Welcome to a series on my blog I’m very proud of: Ask A Queer.
I decide to create this series because I like to use my platform on the internet to discuss things that matter to me. While I love fashion, beauty and pop culture, I’m also passionate about LGBTQ+ issues and feminism, so I want those on my blog. I feel that the visibility for LGBTQ+ individuals on social platforms like blogs and Instagram is super low. It’s more common on Twitter and Youtube, but not on the more “aesthetic” social media channels. I want to change that, which I can do by talking about my sexuality on my Instagram and blog. But my perspective, that of a cisgender white middle-class bisexual woman, is just one of so many beautiful perspectives under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.
At heart, I’m a journalist. I love to interview people and get to the heart of what makes them unique. So I decided the best way to create more LGBTQ+ visibility on Instagram and the blogosphere was to interview queer folks from around the world via email and feature them on my blog. This way, I get to learn about other perspectives and share those with my readers. Plus, I can give these people an opportunity to share their social links and current projects so people can go support them as well!
A note: “Queer” can be considered a slur to some people in the LGBTQ+ community, so if you are straight, please don’t call another person queer unless you have confirmation from them that it’s okay! The term makes me comfortable and sometimes I use it more than bisexual, but that is my choice. When interviewing folks for this series, I am giving them the option to change their post to “Ask A Gay/Pansexual/Bisexual/Etc” if “queer” makes them uncomfortable.
I’d like to supply a glossary of terms that you may not recognize as you read the Ask A Queer posts. Some of these definitions are taken directly from the LGBTQ Community Center of New Orleans and other sites, and will be cited if so.
Allocishet: This is a combination of 3 adjectives - allosexual, cisgender, and heterosexual - and refers to a person who is not queer in any way. Allosexual means basically "not asexual" - someone who fully experiences sexual attraction to others, is not on the asexual spectrum. Queer people use the term "allocishet" or often just "cishet" as short hand to refer to people who are not queer. It's more accurate than saying "a straight person," because (for example) trans people can be straight in their sexuality, and asexual people can be romantically attracted to the "opposite" gender, but these individuals are all still queer. [Jaylee James]
Ally: This term describes an individual with social or economic privilege who engages in practices that challenge and transform ideas, values, and behaviors that afford others less privilege. To be a good LGBTQ ally means that a person is engaged in an ongoing process to (1) understand their own privilege and its effects (2) listen to and learn from those who are most affected by homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, homonormativity, and heterosexism (3) work in solidarity with those most affected by injustice (4) and, foster climates of respect, appreciation, and equity for diverse genders, sexualities, communities, cultures, and histories. [NoLa LGBTQ Community Center]
Asexual ("Ace"): Asexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by a persistent lack of sexual attraction toward any gender. At least 1% of people are believed to be asexual. [What Is Asexuality]
Aromantic ("Aro"): An aromantic is a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others. Where romantic people have an emotional need to be with another person in a romantic relationship, aromantics are often satisfied with friendships and other non-romantic relationships. The aromantic attribute is usually considered to be innate and not a personal choice, just as the lack of sexual attraction is innate to asexuals. [Wikipedia]
Binary Gender System: A social system in which all people are classified into either one of two categories: male or female. This system is premised on the idea that intersex and transgender people do not exist or that they need to be fixed in order to fit into a binary system. In the United States, the binary gender system is maintained in ordinary ways such as male/female bathrooms, male/female dormitory room assignments, and identification forms. [NoLa LGBTQ Community Center]
Biphobia: A negative stigma against bisexuality and bisexual people. It includes a denial that bisexuality is a genuine sexual orientation (the idea that it’s only a “phase”) and negative stereotypes about people who are bisexual (such as the beliefs that they are promiscuous, greedy or dishonest). Biphobia is unfortunately quite prevalent in the gay community.
Cishet: Someone who is cisgender and heterosexual. Someone who is cisgender is a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.
Gender Fluid: A gender identity which refers to a gender which varies over time. A gender fluid person may at any time identify as male, female, neutrois, or any other non-binary identity, or some combination of identities. Their gender can also vary at random or vary in response to different circumstances. Gender fluid people may also identify as multigender, non-binary and/or transgender. Genderfluid people may feel more comfortable using gender neutral pronouns and have a androgynous gender expression. [Gender Wiki]
Demisexual: A demisexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form an emotional connection. It's more commonly seen in, but by no means confined, to romantic relationships. The term demisexual comes from the orientation being "halfway between" sexual and asexual. Nevertheless, this term does not mean that demisexuals have an incomplete or half-sexuality, nor does it mean that sexual attraction without emotional connection is required for a complete sexuality. [Wikipedia]
Heteronormative: This concept describes actions, institutions, ideologies, and systems that assume heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation. As such heteronormative ideas and behaviors deem other sexual identities and practices as less normal, valuable and/or healthy; certain sex is deemed good (reproductive, monogamous, married, male female sex) and other sex is deemed bad (gay, lesbian, transgender, polysexuality, pansexuality, etc.). Heteronormativity not only places expectations, demands and constraints on the sexual subject to act in specific ways, it stigmatizes, criminalizes and marginalizes other forms of sexualities. This ideological structure carries into the workplace, legislatures, and prisons and other significant sites, producing discrimination, misconduct, bias and heterosexual privilege. [NoLa LGBTQ Community Center]
Intersex: An intersex person is a person is born with a combination of male and female biological characteristics, such as chromosomes or genitals, that can make doctors unable to assign their sex as distinctly male or female. Being intersex is a naturally occurring variation in humans, and isn’t a medical problem. It’s also more common than most people realize. It’s hard to know exactly how many people are intersex, but estimates suggest that about 1 in 100 people born in the U.S. is intersex. There are many different intersex variations. [Planned Parenthood]
Nonbinary/Genderqueer: A catch-all category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine—identities which are outside the gender binary and cisnormativity. Genderqueer people may express a combination of masculinity and femininity, or neither, in their gender expression. [Wikipedia]
Straight-passing: When an LGBTQ+ person is assumed straight because they don’t fit stereotypes of a gay/queer person. This happens for so many reasons - a lesbian can be assumed straight because she dresses in clothing people deem feminine, a bisexual man with a girlfriend can be assumed straight because he has a girlfriend and at face value, they look like a straight couple, etc.
Queer: Originally a derogatory slur, this term has been reclaimed since the 1980s, primarily among middle-class European Americans in activist, artistic, and scholarly communities, as an umbrella word to encompass all people who diverge from hetero- and homonormative genders and sexualities. Because of its original derogatory nature as well as the theory it has come to embody, it has remained a controversial term in LGBTIQA communities. [NoLa LGBTQ Community Center] **if you are straight, don't use the term "queer" unless the person explicitly says you can.
TERF: TERF is an acronym for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist. Sometimes, "exclusionary" is expanded as "eliminationist" or "exterminationist" instead to more accurately convey the degree to which TERFs advocate for harm towards trans people, specifically trans people who were coercively assigned male at birth. Some TERFs call themselves "gender-critical feminists", a term which is synonymous with "TERF." Their position denies that trans people's self-affirmed genders and sexes are equally valid as cis people's self-affirmed genders and sexes. It has a decades-long history of allying with anti-feminist causes in denying trans people access to health care, and other human rights. [Geek Feminism]