Article by Shannon Greenwood.
Last week’s Supreme Court hearings on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 brought a huge spotlight to the LGBTQ community. With that spotlight came a wave of inclusivity by individuals far and wide, some of whom may not have ever dabbled in LGBTQ activism before. The overwhelming support I have seen brought on by the Supreme Court hearings just happened to coincide perfectly with the start of April, which is celebrated as Pride Month.
Pride Month is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a huge celebration of the LGBTQ community in all of its entirety. Here at MU, the LGBTQ Resource Center is putting together numerous events including Pride Prom, the Let’s Get Loud Drag Show and the Queer Monologues, to name a few.
In honor of the start of Pride Month and the incredible support recently seen due to the Supreme Court cases, I think it’s important to discuss the LGBTQ community as a whole and some of the issues seen by the individual groups who fall within it.
The start of this discussion begins with the notion that we, as humans, need categories. Our minds are constantly taking in information and to keep up with it all, we subconsciously sort things into groups called schemas. Schemas help us process information faster, which is great, except they can also lead to stereotyping and discrimination.
A major reason why the queer community faces discrimination is because the community is sometimes misunderstood. We, as a society, tend to distance ourselves from things we don’t understand — not necessarily because we are not inclusive, but because those differences are foreign and sometimes left unclear.
So, to break this chain of LGBTQ misinformation, I am going to try to define the “queer alphabet soup.” I say “try” because my definitions are in no way exhaustive or even necessary. I wholeheartedly believe defining who you are is done on an individual basis. Some people fit into these definitions, some do not. The thing is, you don’t need to perfectly align with any of these labels in order to be identifiable. My hope in defining these groups is to bring a sense of understanding of the LGBTQ community.
The five letters of LGBTQ stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. Lesbian is a term used for people who identify as women who are attracted to other women. Likewise, a gay man refers to anyone who identifies as a man and is attracted to other men.
Bisexuality is a sexual orientation in which a person can be attracted to both men and women. A common misconception about bisexuality is that it doesn’t even exist. It is sometimes assumed that someone who identifies as bisexual, but has a preference for the opposite sex, might simply be faking it. And if a bisexual has a preference for the same sex, then they’ve still got one foot inside the closet. Both of these are not true. Bisexuals have the ability to be sexually and emotionally attracted to both genders, but that doesn’t mean they’re attracted to everyone.
Transgender is not a sexual orientation, but rather a gender identity. People who are transgender feel they were born into the wrong gender’s body. The transgender community faces discrimination in an assortment of ways, including not being referred to by their preferred name and pronouns as well as being harassed because they don’t fit into societal norms associated with gender.
Queer is a term that encompasses the entirety of the LGBTQ community. Though it used to have a negative connotation, “queer” has been accepted back as a term to refer to anyone within the community.
On top of these five groups, there are several others that fit into the extended LGBTQ acronym including asexual, aromantic, pansexual and intersex. Asexuality is feeling little to no sexual attraction to people, while aromantic is the same thing but with feelings of intimacy. Pansexual, which is sometimes confused with bisexuality, is the attraction to people without regard to gender. The main difference to note is that “pan” means all while “bi” means two. Lastly, intersex refers to someone who was born with reproductive anatomy that doesn’t fit into distinctive classification of male or female.
Last but not least is an ally. An ally is someone who doesn’t necessarily identify as queer but is supportive of equal rights for all. Allies are included in the LGBTQ bubble and can be anyone from straight, cisgender marriage-equality activists to gay men promoting trans rights to trans women protesting discrimination against bisexuals. Anyone can be an ally; I think that’s an important thing to note as we begin our month-long celebration. Pride Month is about showing pride for all aspects of the queer community, and we do that by first and foremost being allies with ourselves and with each other.
(Source: themaneater.com)@1 year ago with 8 notes
#queer #lesbian #gay #bisexual #trans* #asexual #pansexual #polysexual