The Gender and Sexuality Spectrums 101 (Part 2)

September 13, 2015 Written By Rohini Banerjee

Like gender, sexuality also doesn’t function as a binary. A person isn’t either ‘straight’ or ‘gay’. There are a plethora of sexual orientations out there, which the Kinsey Scale somewhat tries to map. It is important to note that, though the discourses of gender and sexuality are intertwined in many ways, one’s sexuality is mutually exclusive to one’s gender. For example, if you are a man, it is not necessary that you have to be sexually attracted to a woman. This is especially applicable to trans persons, who often face slurs and censure because of this. For example, if a trans man is attracted to another man, then they are often misgendered and further ridiculed. This is an example of both transphobia and homiphobia.

Image Souce

Here are some of the more common sexual orientations (again, a disclaimer: sexual orientations are also fluid, and are not limited to the following categories)

  • Asexual: A person who does not experience sexual desire or sexual attraction. Being asexual is very different from being aromantic (unless a person is both). Asexual people can experience strong romantic emotions towards any gender, can want relationships, and yet not feel the desire( The Kinsey scale, also called the Heterosexual–Homosexual Rating Scale,attempts to describe a person’s sexual experience or response at a given time. It uses a scale from 0, meaning exclusively heterosexual, to 6, meaning exclusively homosexual. In both the Male and Female volumes of the Kinsey Reports, an additional grade, listed as “X”, was used to mean “no socio-sexual contacts or reactions”; in modern times, this represents asexuality or stimulation to engage in sexual activity. Physicist Isaac Newton and Author Emily Bronte were famously asexual.)
  • Heterosexual: A person who is only attracted to people of the opposite gender.
  • Queer: Originally a synonym for “odd,” this term—as both noun and adjective—became a derogatory epithet for gay men and lesbians in the twentieth century, especially in the United States, where it emphasized the alleged “unnaturalness” of homosexuality. Although many people still use “queer” as an anti-gay slur, the 1980s saw the emergence of a movement that sought to reclaim the term, robbing it of its negative meaning. In this usage, “queer” is an inclusive umbrella term that designates all those who are sexually dissident, even if they are not strictly homosexual, and all “transgressive” forms of sexuality. Many lesbians and gay men, transsexuals, bisexuals, and even heterosexuals whose sexuality does not fit into the cultural standard of monogamous heterosexual marriage have adopted the “queer” label. Some gay men and lesbians, however, due to its earlier pejorative usage, dislike the term, even in its “reclaimed” usage, and feel that it has the effect of diluting the specificity of the narrower categories.
  • Gay: A man (both cis or trans) who is only attracted to people of the same sex or gender. (This term is often used as a generalized term to refer to those who are attracted to people of the same sex). Famous gay public figures include Ian McKellen, Stephen Fry, George Takei, Neil Patrick Harris, Elton John, John Barrowman, Michael Kors, Matt Bomer, Tim Cook (Apple CEO), and many more.
  • Lesbian: A woman (both cis or trans) who is only attracted to people of the same sex or gender. Famous lesbian public figures include: Ellen Page, Ellen Degeneres and Portia Rossi, Jodie Foster,  Lily Tomlin, Cynthia Nixon, Rosie o Donnell, Meredith Baxter,  and many more.
  • Bisexual: A person who is attracted to people of two genders: usually their own gender and the opposite gender. Famous bisexual public figures include Alan Cumming, Amber Heard, Ezra Miller, Drew Barrymore, Alec Guiness, Anna Paquin and more.
  • Pansexual: A person who is attracted to people of ALL genders, not just men or women. This includes transgender people, intersex people, genderfluid people and genderqueer people; and can include attraction towards as many gender identities as there is.
  • DemisexualA person who experiences sexual attraction only after forming a strong emotional bond with a person. This attraction can be experienced towards persons of any and every gender identities.
  • Questioning: A person who is in the process of figuring out their gender or sexual identity.

