Definitions and Labels and Terminology (....oh my?)

gaynow's picture

No, this isn't another "do you label yourself?" thread, because there are enough of those. (But feel free to start another, I need help with my labeling issue.... but anyways.....) No, this is because I was talking with a friend today, and we disagreed about some GLBT terminology. So, for my own self (and, okay, a little bit to prove my friend wrong), it'd be great if I could get some definitions from you guys. And (and this is just a strange little deformed fetal-alcohol-syndrome brain child, feel free to ignore it), I was thinking that maybe we could make a glossary of sorts as a resource to new members, up on the top along with the Coming Out, Journals, Poetry etc. tabs.

So, it'd be great if someone could define, specifically:
transgender(ed)
transsexual
intersex
queergender/genderqueer
transvestite

^those are the defs I personally want.

But then, if people like the glossary idea, define anything you can think of (and caps/bold/underline/something defined words as courtesy). And it'd be great if someone could write out the absolutely extended version of the GLBT acronym (which has a very very large amount of letters, if I'm not mistaken, and sounds like a very elaborate sandwich...)

And yes, if we end up doing this and Jeff doesn't want to do the work, I'm willing to compile a list and do the HTML for it. *sigh*

bulldyke's picture

Transgender, as I understand

Transgender, as I understand it, is a person, say a guy, who feels that, in laymens terms, they were given the wrong body. A transgendered person is one who feels that they are a male in a female's body (ftm: female to male), or a female in a male's body (mtf: male to female).

I'm not sure about Transexual, but I'm pretty certain that it means the same thing as transgender.

I'm gonna leave the next two to someone else, cause I have no idea....

And a transvestite is also known as a cross dresser. Eddy Izzard (who effing pwns!) is a transvestite. For the uninitiated, he's an awesome comedian. He's not gay, or a queen, he just...prefers to wear women's clothes. Sometimes, either as a joke, or not, transvestite men will refer to themselves as male lesians. But yeah.

That was a pretty unhelpful answer. Sorry! :( hopefully other folks'll help.

Bulldyke
"I prefer the term gay because, well, lesbian has three syllables!" Emily Sailers
98 percent of the teenage population will try, does, or has tried smoking pot. If you are one of the 2 percent who hasn't, copy this into your sig.

thoughtgoddess's picture

as far as I know, and this

as far as I know, and this is just from comments my trans friends have made, a transexual is post-srs. And as said above, transgender is more of an umbrella term.
I think intersex is the pc term for someone who is born with both male and female reproductive organs.
And as for the damn big mass of letters, I think it's
lgbtqqastipo. *winces* Which is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, asexual, straight allied, two spirit, intersex, pansexual and omnisexual or other.

and I'd be willing to help out with the html, if needed!

jeff's picture

There is no one...

official version of the LGBT* alphabet soup. Like most other things in the gay world, everyone does their own dance remix of it.

As far as needing these terms defined, I would say: Wikipedia.

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

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jojojo's picture

...

it is good to always take (these) definitions with a grain of salt, because there's some disagreement, and also change in the meaning (across time, and in different communities).

having said that, I'll try some basic explanations:

transgender(ed)
- people who define as neither man nor woman, people who define as "not quite a man, and not quite a woman", ... the word is sometimes used in opposition to "transsexuals" ("Transgender live beyond the binary gender system - they are both/and or neither/nor - whereas Transsexuals used to be physically one sex and transition, or want to transition to the other one"). But the word transgender can also be used to include "transsexuals" (see below) and/or "transvestites" (see below).
The borderline and difference between transgender and transexual is contested.

transsexual
-most typically refers to a person who was born one sex but identifies with the other sex and (typically) seeks out to change phisical appearance and social identity to that "other" sex.
Again: The border between transgender and transexual is contested. Some people use "transgender" for people who do not undergo sex-change surgeries and "transsexuals" for people who do. But what about ftm's who have "top" surgery but not "bottom" surgery? ...

stereotypically, transsexuality is explained with reference to the common phrase "being in the wrong body". this might be true as a description for some transsexuals' feelings (before they transition), but not everybody's feelings are best described by that phrase. Some people might use the word "transgender" to make clear that they do NOT necessarily have this feeling of "being in the wrong body".

intersex
People who have mixed "male" and "female" anatomy. (typically by birth.)
kind of the same as "hermaphrodite", as far as I can judge. But I believe that many intersex people do not like the word "hermaphrodite".

queergender/genderqueer
I think these words are still most "in the making", of all the words you asked us to define. I don't think there is one set definition at all. If I hear the word, I would expect it to mean:
- deviating from binary gender norm. This can mean kind of the same as I described with "transgender". But I am sure there are some people who feel good with the word "genderqueer" but not "transgender". I think "transgender" seems more of a commitment than "genderqueer". maybe also some people who identify with the gender they are given by society, but "just" feel that they don't fulfill traditional gender expectations, might describe themselves as genderqueer. ... I don't know. The term might be used to include transgender and transexuals, but it might also be used in opposition to those terms.

transvestite
someone who likes to dress up in ways typical of the other gender. (sometimes in a way that the "dress up as" element is obvious and visible). I think the words "drag king" and "drag queen" are more commonly identified as, nowadays, in queer communities. or "crossdresser".

