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The terminology of sexual orientation

Staff Reports

Homosexual: refers to people whose sexual and romantic feelings are primarily for those of the same sex.Heterosexual: refers to people whose sexual and romantic feelings are primarily for people of the opposite sex.Gay: an overarching, more casual term for “homosexual” that typically refers to homosexual men.Lesbian: refers to women who are homosexual.Bisexual: refers to people whose sexual and romantic feelings are for people of both sexes.Transgendered: someone whose gender identity or expression differs from conventional expectations for their physical sex. Includes transsexuals (not all transsexual people need or want sex reassignment surgery), masculine women, feminine men, drag queens/kings, cross-dressers, gender queers, two-spirit, butches, transment, transwomen, etc. Transgenders can be straight, gay, lesbian, or bisexual.Intersexed: refers to people born with anatomy or physiology which differs from cultural and/or medical ideals of male and female. “Hermaphrodite” is a commonly used term by the medical profession, but is not accepted by many intersexed people. Typically, doctors will assign one sex or another to an intersexed person at birth, but the Intersex Society of North America has labeled this practice genital mutilation and opposes surgery on infants and children.Queer: This term is a little tougher to define, according to Frank Accosta, president of the Dillon/Summit Chapter of PFLAG.”Queer is a new subculture of young people who don’t identify with any of the terms above,” he says.According to Accosta, “queer” doesn’t just describe sexual identity, incorporating fashion, politics, music, and an overall ethos he describes as “radical.” Like punk rock, either you’re in or you’re out.Source: http://www.pflag.org


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