LGBTQ+ Primer Questions

I’m making a primer about LGBTQ and adjacent stuff. While I have some friends helping me, the biggest problem we’re facing is that we’re all too gay to function. That is, we don’t know what kinds of things the target audience (people who don’t know that much about LGBTQ stuff) know or want to know. I originally had this in the Vent thread, but Stephen suggested that it should probably be its own thread.

For each main group, there will be a description (what the group is), terminology (words and phrases associated with the group), FAQs (covering questions people have about it and arguments against the group), how to interact (what to do and what not to do), challenges (the main problems each group faces), and how you can help with those challenges.

We might still add to this, but here is the existing list of groups:

Attraction*
Gay/Lesbian
Bi/Multi (people who are interested in more than one gender)
A-Spec (asexual/aromantic spectrum)
Other (a few minorities that don’t normally get covered)

*We’re using this instead of Sexuality for two reasons. First, people tend to confuse sexuality (who you’re attracted to) with who you sleep with, which leads to the confusion about gayness being a choice. If your sexuality is who you sleep with and you choose who you sleep with, then being gay is a choice. But it’s who you’re attracted to, which you can’t choose. Second, we’re also covering romantic orientation in this section, which isn’t sexuality.

Gender
Trans (binary)
Non-Binary
Genderfluid
Xenogender (a system of defining gender by relating it directly to certain concepts)

Adjacent Groups
Intersex (sort of part of LGBT, sort of not)
Polyamory
Neurodiversity
Feminism
Maybe furries and kink, haven’t decided

In addition, we’re including overviews of hazardous groups. This will include a description of what they are, why they’re a problem, the warning signs that you’re talking to one, and what to do when you find one (don’t give them a platform, pretty much, but if they already have one then some debate strategies/counterarguments could help).

Hazardous Groups
LGB Alliance (maybe changing this to a more general exclusionists - people who want to eject groups from LGBTQ)
TERFs/“Gender Critical”
MAPs (Pedos who think they should be part of LGBTQ)
“Super Straights”
“Transracials” (not the adoption kind, the Rachel Dolezal kind)

So, what questions do you have on these topics and what do you think should be included in a primer?

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I always get the terms mixed up, but you’re already covering that

I don’t really think that kinks fit it, you’d have to draw a line which ones to include and they just as common with non-LGBTQs (I’ve only ever heard cis being used as an insult. Is there a better neutral term?)

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You might also be able to include more instances of in-community exclusion? The exclusion of ace/aro folks, bi/multi people in M/F relationships, and AMAB nonbinary folks are the bigger ones that people tend not to talk about outside of the community.

I’d also maybe consider going over words that are generally used as insults or slurs that a non-LGBT+ person might not realize are harmful?

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Cis/Cisgender is just the “opposite” of transgender. It’s not really an insult and if you are running into people are genuinely trying to use it that way (instead of as a joke), I’d recommend staying away from them.

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I more or less agree on kink, but there is a strong overlap and I’m not sure if I can ignore that.

I have never heard cis being used as an insult. TERFs/“GCs” think it is, but they’ve made it pretty clear that they think anything other than defining cis people as normal and trans people as abnormal is an insult. I’ve heard them say unironically that “bigot is a slur”. Cis is the Latin word for the opposite of trans (e.g. cisalpine is the same side of the Alpines as Rome, transalpine is the opposite side) so it’s the closest thing to neutral that we can get.

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The insults are going to be part of the terminology, as well as a discussion on why they’re harmful.

As for the exclusion, I’ve been putting them in the FAQs. Aphobia goes under the A-Spec FAQs and so on. The main reason I currently have the LGB Alliance in a separate group is because they look like they’re official and putting them in the harmful groups territory makes it clear that they’re not. But they could be Exclusionists/ECLIPSE or I could have the Exclus as a separate group.

I am a very indecisive person.

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Simple Genitals =/= Gender type of section. Short and sweet.

Also, a “Why should I care?” type section. For instance as a cis-hetero Male why should I care about the minutae of the LGTBQ+ world as long as I follow a Live and Let Live attitude? (I do but it’s a lot to handle. I don’t want this taken the wrong way.)

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Maybe a mini section on why LGBTQ+ people care about their LGBTQ+ness? Why they’d hide it in the first place or why they make a big deal out of coming out? Not sure I worded this well.

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And pronouns. A simple list of who may have various ones along with a quick disclaimer saying that these are only a small selection.

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I think the “Why Should I Care” section is definitely a good idea.

