Archive for the ‘Definitions’ Category
Gay. Lesbian. Bi. Transgender. Curious. Grrrrl. Twink. Queer. Bear. Chub. Questioning. DL. Bear. Pansy. Boi. Metrosexual.
What is your label? Is that the REAL question? Or is the real question: “Do I need a label?” We get lots of callers who ask the question: “Am I gay? Am I straight? Am I bi?”
Many of our callers feel a sense of urgency to slap a label on what “they are” and proceed with life. However, the use of labels can be confusing. Self-identification can be tough to face.
Coming out and identifying with a label can be even more challenging. With so much “grey area” running between each label, it can be hard to identify just what we are feeling.
At the GLBT National Help Center, we are here to help you to chat with you and help you find the answers to your questions. We help people all over the U.S. talk about the important issues they are facing in their lives.
Call us. Let’s talk.
We get lots of calls and chats from bi folks. And there’s still a lot of misinformation out there. Those who are bisexual have the wonderful gift of being physically and/or emotionally attracted to both women and men, simply depending on the person. It’s a sexual orientation just like heterosexuality or homosexuality, and is just as normal. Bisexuality has appeared throughout history, in humans as well as animals, and is a recognized sexual orientation by all reputable medical and psychiatric organizations.
It is a common misconception that bisexuality does not exist, and those who identify as bisexual often face discrimination from both the straight AND queer communities. They get told to “pick a side,” and can have additional issues finding long-term companionship due to the mis-guided idea that bisexuals are more likely to sexually stray.
These misconceptions about bisexuals are just that: Misconceptions. The bisexual callers we hear from on the hotline are striving to find themselves as well as love and companionship like those of any other sexual orientation. You can get in touch with us if you have questions, need to talk, or if you’d like us to see if we know of any local bisexual resources in your area.
The biggest trend in calls that we’ve seen in the last couple of years is the increasing number of calls from those who identify as transsexual or transgendered. Later entries will deal with some of the issues these callers are facing, but first some terms should be established.
“Transsexual” and “transgender” are often used interchangeably as terms to describe a person who does not identify with the gender of the body he/she was born with. The terms change with the times, so it can be confusing for callers who are looking for a term to match their personal situation.
Currently, “transgender” is more of an umbrella term to describe all of those whose gender identities are at odds with traditional gender roles (feminine/masculine), including but not limited to those who cross-dress or identify as genderqueer. “Transsexual” describes specifically those who identify as members of the gender opposite to that assigned at birth. A person who identifies as transsexual often lives as and is accepted as the gender he/she feels is right for him/her.
There is also confusion around gender versus sexual orientation. A feminine man is not necessarily homosexual. Nor, of course, is he necessarily transsexual, but the ideas of homosexuality being associated with men who behave in traditionally feminine ways or women who behave in traditionally masculine ways confuse the issue. It is often revelatory to callers that just because they might feel feminine or masculine, that has nothing to do with their sexual attractions.