In the current decade we have been introduced to dozens of terms that have come to the forefront to demonstrate that gender and sexuality is no longer a black and white issue. With the coming out of celebrities and leaders as trans and non-binary individuals, the world has entered into a whirlwind of labels and identities–and many continue to resist. Throughout the years the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) has grown to include the Queer Intersex Asexual (QIA) to demonstrate inclusivity, but even this acronym is flexible depending on who you speak to.
Today's youth has proven to be more open with their sexual and gender identities. They are embracing themselves and one another for the uniqueness and do not restrict to heteronormative labels–instead they adopt the identities they most relate to.
Nico Tortorella joined the ladies of The View for a candid conversation about sexuality and gender fluidity–a subject of attention for the actor/model and one of the key topics of his podcast The Love Bomb.
Nico has been very public with his own sexual fluidity and has taken on this platform to open the minds of those who don't understand alternative lifestyles.
Together with a group of queer youth, the co-hosts and Nico discuss the terms used when speaking about identity. The View used this segment to help educate themselves and its viewers on the sensitivity of this topic so as to not offend or dismiss that gender identity and queerness is an important topic, especially among today's youth.
Terminology can be daunting for those who don't understand it. Out of respect to anyone you meet, it is important to not assume that they identify any which way and if you are unsure, the best thing to do is ask. They'll appreciate your caring enough to do so. I myself am still learning and love to learn more about the beauty of our community's rainbow. Meanwhile, I'll just watch these videos with Nico Tortorella on repeat–I'll definitely take a little time to enjoy THAT view!
Here's a list of terms provided by the HRC to help make communication easier:
Ally | A person who is not LGBTQ but shows support for LGBTQ people and promotes equality in a variety of ways.
Androgynous | Identifying and/or presenting as neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine.
Asexual | The lack of a sexual attraction or desire for other people.
Biphobia | Prejudice, fear or hatred directed toward bisexual people.
Bisexual | A person emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to more than one sex, gender or gender identity though not necessarily simultaneously, in the same way or to the same degree.
Cisgender | A term used to describe a person whose gender identity aligns with those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth.
Closeted | Describes an LGBTQ person who has not disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Coming out | The process in which a person first acknowledges, accepts and appreciates his or her sexual orientation or gender identity and begins to share that with others.
Gay | A person who is emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to members of the same gender.
Gender dysphoria | Clinically significant distress caused when a person's assigned birth gender is not the same as the one with which they identify. According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the term – which replaces Gender Identity Disorder – "is intended to better characterize the experiences of affected children, adolescents, and adults."
Gender-expansive | Conveys a wider, more flexible range of gender identity and/or expression than typically associated with the binary gender system.
Gender expression | External appearance of one's gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.
Gender-fluid | According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a person who does not identify with a single fixed gender; of or relating to a person having or expressing a fluid or unfixed gender identity.
Gender identity | One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One's gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.
Gender non-conforming | A broad term referring to people who do not behave in a way that conforms to the traditional expectations of their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category.
Genderqueer | Genderqueer people typically reject notions of static categories of gender and embrace a fluidity of gender identity and often, though not always, sexual orientation. People who identify as "genderqueer" may see themselves as being both male and female, neither male nor female or as falling completely outside these categories.
Gender transition | The process by which some people strive to more closely align their internal knowledge of gender with its outward appearance. Some people socially transition, whereby they might begin dressing, using names and pronouns and/or be socially recognized as another gender. Others undergo physical transitions in which they modify their bodies through medical interventions.
Homophobia | The fear and hatred of or discomfort with people who are attracted to members of the same sex.
Lesbian | A woman who is emotionally, romantically or sexually attracted to other women.
LGBTQ | An acronym for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.”
Living openly | A state in which LGBTQ people are comfortably out about their sexual orientation or gender identity – where and when it feels appropriate to them.
Outing | Exposing someone’s lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender identity to others without their permission. Outing someone can have serious repercussions on employment, economic stability, personal safety or religious or family situations.
Queer | A term people often use to express fluid identities and orientations. Often used interchangeably with "LGBTQ."
Questioning | A term used to describe people who are in the process of exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Same-gender loving | A term some prefer to use instead of lesbian, gay or bisexual to express attraction to and love of people of the same gender.
Sexual orientation | An inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people.
Transgender | An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation. Therefore, transgender people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc.
Transphobia | The fear and hatred of, or discomfort with, transgender people.