Welcome to the third installment of the G&STC Glossary of Terms for Therapists! This glossary can function as a first step for those looking to educate themselves & their practice in order to make the practice to be a safe & inclusive space for queer and trans clients. Along with our six tips for therapists to be more queer and trans-inclusive, we’ve put together this five-part glossary series for therapists & care providers. You can find parts one, two & three here!
**In addition to educating yourself on the actual words, it’s important to reflect on your familiarity with, relationship to and underlying judgments and assumptions of the people and communities that embody these identities, expressions, and experiences. It’s okay to have judgments - we all do. What matters is that we are aware of, question the validity of, work to unlearn and not perpetuate those judgments at our clients’ expense.
Intersex: Describes people who are born with reproductive anatomy that doesn’t fit in to the mainstream binary definition of male or female. Covers a wide spectrum of anatomical variation. It’s important to note that this is very natural in people and should not be considered a medical problem. More on what it means to be intersex here.
Lesbian: Describes a woman-identifying person who is most commonly attracted to other woman-identifying people.
Lesbophobia: Describes discrimination against or hatred of people who identify as lesbian.
MTF: Abbreviation for “male to female,” which refers to a person assigned male at birth, transitioning to and identifying as female. Can also be referred to as “transitioning to female.” Not all transfeminine people identify with this abbreviation or with the concept that they are “transitioning from M to F,” rather that they’ve always been F.
Outing: The act of revealing someone’s sexual or gender identity. Read more on why you shouldn’t ever out anyone here.
Pangender: Describes a person who identifies themselves outside of the gender binary or as a member of all genders. Can be a fixed or fluid identity.
Pansexual: Describes a person who is attracted to people of all genders. You can find a more in-depth look at pansexuality here.
Passing: Typically used in regards to gender; describes the ability of one to be regarded as a member of the gender identity group they identify with, regardless of the identity assigned at birth. Can also be used to describe how queer folks in different gendered relationships are perceived as straight (“straight passing”). While commonly viewed as a privilege, members of the queer community may also see passing as a sign of oppressive heteronormativity. It is also a controversial term in the trans community, as it implies the identity inhabited by “passing” trans folks is an inauthentic one, which is judged by normative standards associated with being cisgender.
Polyamorous: Describes a person who desires consensual and ethical non-monogamy. Sometimes referred to as “poly” or “polyam.” Start to unlearn common myths about polyamory here.
Polycule: Describes the collective network of people involved in a polyamorous relationship.
Polyfidelity: Describes a relationship with three or more members, who are engaged in a closed relationship. Sometimes referred to as “monogamy + 1” (or more).
QPOC: An acronym for Queer Person (or People) of Color.
Queer: Historically used as a slur against members of the LGBTQ community, but has been reclaimed and is now often used as an umbrella term for those who identify outside of dominant social gender & sexuality pressures.