her it could mean a few things, including Queer and Questioning. She winced when I said the word “queer,” which I’ve experienced before and understand especially if you’re from a generation where that was a derogatory word to use. I smiled and told her “We’ve reclaimed it.”
Although “queer” has been used increasingly by some, others still have negative associations with the word and do not like to be referred to in this way. When describing someone’s sexuality, all terms, including queer, should be used with sensitivity and respect.
It’s normal to be overwhelmed by the different labels we now have to describe sexual and romantic orientation, identity, attraction, and behavior. Taking some time to learn about appropriate and respectful language to use can go a long way in supporting your LGBTQ friends, or create a deeper understanding of your own sexuality.
Because I find it helpful to familiarize yourself with language that describes the variety of LGBTQ experiences, I am hosting LGBTQIA+ FAQ, which is a workshop welcome to everyone regardless of how you identify.
I’m excited to share this info with you because I often find people don’t know appropriate language to use, and aren’t sure how to ask. I’ve got you covered!
Here are a few of the “FAQs” we will discuss!
What is gender, and how does it relate to sex?
What is the difference between gender identity and gender expression?
What do terms like genderqueer, genderfluid, nonbinary, and gendernonconforming mean?
How do I ask what someone’s pronouns are?
What can I do to support people in my life who are LGBTQIA+?
What does cisgender mean?
How can cisgender people treat transgender people respectfully?
You might be wondering, “This stuff is complicated, why should I learn about it?” And you’d be right – gender IS complicated! And that’s ok. It’s complicated and wonderful that the LGBGTQIA+ community has such a rich diversity of gender identities and expressions.
It is my belief that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity and respect. So there’s my answer to “why” learn about it. It’s tough to know the intricacies of the LGBTQIA+ community, but learning some key concepts and ways to talk to your friends and family about this means you’re already on your way to becoming a kickass, admirable human being!