If you’re looking for your practice to be a safe & inclusive space for queer and trans clients, educating yourself is the first step. Along with our six tips for therapists to be more queer and trans inclusive, we’ve put together this glossary (the first of a five-part series) of terms. This glossary is a great tool to use as a jumping off point in educating yourself about queer & trans issues, identities and terminology.
In addition to educating yourself on the actual words, it’s important to reflect on your familiarity with, relationship to and underlying judgements and assumptions of the people and communities that embody these identities, expressions and experiences. It’s okay to have judgements - we all do. What matters is that we are aware of, question the validity of, work to unlearn and not perpetuate those judgements at our clients’ expense.
Agender: Describes a person who does not identify or conform with any particular gender. Want to know more? Here’s a Bustle article to get you started.
Asexual: Describes a person who doesn’t experience sexual attraction. However, like most identities, asexuality exists on a scale from sex-neutral to sex-repulsed. People who identify as asexual can feel romantic attraction, emotional and personal intimacy. Asexuality does not refer to physical ability to experience arousal. Commonly referred to as “ace.” Learn more about asexuality here.
Aromantic: Describes a person who feels little or no romantic attraction or lacks interest in forming romantic attractions. Commonly referred to as “aro.” Learn 6 quick facts about the aromantic spectrum here.
Aphobia: Describes discrimination against or hatred of people who identify as part of the ace/aro spectrum.
Assigned at Birth (Sex): Describes the designation and classification of female, male, intersex or another sex, and is based on perceived physical anatomy at birth.
Bigender: Describes someone who identifies with more than one gender, or a combination of gender identities.
Bisexuality: Describes someone who experiences attraction to people of their own & other genders. Does not change or go away based on gender identity of a person’s partner. More on bisexuality here.
Biphobia: Describes discrimination against or hatred of people who identify as bisexual/biromantic.
Binary: The adjective used to describe the gendered system of female/male and woman/man that dominant western society perpetuates and upholds as legitimate & valid. This system grants those who embody those genders with unearned privilege.
Binding: Describes the process of tightly wrapping a chest in order to flatten the appearance of breasts. Learn more about binders & safe methods of binding here.
Bottom Surgery: A colloquial term used to describe gender affirming genital surgeries, such as vaginoplasty, phalloplasty and metoidioplasty. Find trans + queer affirming health care providers here.
Cisgender: A person who identifies with the sex identity assigned to them at birth and the gender dominant society correlates to that sex. What is cisgender privilege & why does it matter?
This is the first in a five part glossary series. Check back in each week for the next installment!