The Pride Guide: Understanding gender terminology and LGBTQIA+ slang

A guide to understanding sexual orientation, sexual health, gender terminology and some LGBTQIA+ slang
The Pride Guide: Understanding gender terminology and LGBTQIA+ slang

The Sexual Health Centre’s ‘Pride Guide’, supported by Cork LGBT+ Pride Festival, explains and defines a range of gender and inclusive terminology that many people will find very helpful.

Olivia Teahan (She/Her), communications and engagement lead at sexualhealthcentre.com, chooses a selection of the gender and LGBTQIA+ terms defined in the centre's comprehensive new online glossary. 

A guide to sexual orientation, sexual health, and gender terminology, plus some LGBTQIA+ slang.
A guide to sexual orientation, sexual health, and gender terminology, plus some LGBTQIA+ slang.

It is evident through our work in the Sexual Health Centre that the amount of LGBTQIA+ terminology can sometimes be overwhelming for people.

The Sexual Health Centre’s ‘Pride Guide’, supported by Cork LGBT+ Pride Festival, explains and defines some of these terms, many of which will be familiar and others that may be new. Some of the terminology is widely accepted, while certain terms are offensive, outdated or poorly understood.

After reading this small selection of terms, you can head to www.sexualhealthcentre.com for the full Pride Guide, which offers an expansive guide of sexual orientation, sexual health, and gender terminology along with some LGBTQIA+ slang.

As language related to sexuality and gender are too often mixed up, the full online guide has separated the terminology into two separate sections.

PrEP: Medication which can prevent HIV from taking hold in the body. It provides protection for cells to prevent HIV from replicating. PrEP is proven to be a safe and very effective preventative against the sexual transmission of HIV. In Ireland, approximately 1 in 3 cases of HIV are a result of heterosexual transmission.

Read: Slang term for an insult. This is one of many terms that were in common use in the drag ballroom culture before increasingly entering popular culture. The ballroom culture was a young African American and Latin American underground LGBTQIA+ subculture that originated in New York City in the 1980s.

Internalised Homophobia: The rejection, fear and/or hatred of one's own homosexuality, due to being socialised in a homophobic environment.

Demisexual: A person who rarely experiences sexual attraction.

Erasure: This is a heteronormative cultural tendency to remove certain groups (or all) of the LGBTQIA+ community, from record, and/or to disregard their existence. For example, in its most extreme form, bisexual erasure can include the belief that bisexuality itself does not exist.

Gold Star: A lesbian or gay man who has never had sex with someone of the opposite gender. This term can be offensive as it creates a hierarchy that automatically devalues bisexuality.

U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable): Effective HIV treatment can result in a person having an undetectable viral load, which means that HIV can not be transmitted sexually. HIV stands for ‘human immunodeficiency virus’. HIV belongs to a group of viruses called retroviruses. The term AIDS stands for ‘acquired immune deficiency syndrome’. A person is said to have AIDS when their immune system has become so weak due to HIV that it can no longer fight off diseases with which it could normally cope. Taking effective treatment that is freely available in Ireland prevents this.

Internalised Oppression: The process whereby an individual rejects, fears or hates themselves due to their socialisation as a member of an oppressed group. This impacts many LGBTQIA+ people.

Dyke: An offensive term for masculine lesbians. Some lesbians have reclaimed the term.

Enby/Non-binary: Umbrella terms for individuals whose gender identity is not solely a man or a woman. This includes those who identify as agender, bigender, gender fluid, genderqueer, and various other gender identities. An ‘enby’ person is a nonbinary person. It is a phonetic pronunciation of NB - short for nonbinary.

For the full guide, see: sexualhealthcentre.com

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