Gone are the days of neat, convenient pigeonholes in which to safely stereotype other people (and ourselves). In a desperate bid to impose order on an ever-evolving generation, Millennials have embraced new and convoluted gender categories, throwing the world into an era of identity politics where most identifiers are clearly made-up and yet wield power in a web-based culture that thrives on the attention span of a goldfish.
Not to say that there’s anything wrong with being able to honestly identify with previously-gray sexual orientations (and thus able to find other similarly-niched individuals). The dilemma is this: it’s f*cking confusing. No individual can fit into any pre-determined category, but our compulsive need for structure compels us to try our best anyway, no matter how annoying, pointless and convoluted it seems.
The recent “outing” of Ian King as Angelina King isn’t the first time Pinoy media has reported on the sexual orientation of a celeb—remember BB Gandanghari? It has, however, caused some people to wonder what the difference is between being trans, gay and a cross-dresser. Or being hetero, cis, and gender fluid.
In the age of PC (politically correct), you’re damned if you don’t refer to someone in the manner in which they prefer (Mx., ze, hir, they, etc)—and there’s no excuse of ignorance to hide behind, either. So let’s go over the basics.
Someone who identifies as asexual is defined as having low levels or a complete lack of sexual attraction/desire for sex or sexual partners. Read: halaman, plant, cactus-heart, sawi sa pag-ibig at sumuko na—check all that apply.
Also related: Two-Spirit, “an umbrella term traditionally used by Native American[s] for individuals who possess qualities or fulfill roles of both genders,” aka medjo bipolar.
A transsexual is basically someone who psychologically identifies as a gender/sex other than the one they were biologically assigned at birth. Distinct from “being gay,” transsexuals often express the desire to hormonally and surgically transform their bodies to match their inner gender/sex. Ika nga nila, let the beauty inside shine through.
Pretty much a convenient blanket term that covers various identifiers that don’t fit conventional gender norms. It can also refer to someone who lives as a member of a gender/sex other than the one they were born with.
Also see: Transitioning, used to refer to a trans person who is undergoing hormonal and/or surgical changes to their physical form to better identify with their inner gender/sex; and Transman or Transwoman, a label used by transgenders or transsexuals to acknowledge the gender/sex they were born with while signifying their transition (i.e. female-to-males that live as men who recognize being born female, and vice versa).
Pronounced “siss-jendur,” cisgender refers to a person whose gender identity aligns with their biological sex at birth. (From how we understand it, it’s basically a fancy way to say you’re hetero—but please, correct us if we’re wrong!)
An androsexual is someone who is attracted to men, males, masculinity. A gynesexual is attracted to women, females, femininity. A skoliosexual is attracted to genderqueers and transsexuals—basically anyone who doesn’t identify as cisgender. Convenient blanket statements for being attracted to whatever you’re attracted to. It’s all love, pare.
These abbreviations are usually used when educating people about HIV and aids prevention and treatment as a clear way to differentiate sexual activity with sexual identity (read: just because you’re a straight man doesn’t mean you only have sex with women). They stand for “men who have sex with men” and “women who have sex with women.”
Ready to get thrown through a loop?
A demisexual is someone who does not get sexually attracted to anyone unless ~feelings~ are involved, so basically anyone who’s waiting ‘til marriage, looking for The One or, you know, still believes in romantic relationships.
A pansexual, contrary to popular belief, isn’t someone who’s attracted to cookware. Being a pansexual means that you’re attracted to people regardless of their gender/sex. Which, if you’re a decent human being, should just be SOP.
A sapiosexual, apart from not even being recognized as a real word, is someone who is attracted to intelligence and its use. Because the rest of the world is so naïve as to want to end up with someone they can’t carry a decent conversation with. Whatever.
Got anything to add? Sound off in the comments below!