As I have tried my best to make clear, both gender and sexuality do not function as binaries, and are actually amorphous and in constant flux. Like I have mentioned repeatedly, both gender and sexual identities are various and not limited to the above categories mentioned. These categories are used to provide a simplified perspective on how gender and sexualities work, and are more general than specific. There are more identities out there, and if you haven’t found yours, don’t worry. You are beautiful, and this blog wholeheartedly supports your choice of pronoun and partner

Image Source

 

The Gender and Sexuality Spectrums 101 (Part 2)

September 13, 2015 Written By Rohini Banerjee

Like gender, sexuality also doesn’t function as a binary. A person isn’t either ‘straight’ or ‘gay’. There are a plethora of sexual orientations out there, which the Kinsey Scale somewhat tries to map. It is important to note that, though the discourses of gender and sexuality are intertwined in many ways, one’s sexuality is mutually exclusive to one’s gender. For example, if you are a man, it is not necessary that you have to be sexually attracted to a woman. This is especially applicable to trans persons, who often face slurs and censure because of this. For example, if a trans man is attracted to another man, then they are often misgendered and further ridiculed. This is an example of both transphobia and homiphobia.

Image Souce

Here are some of the more common sexual orientations (again, a disclaimer: sexual orientations are also fluid, and are not limited to the following categories)

  • Asexual: A person who does not experience sexual desire or sexual attraction. Being asexual is very different from being aromantic (unless a person is both). Asexual people can experience strong romantic emotions towards any gender, can want relationships, and yet not feel the desire( The Kinsey scale, also called the Heterosexual–Homosexual Rating Scale,attempts to describe a person’s sexual experience or response at a given time. It uses a scale from 0, meaning exclusively heterosexual, to 6, meaning exclusively homosexual. In both the Male and Female volumes of the Kinsey Reports, an additional grade, listed as “X”, was used to mean “no socio-sexual contacts or reactions”; in modern times, this represents asexuality or stimulation to engage in sexual activity. Physicist Isaac Newton and Author Emily Bronte were famously asexual.)
  • Heterosexual: A person who is only attracted to people of the opposite gender.
  • Queer: Originally a synonym for “odd,” this term—as both noun and adjective—became a derogatory epithet for gay men and lesbians in the twentieth century, especially in the United States, where it emphasized the alleged “unnaturalness” of homosexuality. Although many people still use “queer” as an anti-gay slur, the 1980s saw the emergence of a movement that sought to reclaim the term, robbing it of its negative meaning. In this usage, “queer” is an inclusive umbrella term that designates all those who are sexually dissident, even if they are not strictly homosexual, and all “transgressive” forms of sexuality. Many lesbians and gay men, transsexuals, bisexuals, and even heterosexuals whose sexuality does not fit into the cultural standard of monogamous heterosexual marriage have adopted the “queer” label. Some gay men and lesbians, however, due to its earlier pejorative usage, dislike the term, even in its “reclaimed” usage, and feel that it has the effect of diluting the specificity of the narrower categories.
  • Gay: A man (both cis or trans) who is only attracted to people of the same sex or gender. (This term is often used as a generalized term to refer to those who are attracted to people of the same sex). Famous gay public figures include Ian McKellen, Stephen Fry, George Takei, Neil Patrick Harris, Elton John, John Barrowman, Michael Kors, Matt Bomer, Tim Cook (Apple CEO), and many more.
  • Lesbian: A woman (both cis or trans) who is only attracted to people of the same sex or gender. Famous lesbian public figures include: Ellen Page, Ellen Degeneres and Portia Rossi, Jodie Foster,  Lily Tomlin, Cynthia Nixon, Rosie o Donnell, Meredith Baxter,  and many more.
  • Bisexual: A person who is attracted to people of two genders: usually their own gender and the opposite gender. Famous bisexual public figures include Alan Cumming, Amber Heard, Ezra Miller, Drew Barrymore, Alec Guiness, Anna Paquin and more.
  • Pansexual: A person who is attracted to people of ALL genders, not just men or women. This includes transgender people, intersex people, genderfluid people and genderqueer people; and can include attraction towards as many gender identities as there is.
  • DemisexualA person who experiences sexual attraction only after forming a strong emotional bond with a person. This attraction can be experienced towards persons of any and every gender identities.
  • Questioning: A person who is in the process of figuring out their gender or sexual identity.

As I have tried my best to make clear, both gender and sexuality do not function as binaries, and are actually amorphous and in constant flux. Like I have mentioned repeatedly, both gender and sexual identities are various and not limited to the above categories mentioned. These categories are used to provide a simplified perspective on how gender and sexualities work, and are more general than specific. There are more identities out there, and if you haven’t found yours, don’t worry. You are beautiful, and this blog wholeheartedly supports your choice of pronoun and partner

Image Source

 

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