PLATSBURGH – More Americans than ever identify as an individual on the LGBTQIA + spectrum, according to recent results from a Gallup poll.
That number rose to 5.6% of respondents last February, up from 3.5% in 2012, the first year Gallup surveyed people on the topic.
Along with this increase in self-identification, there has been an increase in the means and words that people use to identify themselves.
And while she understands that the cavalcade of new terms can be intimidating for some, Kelly Metzgar, executive director of the Adirondack North Country Gender Alliance, said that with resources now widely available to all, this knowledge is easily accessible.
“If you just did a search (online) for education or LGBTQAI + terms, you’ll get tons of stuff,” Metzgar said. “There is no shortage of resources these days.
In addition to performing a simple Google search, Metzgar also added that people can visit the gender alliance’s facebook, @adkncga, where informative content is posted regularly, or visit other organizations like Gender Equality NY or Human Rights Campaign.
What you shouldn’t do, however, is just ask any LGBTQIA + person in your life to explain things to you unless they’ve made it clear that it’s something they are. comfortable doing.
“It’s not up to every person in our community to be an educator,” Metzgar said. “Most LGBTQAI + people just want to live their lives, not be disturbed and harassed, and ask themselves inappropriate questions. “
Some members of the LGBTQIA + community, like Metzgar, a trans woman herself, become educators who run programs and trainings where these questions may be acceptable, but otherwise should not be asked.
“Some of us are advocates and educators; I don’t mind, because I put myself in that position, ”Metzgar said. “Use the tools and resources available and let people live their lives. “
And to the crowd who would say, “These are just words, what’s the problem,” in cases of gay people or the use of LGBTQIA + slurs, Metzgar urged people to consider the impact that these words could have.
“Think about the words that have been used in the past to discriminate and hate,” Metzgar said. “Think about people of color and the words that were used against them and are still used today. Words matter.
Other than that, things like getting names and pronouns correct with trans and non-binary people are just matters of fundamental respect.
“We (adjust the names) all the time; your name might be John, your name might be Jack, whatever name you use? Metzgar said. “If I introduce myself as Kelly Metzgar, my pronouns are her, her and hers, who are you to argue?” If you tell me your name and I decide to call you something else, you’d be pissed off.
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
Much progress has been made for LGBTQIA + people in recent years, but Metzgar hopes more “love and acceptance” can help continue this trend.
“LGBTQIA + people have existed through time, history, cultures and the world; We have been in the past, we are in the present and we will be in the future, ”said Metzgar. “Treat others as you would like to be treated; if we could all do that, there wouldn’t be any of this bullshit.
LGBTQIA + CONDITIONS
Below is a list of meaningful LGBTQIA + terms, taken from a glossary provided by Kelly Metzgar.
This is not an exhaustive list and, as Metzgar said, the terminology “changes all the time”, but it covers a lot of the basics.
Androgynous: Identify and / or present oneself as neither distinctly masculine nor feminine. A non-binary gender identity typically used to describe a person’s appearance or clothing.
Asexual: A person who does not experience sexual attraction. There is considerable diversity within the asexual community; each asexual person experiences things like relationships, attraction, and arousal somewhat differently.
Assigned sex: The sex that is assigned to an infant at birth based on the child’s visible sexual organs, including the genitals and other physical characteristics.
Presumed sex: A person’s sex is assumed to be based on the sex assigned to them at birth.
Bisexual: A person who has sexual, romantic and / or spiritual attractions that are important to both men and women.
Gay: A term that can be used to either describe a man whose primary sexual and romantic attraction is to other men, or to refer to anyone whose primary sexual and romantic attraction is to a person of the same sex as them. This term can also be used to apply to lesbians, bisexuals, and on some occasions be used as an umbrella term for all LGBTQIA + people.
Gender expression: The outward manifestation of internal gender identity, through clothing, hairstyle, manners and other characteristics.
Gender Identity: Inner sense of an individual to be a man, a woman or some other gender. Gender identity is not necessarily the same as the sex assigned or assumed at birth.
Homophobia: Fear or hostility towards lesbian, gay and / or bisexual people, often expressed as discrimination, harassment and violence.
Homosexual: Person attracted to people of the same sex.
Intersex: A health problem, often present at birth, involving anatomy or physiology that differs from the societal expectations of men and women. Intersex conditions can affect the genitals, chromosomes, and / or other body structures. Intersex people should not be considered transgender.
LGBTQIA +: An acronym representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or homosexual, intersex, allies, etc.
Misgender: To refer to a person, especially a transgender person, using a word, usually a pronoun or form of address, that does not correctly reflect the gender they identify with.
Non-binary person: An individual who does not identify with any of the “traditional” male or female gender roles, instead identifying as outside the gender binary.
Pansexual: A person whose emotional, romantic and / or physical attraction is to people of all gender identities and all biological sexes.
Gender pronouns: The pronoun or set of pronouns that an individual would like others to use when speaking to or about that individual.
Queer: A traditionally derogatory term for LGBTQIA + people that has been picked up by activists, who use it self-describing as a way to empower the LGBTQIA + community.
Sexual orientation: How we see ourselves based on who we are sexually or romantically attracted to.
Transgender: Refers to people whose gender identity, intimate sense of being a man, a woman or something else, differs from the sex assigned or assumed at birth. Used both as a generic term and as an identity.
Transgender man: Describes a person who changes or has changed their body and their gender role, from a woman assigned at birth to an assertive man.
Transgender woman: Describes a person who changes or has changed their body and their gender role, going from a born male to an assertive female.
Transphobia: Fear or hatred of transgender people, often expressed in the form of discrimination, harassment and violence.