I hope that helped. I usually don't like to give definitions of these sensitive identity terms because I find it too authoritarian to try to explain what exactly these things mean, when they really mean quite different things for different people. I tried to explain these different meanings a bit.
Of course not all opinions about what these words mean are correct. (So if your friend thought that all transgender people are also intersex, then you can tell him/her that that's simply wrong.) But remember that no definition is absolutely and uncontestedly correct either.

We have all been injured, profoundly. (Donna Haraway)
I Am Out, Therefore I Am. (Okay, mostly.)

gaynow's picture

Well, no, she said that

Well, no, she said that transvestites were transgendered/wanted to be women. -_-'' WRONG.

Megan: "Cheers are supposed to be simple, make people feel good."
Graham: "Cheers make girls do stupid cartwheels. Orgasms make people feel good."
-But I'm a Cheerleader

wilma wonka's picture

I have a friend...

He has a boy's body but loves to dress in girls' clothes even though he fully identifys as a boy. So tell your friend about my friend.

"gay: cheerful and lighthearted; merry." - The American Heritage Dictionary.

bulldyke's picture

Okay, I use the whole

Okay, I use the whole LGBTQQI...etc. thing when I'm being really PC, but I'm not entirely sure why the I (for intersex) is included. Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against intersexed people, but why is it lumped with the other terms? I kinda feel like we're just shoving all of the gender and sexuality issues into one pot, when really, I'm not sure if they all fit together. Maybe I'm totally missing the point, but I kinda would like it if the people who deal with gender identity had their own alphabet soup.

That really makes it sound like I think there's a clearcut line between gender identity and sexuality, and obviously there's not, but are the issues really the same?

Bulldyke
"I prefer the term gay because, well, lesbian has three syllables!" Emily Sailers
98 percent of the teenage population will try, does, or has tried smoking pot. If you are one of the 2 percent who hasn't, copy this into your sig.

jeff's picture

Hmm...

I think it should just be LGBT*

That way, anyone can feel they fall under the asterisk, if not L, G, B, or T. Because let's face it, the * are such a tiny fraction of the overall pie.

Of course, for me, the asterisk would be adding an extra character to what I use now.

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

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wilma wonka's picture

as far as I know

TRANSGENDER: someone who doesn't identify with their physical gender. This includes people who are transexual, have no gender identity, and what ever other gender identitys exsist outside of the conventional boy/girl norm.

TRANSEXUAL: someone who identifys as the opposite of their the sex they were born with. For example, someone who was born with a girl's body but identifys as a boy or someone who was born in a boy's body who identifys as a girl.

TRANSVESTITE: someone who identifys with the sex they were born with but prefers to dress in the opposite gender's clothes.

I've heard a bunch of definitions of genderqueer but for the most part it seems to be pretty much interchangable with transgender. I think of myself more as transgender if I bother trying to find a term to describe my gender or lack there of. Anyways, strange story about this that I want to share. So, I was talking to this person at camp who I'm kinda friends with and she was like, "Did you know that there are people who don't identify with the gender they were born with, like, some people don't even have a gender. Isn't that sooooo wierd?! It's like they're animals or aliens or something." I tried to tell her that I don't have a gender but either I didn't actualy get the words out or she was too into talking about how people like me are "aliens or animals" to hear me because she just kept talking as if I hadn't said a thing. I've tried not to take it personaly because she doesn't know about me but still..., how do you not get offended by something like that.

"gay: cheerful and lighthearted; merry." - The American Heritage Dictionary.

jeff's picture

Err...

The only way stupidity can be offensive is if you aren't entirely comfortable enough yet to blow it off. I mean, if someone is running around doing things all the time and barely has a minute to themselves, and you call them lazy, do you think they'd shrink or get defensive? No, they'd realize it was a ridiculous thing to say and not think twice about it.

I don't know about aliens, but animals tend to have gender roles.

Could've used it. "I wish I had a gender, so I could be as confident about it as you." Have fun with people, that's what they're there for.

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!

jojojo's picture

o yes...

some people are just so over-confident about the way they view the world, they can't even imagine someone having a different perspective...

We have all been injured, profoundly. (Donna Haraway)
I Am Out, Therefore I Am. (Okay, mostly.)