22 Apr LGBTQ: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer

When it comes to identifying one’s gender identity and sexual orientation, many individuals can face criticism and insensitive questions from people they know. The list of sexual identities and orientations is endless and can be a sensitive subject, and people are often unaware of the many different identities that exist in addition to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. Here’s a list of some of the different types of identities and orientations. (Note: Not all regions and communities use the same terms and definitions as those listed below.)

Identities:

  • Transgender: When one’s gender identity does not conform with their physical gender
  • Transsexual: Someone who’s transitioned to the opposite gender
  • Cisgender: When a person’s sexual identity conforms with their physical gender
  • Queer: A term which refers to individuals or groups who “queer” or problematize the hegemonic notions of sex, gender, and desire
  • Genderfluid: a gender identity which can vary over time
  • Intersex: When one is born with the reproductive characteristics of both genders
  • Agender: One who identifies as gender neutral
  • Non-Binary: Gender that’s not exclusively male or female

 

Sexual Orientations:

  • Pansexual: A person who is attracted to members of any gender (male, female, transgender, genderqueer, etc.)
  • Asexual: When one does not experience sexual attraction
  • Bisexual: One is attracted to both males and females
  • Homosexual: Someone who’s attracted to the same gender
  • Gay: When a male is attracted to another male
  • Lesbian: When a female is attracted to another female
  • Heterosexual: One who is attracted to the opposite sex
  • Androphilia: When a person is attracted to masculinity regardless of gender identity
  • Gynephilia: When a person is attracted to femininity regardless of gender identity
  • Skoliosexual: A person who is attracted to non-binary individual

 

LGBTQ history for the most part has been kept in the dark until recent decades, and while doing this research, I learned that a lot of recorded LGBTQ history mainly focuses on the gay community at the expense of other identities. There are gay pride parades, online articles and discussions on gay rights, video documentaries, movies featuring gay characters, and so much more. Much progress has been made, but many of the other sexual identities and orientations are mostly left unheard of, or their definitions may not always be understood.

 
In the 1900s, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder or a myth, and was something that happened to “other people.” “Treatments” such as shock therapy existed, and countless police raids were made against the LGBTQ community in places such as San Francisco, New York, and more. The Stonewall Riots of June 28, 1969 are one of the most important events in American LGBTQ history. On that day, police made several arrests for selling liquor without a license at the Stonewall Inn, a well-known gathering place for members of the LGBTQ community. At this time, homosexual relations were illegal and the law authorized the arrest of any person wearing less than three articles of gender-appropriate clothing. Tired of frequent police raids targeting their community, the patrons stood up against the officers, and ever since the riots have been a symbol of the fight for human rights.

The history surrounding the riots has sometimes been retold in problematic ways. In 2015, Roland Emmerich directed a movie called Stonewall that revolved around a fictional character’s experiences during the riots. Having a movie released about the Stonewall riots was a long awaited movie for the LGBTQ community, but many were outraged when the trailer released revealing the movie’s main character as a gay, cisgender, white midwesterner. Petitions against the movie were made along with numerous claims that it was whitewashed, and questioned why the film couldn’t include actual LGBTQ actors. Despite the protests and boycotts, Emmerich explained there were secondary characters who were transgender, hispanic, and black.
 

Equal representation of different sexual identities is important, especially for the transgender community, which has faced significant discrimination and human rights violations. In one recent interview with a transgender woman named Lourdes Ashley Hunter, she describes her challenges when trying to enter a women’s shelter. After being rejected and sent to a men’s shelter, she was raped by a man in the shelter and was blamed for the assault for “choosing” to be transgender. She critiques representations of trans people in the media, such as the show Transparent or the acceptance of Caitlyn Jenner. While these figures are often welcomed representations of the trans community, others claim they are only increasing ignorance and making the process of transitioning look easy and simple, and greater representation is needed.

 

 

Sources: 

LGBT Rights around the World Infographic

LGBT History and History of Homosexuality Documentary 

Transforming History – The New York Times

Stonewall: Freedom Overdue 

“Transgender people reveal how the really feel about Caitlyn Jenner”

“It’s okay to be gay, so long as you’re white”

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