A Non-Definitive Vocabulary List

Hello All,

Below is a partial list of terms I will be using in our class.

Be aware: this is how use these terms.  You may encounter others using them to mean different things, or you may use them differently.  One of the basic tenets of Queer theory is the individual’s right to identify and name themself as they choose.

  • Sex: One’s chromosomal designation (such as XX, XY, or other)
  • Intersex: A general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a chromosonal designation, reproductive, and/or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male
  • Gender: The socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers normative (“the norm”) for one’s sex
  • Lesbian: Someone who identifies as female and is romantically and/or sexually attracted to other women
  • Gay: Someone who is romantically and/or sexually attracted to others of their same sex and/or gender.  The term “gay” is often used to refer exclusively to men.
  • Bisexual: Someone who is romantically and/or sexually attracted to both men and women
  • Pansexual: Someone who is romantically and/or sexually attracted to a variety of genders and sexes.  The term “omnisexual” is also used.  Some people use the terms “bisexual,” “pansexual,” and/or “omnisexual” interchangeably.
  • Asexual: Someone who, to a greater or lesser degree, does not experience sexual attraction and/or desire.  However, many people who identify as asexual experience romantic and/or emotional attraction and may physically enjoy sex.
  • Trans*: A fairly new designation that encompasses all the many non-cisgender identities within the gender identity spectrum
  • Cisgender: Someone who identifies as the gender conventionally associated with her/his sex
  • Transgender: Someone who does not identify as the gender conventionally associated with their sex
  • Transsexual: Someone who has undergone some degree of gender/genital assignment surgery.  However, some people within the Queer community do not like or use this term.
  • Transvestite: Someone who “cross-dresses” by dressing as the gender opposite that conventionally associated with their sex.  However, some people within the Queer community do not like or use this term.
  • Passing: When used in regards to Trans* people, being easily identified by others as one’s preferred sex/gender.
  • Ze/Hir: Gender-neutral pronouns used by many members of the Queer and Trans* community in place of binary gender pronouns and pronoun construction (s/he. him/her, etc.)
  • Queer: Someone who, to a greater or lesser degree, does not conform to/identify with heteronormative concepts of sex and gender.  Queer is often used as an “umbrella term” to describe many different identities and sexualities.

Best,

Prof. Jaime Weida

🙂

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