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This is an umbrella term, a political statement and a simple label. Queer is used as a term to

refer to all LGBTQIAA people. Secondly, it is a political statement and sexual orientation that advocates

breaking binary thinking and seeing both sexual orientation and gender identity as potentially fluid. It

aims to change the way we see and think about sexual orientation and gender as separates. It is possible

to see orientation and gender as a whole and not two separate identifications. Lastly, it is a simple label

to explain a complex set of sexual behaviors and desires.

FYI: Originally a synonym for “odd,” this word became a derogatory expression for gays in the 20th

century and for many years was used as a homophobic epithet. However, the term has been reclaimed

by the youth as a unifying term to collectively refer to the LGBT community. It is important to note,

according to GLAAD’s,

Ally’s Guide to Terminology: Talking about LGBT People and Equality

, “the

word queer is an in-group term, and a word that can be considered offensive to some people, depending

on their generation, geographic location, and relationship with the word”.


Intersex is an example of how society’s way of thinking about sex is socially constructed.

Intersex refers to a people born with external genitalia or internal reproductive system that do not fit

into the socially constructed boxes of male or female. The existence of intersexuals proves that there are

not just two sexes.

Hermaphrodite is labelled by IU Southeast’s

Safe Zone Resource Manual

, “an out-of-date and offensive

term for an intersexed person. Intersex has now replaced this dated term and is now the socially

accepted term.”

FYI: Emily Quinn’s story, “I’m Emily Quinn, and I’m Intersex,” was posted in September 2014 and

has been shared widely in the social media world. It is featured on MTV Act, a website that “is all things

pop culture and social impact” that raises awareness about current social issues.


According to The Asexual Visibility and Education Network, “an asexual is someone

who does not experience sexual attraction.” Asexuality is not celibacy. Celibacy is a choice, whereas

asexuality “is an intrinsic part of who we are.”

FYI: “Love from the Asexual Underground” is a blog and podcast that raises awareness for the asexual


“(A)sexual” is a documentary directed by Angela Tucker that shows the social struggles and

identification for asexuals.


Just as important as all the rest, an ally is someone who advocates for and supports members

of a community other than their own. They see beyond differences and help to achieve mutual goals.

While not a sexual orientation, identifying as an ally helps create an inclusive community for all.

Reference language is often intimidating and can be plagued with ambiguity and vagueness. This happens

with language concerning those who orient under any of the terms in LGBTQIAA, as well. Rule No. 1 is

to never assume heterosexuality. Rule No. 2 is to be aware of your words and how you use them, but most

importantly, educate yourself. Keep up to date with new and evolving language. Humble yourself and

apologize where necessary; learn from your mistakes, and always try to broaden your understanding of