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How to Explain 13 LGBTQ+ Terms To Your Ignorant Family Members

How to Explain 13 LGBTQ+ Terms To Your Ignorant Family Members

How to Explain 13 LGBTQ+ Terms To Your Ignorant Family Members

The holidays are a magical time, filled with joy, presents, delicious food, and of course, family. Now family may include your racist uncle who unironically flaunts his Trump 2016 shirt, alcoholic aunt who brings every conversation back to her most recent divorce, and your stepbrother who lights squirrels on fire. (Is anyone going to talk to him about that, or are we all pretending we don’t know?)

If you have a family like that, I wish you the best of luck. May your holidays be as quick and painless as possible.

Now if you have a family that’s “quirky” but a little behind the times, then there is hope. I’m lucky to be blessed with a loving family who knows of my sexuality (bisexual) and is completely accepting. While accepting, some of my family members are still confused by conversations surrounding sexual orientation and gender, and sometime say some insensitive and ignorant things. Now I know their intention is good, they just don’t quite understand how what they’re saying is a little uninformed. So instead of berating them, I try to educate them.

Here are some “simpler” definitions of queer terms to help inform your ignorant family members (who don’t mean to be offensive) during the holidays. 

1. Sexuality or sexual orientation: Refers to whom a person is interested in having sexual or intimate relationships with.

2. Gender identity: How a person experiences his or her own gender as matching (or not) the gender he or she was assigned at birth or societal expectations of male and female behavior.

3. Transgender: A person who identifies as a different gender than the one he or she was assigned at birth; transgender people may or may not have had gender-reassignment surgery.

4. Cisgender: A person whose gender identity is the same as the gender they were assigned at birth.

5. Intersectionality: How race, gender, class, and other social categorizations exist in the context of one another, not in isolation, creating systems of privilege and power.

6. Bisexual: Someone who is attracted to people of their own gender and those of (at least) one other gender.

7. Monosexual: Someone who is only attracted to one gender (either gay or straight monosexuals).

8. Pansexual: Someone who is attracted to multiple genders.

9. Asexual: Someone who experiences very low or no sexual attraction toward others; asexuals can still date and have intimate relationships.

10. Same-sex marriage (as opposed to gay marriage): Same-sex marriage is the proper term because it is inclusive of all people on the sexuality spectrum—bisexual and pansexual women and men who do not identify as gay but are married to someone of the same sex.

11. Queer: An umbrella term that is inclusive of all LGBTQ+ members who might not fit perfectly into an LGBTQ+ label. It has historically been used as a slur, but LGBTQ+ people have reclaimed it as a positive term.

12. PrEP: Pre-exposure prophylaxis, a way to help prevent from getting HIV. It involves a daily dose of a drug; Truvada is the only drug approved so far for use as PrEP, but additional drugs may receive such approval.

13. Intersex: People who have biological sexual characteristics that do not fit into binary notions of male or female bodies

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