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  • Aditi Patil and Sana Shivaprasad

Queer Vocabulary- Must Knows


The adjective queer means "unusual" or "peculiar," or sometimes "suspicious." Queer vocabulary is similar to a language roof for the community. It closes a space for the people not always to be felt a part of "normality".

Vocabulary does not have to be the same for everyone. Queer vocab consists of words that make people feel comfortable and familiar whilst speaking. The most common words from the vocabulary are LGBTQ+ which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, & Queer. Many use genderfluid pronouns like they/them instead of she/her or he/him.

In the 20th century, queer also began to be used as a slur for members of the LGBTQ community; although the word is still controversial today, it has been widely reclaimed as a positive or neutral term. Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or are not cisgender. Originally meaning "strange" or "peculiar", queer came to be used pejoratively against those with same-sex desires or relationships in the late 19th century.

Historically, queer has been used as an epithet/slur against people whose gender, gender expression and/or sexuality do not conform to dominant expectations. Some people have reclaimed the word queer and self-identify in opposition to assimilation (adapted from “Queering the Field”). For some, this reclamation is a celebration of not fitting into social norms. Not all people who identify as LGBTQIA use “queer” to describe themselves. The term is often considered hateful when used by those who do not identify as LGBTQIA.

These are not universal definitions. This glossary is provided to help give others a more thorough but not entirely comprehensive understanding of the significance of these terms. You may even consider asking someone what they mean when they use a term, especially when describing their identity. Ultimately it is essential that each individual define themselves for themselves and define a term for themselves.

Those who support LGBTQ+ are known as allies, and those who are scared of the change or can quickly get uncomfortable are known as homophobes. Words like Dyke that referred to a lesbian have and are used and insults. Drag models or artists who dress in a showy or flamboyant way that exaggerates gender stereotypes.

Drag is also a term often associated with gay/ lesbian communities and is also replaced with ‘Drag King’ and ‘Drag Queens. Gender Binary is an ideology with two distinct opposite and static genders' [male and female] to identify with and express. Gender policing is the enforcement or nominative gender expressions on an individual perceived as not adequately performing through appearances or behaviours. According to the queer vocabulary, they define terms related to bi-sex in different ways. Back in archaic times, when people thought there were two genders, no more, no less, heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual, where bisexual was both at once.

As society evolved and the complexity of gender started being explored for real, things weren’t so simple anymore. Bisexual, which previously only meant “2”, hence the “bi- “prefix in the word, had to either become an exclusive term or the definition had to evolve past its parts. And so, the word evolved alongside society, and the more modern definition is “Someone who’s attracted to 2 OR MORE genders”.

Cracking, a term used by some trans people when they first discover they’re trans. A common way to start to crack is by taking the button test. A name previously used by trans folk, the "dead" part, at least for me, refers to the death of the "mask" I was wearing while using my dead name. Gender Dysphoria is the agonising feeling trans people can get when you realise that there are aspects, commonly seen as gendered, about you that don't match your gender but instead signals your AGAB

A trans person before they realise they’re trans. They are sometimes used to refer to people in the present, which is wrong unless this person has self-identified as an egg. A person can never be assigned egg status. They can only ever have been an egg, or someone who self identifies, at which point, use their definition of the word as it applies to them. Discovering you’re trans and hence recognising your (now previous) egg status is known as cracking.

Hormone Replacement Therapy, specifically Transgender Hormone Replacement Therapy, replaces the dominant sex hormone in your body with the other one. For instance, estrogen for transfeminine people and testosterone for transmasculine people. Non-binary, sometimes enby is someone who doesn't fall into the two binary blocks of gender. Either is not entirely man, not fully woman, neither completely different nor sliding around the spectrum over time.

Pansexual or pangender are those who identify and/or express many shades of gender. Other terms for the same are multi-gender or omnigender. Another famous acronym is QPOC which stands for Queer people of colour. And QTIPOC is Queer, Transgender and Intersex People of Colour. The QTIPOC community experiences oppression based on race, gender, sexual orientation and other factors. This vocab is meant as a rough overview and not a nuanced and detailed description of each. There are nuances to each, and this is neither the place nor do I have the experience and knowledge to get into super detail of each.

Agender is neither a man nor a woman. Bigender is two or more genders at once. Not necessarily the binary genders, but can be, say, man and demi-girl, agender and demi-boy. Genderfluid means the gender is fluid and changes over time; sometimes, when it happens rapidly, someone may choose gender flux to emphasise the rapid changes. Demi-boy means leaning towards man, but not a binary man. Demi-girl means leaning towards a woman, but not a binary woman.

The Rainbow coloured flag symbolises queer presence, welcome and pride, which shows the diversity of queer communities. The colours of the pride flag display the true meaning of the LGBTQ+ community. They are Life, Healing, Sunlight, Nature, Serenity and Spirit.


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