‘Glossary & Inclusive Language’
from The Safe School’s resource ‘All of Us’ page 52
A person who is emotionally and romantically attracted to multiple genders.
This term is used when referring to LGBT people telling others about their identity. It can also be known as ‘inviting in’ It is a process that continues for people rather than being a one-off event. Many intersex people often first discover they are intersex from a doctor or parent. As such, ‘coming out’ does not usually fit with their experience. A more accurate way to describe this is to
Disorders or difference in sex development.
A broad term that can refer to all forms of gender identity and gender expression and includes people who may identify as for example trans, transgender, genderqueer or gender questioning. It refers to people whose gender expression or identity differs from the gender identity associated with the sex assigned them at birth or society’s expectations. The person may identify as neither male nor female, or as both.
Gender identity refers to a person’s sense of being masculine or feminine, or both or neither. Gender identity does not necessarily relate to the sex a person is assigned at birth. Rather, a person’s gender expression is made up of the outward signs they present to the world around them. This could include their choice of name and preferred pronoun (which may include using no pronoun), their style of dress and appearance, and/or their mannerisms.
Views or behaviours that assume everyone is, or should be, heterosexual and that other types of sexuality or gender identity are unnatural or not as good as being heterosexual. People with differences in their physical sex characteristics may experience heterosexism too. This may include elements of discrimination based on limited ideas about what is ‘normal’ and ‘not normal’.
The fear or intolerance of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or same sex attracted, usually linked with hostility, verbal and physical abuse, or discrimination. Homophobia also includes institutional and cultural bias and structural inequality.
People who are born with natural variations in genital, chromosomal or other physical characteristics that differ from stereotypical ideas about what it means to be female or male. Intersex refers to biology rather than sexual orientation or gender identity. Intersex people have the same range of sexual orientations and gender identities as non-intersex people. Most identify with the gender they were raised, as either male or female. Intersex is often associated with a medical diagnosis of disorders, or differences of sex development (DSD). Some intersex individuals may prefer to be described as a ‘person with an intersex variation’ or be identified by their specific variation.
Misgendering occurs when people are addressed using language that does not match how the person describes their own gender, identity or body. This can be avoided by using inclusive language and choosing correct pronouns such as ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘they’.
Pronouns are words like she, his and them. It’s ok to ask people about their preferred use of pronouns. Where possible, ask privately. Some people use gender-neutral pronouns such as ‘they’ (singular) or ‘ze’, while others use no pronoun or may wish to be addressed by their name only. It is important not to make assumptions about people’s gender identity and to be respectful when using pronouns.
Same sex attracted
People who experience feelings of sexual and/or emotional attraction to others of the same sex. This term includes people who may identify in ways such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, pansexual or heterosexual, who are questioning their sexuality, or who are not wanting to label themselves. Some people prefer to use the term ‘same gender attracted’.
Sexuality describes who people are attracted to and how they express this attraction. Human sexuality is diverse. It includes people who are exclusively attracted to those of the opposite sex (heterosexuality), people who are exclusively attracted to members of their own sex (e.g. same sex attracted, gay, lesbian), and people who are attracted to more than one gender (bisexual, pansexual), or to no sex or gender (e.g. asexual).
Sistergirls and Brotherboys
Terms used by some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to describe a person assigned male or female at birth and identifying or living partly or fully as another gender. Use and spelling of the terms may vary across different groups and communities, and other cultures will use different terms to describe gender diversity.
Transgender (also trans or trans*)
An umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned to them at birth. An example is a child who is assigned a male sex at birth but actually feels more comfortable living as a girl and identifies as female.
Prejudice or discrimination based on a person being, or perceived as being, transgender or gender diverse. Transphobia can be expressed through hostility, verbal and physical bullying or discrimination. Transphobia also includes institutional and cultural bias and structural inequality.
Where possible, avoid using gendered terms. For example, use words like ‘workforce’ instead of ‘manpower’, and ‘police officer’ instead of ‘policeman’. Phrases like ‘ladies and gentlemen’ or ‘boys and girls’ should be avoided. When speaking about individuals, be sure you know and use their preferred pronoun (she, he, they). If unknown, ask that person, or use their name instead.
It’s ok to ask people about their preferred use of pronouns. Where possible, ask privately. Some people use gender-neutral pronouns such as ‘they’ (singular) or ‘ze’, while others use no pronoun or may wish to be addressed by their name only. It is important not to make assumptions about people’s gender identity and to be respectful when using pronouns.
Some transgender people do not want to be known publicly as such after they have begun to live in their affirmed gender. Going through gender affirmation or transition has distinct challenges that differ from those typically associated with coming out. It is helpful to acknowledge this and to avoid assuming there is a universal process that all transgender people go through. Phrases like ‘sex change’ and ‘post-op’ are increasingly falling out of use.