The things I can think of are:

  • more than 10-20% of people are LGBTQ, so there’s a very good chance someone you know or will know is part of the group
  • because of the above, knowing will keep you from embarrassing yourself or permanently alienating someone you care about
  • laws on LGBTQ people affect others, like how the trans sports ban laws are worded in such a way that cis girls can also be kicked out of sports or bathroom bans would get cis women kicked out of bathrooms as well
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Also Common Faux-Pas and how to avoid or correct yourself minimising offence. If, for instance, I miss pronoun someone how to correct the error without being shouted down about being ignorant. I could imagine this being the case of you don’t know someone’s pronoun and forget to ask.

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If you don’t have this under the gender/trans section already, it’d be nice to also have a small section that reminds people that it isn’t magically acceptable to ask weirdly invasive questions to someone just because they’re trans.

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First, I think it’s awesome that you’re doing this!

A few notes on the off chance you haven’t already considered them:

  • For clarity, spell out all abbreviations on first use, e.g. “aromantic (aro)”.

  • As this is for people who don’t yet get it, would it be worth including the “standard” sexuality terms in the sections, (e.g. include “heterosexual” as one of the listings in the “attraction” section), to demonstrate that LGBTQ+ is all part of the overall picture and not something separate and to give straights a sort of internal reference point for the categories (e.g., straight is a parallel to gay but cisgender is a parallel to transgender)?

  • I’d consider omitting kinks just because some people still think being LGBTQ+ is itself a kink; if including it, I’d be gently clear that they’re separate and include people of all genders/attractions, including straight/cis. (Nobody gets confused about that for e.g. neurodiversity, but plenty lump all “sex stuff” together.)

  • For polyamory, it could be helpful to note the difference between being poly and cheating, but that might be too tangential to your purpose here.

  • I didn’t see mention of conversion therapy, but that – and why it’s so harmful – should likely be noted. Similarly, perhaps a brief explanation of the difference between gender assignment (at birth) and gender reassignment (and better terms for it) could be useful.

  • Noting hazardous groups is good. Noting helpful groups, including ways non-LGBTQ+ people can help/support, may also be good.

  • As this will be a primer and not exhaustive, where to find more information would be great to include with each topic. (If this is online/electronic only, you could use more-info marks and hover text if you wish, to keep things briefer but allow more exploration or explanation.)

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To clarify, it will be online. We’re working on it via Google Docs.

What do you call it if it is exhaustive? Because I think it might have gotten more in-depth than a primer in the FAQs section.

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It really depends on how exhaustive the Primer is. As you’ll be doing it online you could look at splitting it into sections. I would probably not go too heavy on religion though. If I read a Primer then I would say about four sides of A4 max per topic. After all, you want people to read this and seek out further information. If you make it the LGBTQ+ version of War and Peace then a lot of people may feel more intimidated than they are now.

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Good question — it kind of depends on scope, I guess. Could be anything from a handbook to an encyclopedia, though the former can be a less-daunting term for people who are just looking for some info. “Everything you want to know about…”?

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I posted the following as an answer to the question (as raised in Vent your frustrations). Hope no one minds if I post it here:

How about a list of common misconceptions? Or maybe a list of well-meaning but badly worded questions that members of the gay community get asked, and a way these questions could be rephrased?

I know this one is more gender-based than about sexuality, but it might help. Vera Wylde (YouTuber for Council of Geeks) suggested rather than asking what someone’s gender is, ask them what pronoun they would prefer.

She said it’s the difference between asking someone who’s ordering a Happy Meal “Would you like a Boy toy or a Girl Toy” and “Which toy would you prefer?”

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A list of the various flags would be very useful.

Also, how to safely advertise your Ally-ship or Demographic (is that the right word). This may be particularly important in parts of the world where it’s potentially dangerous to advertise yourself.

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I think it’s worth noting that the “MAPs want to be part of the LGBT community” thing is actually false; most of the people saying that are actually trolls trying to make queer people look like pedophiles. There was a targeted campaign by 4chan a few years back for that purpose.

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I have no idea if Transvestites/Drag fit on any of the scales you’re covering, or if indeed there is a difference between the two (although if i were to hazard a guess, Drag are those who dress up for professional reasons (pantomime dames, drag acts, etc) and transvestites are those who like wearing women’s clothing for personal reasons.

Would i be right in thinking that people being either drag or transvestite are not necessarily LGBTQ+?

Given the popularity and amount of coverage Drag shows get on television, it might be as well to address it for those like me who know nothing about it

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