The Pride Month-Beyond the ‘Norms’

“Diversity is a mix. Inclusion is making the mix work.” -Andres Tapia, Leader- Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion are the two challenges, in disguise. The latter one is the solution. One of the straightforward ways to understand a society is to ‘understand its diversity’. By which inclusion begins. A different idea or an out of the box thought, at first confuses people. The unwillingness to accept something beyond the standard may be natural. But an awkward stubbornness to deny or not learn about the new facts or a concept indicates denial of diversity, thereby questioning the realms of a society.

A society is built on individual characters. It is vital to understand ever changing social ‘norms’. As the world observes the month of June as ‘The Pride Month’, as a psychotherapist and coach, I thought of going back to basics to acknowledge the LGBTIQ community.

The world is struggling with inclusion, due to following issues, being ignorant, lack of authentic information, misinterpretation and ‘not knowing how to be!’

This newsletter is an attempt to present accurate, authentic information in best possible ways. It promotes use of inclusive language for the LGBTIQ community.

The best way to celebrate the pride month is to be well informed in order to understand them better, serve as their advocates and help them thrive in an ever- changing challenging times.

The language used to address or talk about the LGBTIQ is evolving constantly. In a move towards inclusivity, the LGBTIQ- has been expanded. Some terms have been excluded, some included, and some which were marked derogatory now have been accepted, or some reclaimed. In short, the acronym LGBT- has been expanded.

The language around these acronyms or their definitions have been undergoing changes or editions. In fact, it may also mean different things to different people!

The beauty of diversity here is that we are talking about identity, people, relationships, life, perceptions, physicality, sexuality etc, hence, the possibility of many people and many definitions cannot be denied.

Refer the basics below:

LGBT- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender

Lesbian- The term refers to a woman, sexually and/or emotionally attracted to other women.

Gay- The term refers to a man who is sexually and/or emotionally attracted to other men.

Bisexual- The term refers to someone who is sexually and /or emotionally attracted to more than one gender. It also refers to someone who is attracted to two or more gender identities.

Transgender- The term is used to describe any person who has a gender identity that is different from the gender that they were assigned at birth.

LGBTIQQIA- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and /or Questioning, and Asexual and/or Ally

  1. Intersex- This term refers to people who naturally have traits which are biologically in nature such as genitalia or hormones that do not match what is typically identifies as male or female. There are variations to this concept.
  2. Queer- Queer is used as an umbrella term referring to anyone who is not straight. By the dictionary it means ‘unusual or strange or odd’. Historically, the word queer was considered offensive in the community, but in recent years it has been reclaimed.
  3. Questioning- The term refers to someone who is not sure how they identify. Someone can be questioning their sexual orientation and/or their gender identity.
  4. Ally- People who identify as straight and believe in social and legal equality for LGBTIQ+ people are allies.

The commonly used acronym is LGBT, but it is necessary to know further letters for educational purposes.

LGBTIQQAPD- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and /or Questioning, and Asexual and/or Ally, Pansexual and Demi sexual

  1. Pansexual- It is often referred to as ‘pan’ which is for a person who is sexually, romantically, and/or emotionally attracted to people regardless of their sex or gender identity.
  2. Demi sexual- It is often referred to as ‘Demi’, this is a term used to describe someone who can only experience sexual attraction after an emotional bond is formed.

This list of letters can and does continue. The terms are evolving. To make it easier for you, below are some symbols used commonly.

LGBTIQQA+ / LGBTQQ+- Adding a ‘+’ to an acronym is as acknowledgment there are other identities that are not included in the acronym but exist. It is an umbrella term for people with all other identities or orientation.

LGBTIQ- This is usually used to denote Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer community. This acronym is inclusive and has a broad range.

Trans*- The asterix * next to Trans refers to all the identities within the gender identity spectrum, other than people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.

Growing up and living with identity issues is harder. Higher rejections rates, suicide, abandonment, existential crisis, mental health concerns, violence, homelessness are the associated issues with people within the LGBTIQA+ Ignorance and addressing communities with disrespect is a threat to the ever growing diverse society. Change is inevitable.

How can you contribute?

a. By being informed

b. By using people’s first name

c. By being aware of the concepts

d. By trying to be non judgmental

e. By being sensitive and kind!

“To be afraid is to behave as if the truth were not true.” Anonymous

Refer below the Frequently Asked Questions and be informed!

1. What is the difference between sex and gender?
Sex refers to the person’s assigned sex at birth. It refers to the physical anatomy and chromosomes at birth.
Gender refers to role, interests, appearance and one’s own psychological sense of themselves as a being.

2. What is gender identity and gender expression?
Regardless of the sex/gender they were assigned at birth, ‘Gender Identity’ is the gender an individual identifies with.
‘Gender Expression’ is how someone expresses their gender through behavior, appearance or mannerisms.
Interestingly, a person’s gender expression may or may not be analogous to their identity, also may differ to the person’s biological sex.

3. How can I mindfully acknowledge and respect the LGBTQ community?
a. Start by listening- They need to be heard and deserve to receive respect. They have their individual opinions, it is important to acknowledge them.

b. Model inclusion and kindness- Inclusion is possible when one understands them well. It can start with using appropriate language, avoiding using harsh words or misgendering. If you are unsure about how to address them, it is always wise to ask them. One question can lead to a meaningful conversation.

c. Let them be who they are- To put across a message to them that it is okay to be authentic and present the way they are. Everyone has a right to be a part of the society,

d. Stay informed- It is really the first step. Being informed, gathering and understanding their life. Equip yourself.

e. Support unconditionally- Become an ally! If you choose not to support, avoid judgments, opinions that may disturb the system. Maintain harmony.

4. How do I work with someone from the LGBTQ community?
With regards to working as colleagues, one has to follow the usual professional ethics and imbibe personal values such as kindness, altruism and respect. Apart from these, being sensitive and not being nosy is essential. To avoid discussing topics which can make someone uncomfortable. Offering help during crises and building friendships. Lastly, by being informed and educating yourself in order to thrive.

5. How can I participate in Pride month where I don’t see myself as one of the genders from the term LGBTQ?
Respect can be shown and extended in many ways. One can participate in
the Pride month by advocating about the community, or by participating in
events organized by the community. One can educate oneself and others in
simple ways. Volunteering in the events or donating are interesting
ways too.

What are your thoughts?

What do you think about the pride month?

Share. Spread Joy……….

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