THE Voice often throws around some niche LGBTI cant, so with gender reassignment reforms and gay surrogacy laws wending their way through parliament we wanted to take some time to explain some of the terms used during the debates.
Some of these are from the Australian Law Reform Commission’s glossary, some were defined by Maylands MP Lisa Baker in Parliament, and we threw in a couple of the terms we’ve come across that you might be puzzled about.
As Ms Baker said in parliament, “terminology is a movable feast. The context and interpretation of things that meant something 10 or 20 years ago change as the community changes and as cultures change.
by DAVID BELL
• Gender: According to the ALRC, the way a person identifies and expresses their masculine or feminine traits. For transgender people, this doesn’t match the sex they’re assigned at birth.
• Sex: The ALRC defines this as chromosomal, gonadal and anatomical characteristics associated with a person’s biological sex.
• AMAB/AFAB: Assigned-male-at-birth or assigned-female-at-birth: When the doctors looked at your bits and decided your sex. A lot of trans people prefer this to saying they were “born a man” or similar, because they don’t feel they were “born a man”—they were born as them and “assigned” as a man before they had a say in the matter.
• Transgender: The “T” in LGBTI+. Refers to a person whose gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. A trans man was assigned female at birth and now identifies as a man, and a trans woman was assigned male at birth and now identifies as a woman.
• Transsexual: Also sometimes the T in LGBTI. Refers to a person in the process of, or who has already undergone medical or surgical treatment to affirm their biological sex characteristics in line with their gender identity.
• Gender dysphoria: Distress felt by someone whose sense of gender differs from their sex assigned at birth. This can be caused by seeing parts of their body that don’t align with their psychological identity, or by being called the wrong gender.
• Non-binary or Genderqueer: An umbrella term for gender identities that aren’t exclusively male or female. Includes agender (doesn’t identify as any gender) and pangender (identifies as all of them).
• Them/They/Their: A genderless pronoun, preferred by some people over “he/she/his/hers”. Uncharitable pedants will sometimes argue this usage of the “singular they” is grammatically incorrect, since “they” is meant to refer to a plural. But the “singular they” usage has been accepted as correct for about 700 years, and only recently has been criticised by prescriptivist grammarians who wanted people to use “he” as a generic stand-in pronoun for everyone.
• Cis male, cis female, cisgender: Cis is a Latin prefix that basically means the opposite of “trans”. If you’re a cis male you feel like a man and you were assigned male at birth. It’s not in any way intended to be an insult. Cis-het is short for “cisgender, heterosexual”.
• Gender binary: The theory that there’s just men, and just women, and that gender isn’t a spectrum. It’s a fairly culture-bound concept that the west has long been wedded to. Many cultures around the world had “third genders” or more, including the Kinnar of India, or Albania’s Burrneshas. Assigned female at birth, these people from families with no male figure to continue the patriarchal line swear an oath to work, dress, and live as a man, with all the relevant male burdens and liberties, including patrilineal inheritance, effectively making the Burrnesha head of a fatherless family.
• Intersex people: The “I” in LGBTI+. A person with genetic, hormonal or physical characteristics that are not typically male or female. Sometimes it’s apparent at birth because they have ambiguous genitalia, sometimes it’s only apparent during puberty.
• Slurs: The word “tranny” is almost universally considered a serious slur by the community, and “he-she” and “shemale” are also out. “Hermaphrodite” is scientifically inaccurate when describing humans with intersex characteristics and has also fallen out of usage. “Transvestite” is someone who wears the clothes traditionally worn by another gender, and usually isn’t the right word for transgender people.
• Deadnaming: Calling a trans person by their old name. Most trans people don’t want to be called that or asked what it was.
• LGBTIQQCA++: The increasingly unwieldy “alphabet soup”, as it’s jokingly referred to by many people under the umbrella. Apart from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex, the lengthier versions include “Queer,” “Questioning,” and even “curious”. There’s a debate among the LGBTI+ community at the moment as to whether the “A”—asexual, belongs. Some “ace-exclusionists”—mostly online activists—don’t think cis-het asexuals should be included in the soup, feeling that they haven’t been through the same oppressive experience. You don’t really have to say the whole cumbersome acronym every time: “LGBTI+” or even just “LGBT” is usually assumed to cover the whole community, even if the rest of the letter train isn’t trundling behind.
A new era
IN recent times there have been victories on the LGBTI+ equality front, but people around the world people still face violence, inequality, torture and execution because of who they love.
This year’s Pride Parade theme is “Together”, with the organising committee saying only by working together can we achieve a world of equal rights.
This will be the first Pride Parade since the legalisation of marriage equality, so we might see a few newlyweds among the buff lads, nipple pasties, unicorns, Dykes on Bikes and samba dancers.
It’s also the first year the Parade will be running since the opening of Yagan Square, and the march will end at the new public space.
It kicks off at 8pm on Saturday November 24 and can be seen from Francis, Lake and James Streets, and then the southern stretch of William Street before it ends up at Yagan Square.
They’ll be an after party at the square. Tickets at http://www.pridewa.com.au