Trying to get it right

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

It’s been a long time coming but we’re making progress in making room for all genders and sexual identities. This is wonderful and complicated: the more we understand about sexual and gender identity the more there is to understand. Part of this journey of discovery has required developing new language to describe what has never been identified/described before. Even our pronouns were limiting and inadequate for reflecting the range of gender expression. Our attempts to retrofit them has resulted in a rather clunky and awkward system to put into practice but at the same time these corrections signal our need to broaden our understanding of who we are.  
In short, there is a lot to learn with many people feeling like they haven’t been able to keep up with all that is happening while at the same time wanting to be informed and respectful. The glossary of key terms from The Trevor Project is very helpful. (The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award-winner short film Trevor, and is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer& questioning (LGBTQ) young people under age 25.) The website also has a wealth of additional information and resources.
Sometimes getting it wrong
As we go about overcoming our biases and learning how to be inclusive and respectful of every member of our human family, many of us bump up against a great fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. To help out with that I asked a handful of gender specialists and members of our NLH LGBTQ+ community to pick a topic they’ve noticed people floundering with and give us a hand. I took this opportunity to ask a question I wanted to have answered:
I notice that some LGBTQ+ people refer to themselves as queer. First, what specifically does queer mean because it seems to me that it may be more of a general term. Second, is queer a respectful term to use and are there some terms that only LGBTQ+ people use but aren’t that acceptable for cisgender people to use?
You’ll find Chris McLaughlin’s very interesting answer to my question, plus a wealth of tips and guidance from a few of our NLH LGBTQ+ experts and community members topped off with a collection of useful links right here.
Happy Summer!