When it comes to members of the LGBT community, terms are something that people don’t always think about. The most prevalent LGBT terms that come to mind are those set within the initialism.
● Lesbian, refers to a woman who is attracted to women
● Gay, refers to men who are attracted to men
● Bisexual, an individual attracted to both men and women
● Transgender, which relates to a person who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth (a transgender man, who was born female at birth but identifies as male or a transgender woman, born male but identifying as female)
Some people recognize their gender identity and/or sexual orientation at a young age, while others take many years to process and understand. Even so, not everyone’s journey will look the same. For example, some transgender individuals undergo medical transitioning, such as starting hormones and/or receiving gender reassignment surgery for their body to match their gender identity while others choose to not take any medical intervention whatsoever. Ryan Cassata is a transgender man who chose not to pursue hormone replacement therapy (HRT) but instead opted for a mastectomy, also known as “top surgery”, as well as a hysterectomy. His reason for not taking HRT was explained in an interview with Buzzfeed, "I worked really hard on my singing voice. I used to not be able to sing at all and I would just talk-sing," he said. "And now I could sing, and I don't want to trade that for anything. It's something that I take pride in and it's something that didn't come easy for me at all. I had to work on it a lot and I don't wanna risk it at all." But there is so much more to the LGBT community than just those four terms. Let’s take a look at the others.
Often, a Q is added on at the end of LGBT, which is associated with people who are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity. Self-discovery is a journey and many people take time in their life to find themselves and where they belong. It is a process and there is nothing wrong with finding out who you are. A quote by Emily Carr says it best, “You will have to experiment and try things out for yourself and you will not be sure of what you are doing. That's all right, you are feeling your way into the thing.”
Another initial that is often added in regards to the LGBT terms is I, which stands for intersex. According to isna.org, “Intersex is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.” There are times when a person is unaware anything is different because not everything fits in a box and as always, there’s nothing wrong with being uniquely yourself. A famous individual you may know is Hanne Gaby Odiele, The Vogue supermodel. Femalfirst.co.uk states Hanne, “...revealed she was intersex last year, disclosing that she was born with internal testes that were surgically removed when she was 10. She has androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) which means she has male chromosomes but her body has not responded properly to testosterone so the penis was not formed. She had surgery at the age of 18 to reconstruct her vagina, and now she campaigns against Intersex Genital Mutilation, and advocates that children should be given the opportunity to decide on surgery for themselves.”
A for asexual is another LGBT term that is becoming more well known. According to the Trevor Project, “It’s important to remember that asexuality is an umbrella term, and exists on a spectrum. Asexual people – also known as ‘Ace’ or ‘Aces’ – may have little interest in having sex, even though most desire emotionally intimate relationships. Within the ace community, there are many ways for people to identify.” This does not mean:
● they can’t have healthy, happy relationships
● fall in love
● they are celibate
Those in the asexual community can go with or without sexual intimacy and not impact their relationship. There are several celebrities who identify in the spectrum, one such musician being Kim Deal from The Pixies and The Breeders. She is quoted in an interview with Jimmy Stewart saying, "You know what? I'm just so…asexual, I wish I had a gay bone."
Even with these few LGBT terms, there is a vast variety of people in this world with a range of identities. The stereotypical placing things in a box is outdated as people learn to express themselves and are given the opportunity to connect online. No longer do people have to feel isolated as we journey through this experience called life. If you question it, you can probably find an LGBT term out there to describe what you feel and allow you to connect with a world beyond your wildest dreams.