A complex part of a person’s identity; an interplay of self-perception, personality, and embodiment. More than just male or female, there are many possible genders.
Societal expectations attached to a person’s sex/gender. Gender roles are not in-born; they have changed over time and are different across different cultures.
A gendered sense of self as a man or woman, another gender entirely, or no gender at all. A person’s gender identity is formed around age 3.
Gendered signifiers or personal traits (such as clothes, hair, and mannerisms) that are read by others as conveying masculinity, femininity, or androgyny.
Identity terms – such as lesbian, gay, straight, bi, and asexual – broadly describing who a person is attracted to or desires a relationship with; can be divided into sexual and romantic orientations, which might be the same or different.
The process of investigating one’s own gender identity or orientation.
Choosing to tell others about one’s LGBTQ gender identity or orientation.
A bisexual person experiences attraction to people of genders both similar to and different from their own.
A pansexual person is one who may be attracted to others without regard to gender or has the potential to be attracted to people of any gender.
An asexual person experiences little or no sexual attraction. Aromantic (or “aro”) may be used to refer to a lack of romantic attraction. Gray asexual describes a spectrum between the total absence of attraction and some level of sexual attraction, and a demisexual person experiences little or no attraction without first establishing an emotional bond with that person.
The sex/gender a baby is designated at birth.
Look for ways to express acceptance and actively include LGBTQ people in your school or workplace, social circles, and family…
Be conscious of where a person is out, and do not out them to others.
It’s time to accept Singular They as grammatically correct. Oxford English Dictionary, for one, supports the use of they and them as singular
Shut down transphobic and homophobic jokes or language used around you, and avoid teasing others for gender nonconformity. Openly demonstrating LGBTQ acceptance gives others a model to work from and better ways to react than existing violent cultural scripts.
Know the subtle ways our culture punishes nonconformity: transmisogynist portrayal of gender nonconforming people as inherently funny or repulsive, misgendering trans people in the news, and policing the gender appropriateness of clothes or activities for other people all create a hostile environment.
Using the right name and pronoun is the most immediate way to support a transgender individual. Use the name they ask you to use for them, even if it is not their legal name. Have a conversation with the person about what they wish to be called in various settings, to avoid outing them. If their gender expression changes, continue to use the pronouns they ask for. It is generally appropriate to ask how a person would like to be addressed, but not to call out only “trans-looking” people and ask for their pronouns in a public space.
Misgendering someone – calling them by the wrong pronouns for their identity – in public tends to cause others to misgender them too. The repercussions for a trans person who is misgendered could be painful (misgendering can cause gender dysphoria) or even life-threatening if a hostile person overhears. To recover from misgendering someone, apologize briefly and correct yourself by repeating what you said using the person’s preferred pronouns.
If you find you are having trouble using a trans individual’s preferred pronouns or hesitating in the moment, practice in other contexts. Suggestion: make flashcards!
Pronouns: they, them, themself
Edited and updated by Great Lakes Bay Pride.