Let me get this – erm – straight.

I recently saw an article that mentioned the LGBTQQIAAP community and had to rush to the nearest Google to look it up. It stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Allies and Pansexual, as I’m sure everyone knows. Everyone, that is, except me.

Leaving aside the question of whether this comprises an actual community, I thought I’d parade my own ignorance (and risk my prejudices showing) and just make myself a note.

Lesbian, I get. That’s a term for a woman who prefers women. I prefer women, too, but that only half qualifies me as a lesbian.

Gay apparently now refers only to men who prefer men (when I thought it referred to anyone who was a homosexual, meaning same in Greek). Wrong. So this means there’s no such thing as a gay woman?

Bisexual, I get. A bit of both. Well, maybe more than a bit – but that’s a matter of appetite, rather than persuasion. (Am I allowed to say “persuasion”? Don’t know.) No, wait – it’s not both, it has to be either. Both would imply at the same time, which would be Troilism – which doesn’t seem to feature. So that would be a bit troilist, wouldn’t it?

Transgender. Think I get. A matter of anything between self-identifying and actual surgery – gender reassignment. Luckily there are only two genders to choose from. Although…

Queer. Once derogatory, now a matter of pride. Or Pride. And apparently, the big umbrella term to cover everything else. (Except Troilism.)

Questioning. Don’t know. I mean, if you’re Questioning, you don’t know. And who can blame you, when there’s so much to choose from? It takes, as Geo. Bassett & Co would like to think but probably never intended, allsorts.

Intersex. That’s Intersex, not (as I first heard it) Into sex. Born with both male and female biological features. That’s called something else in Greek culture: the nymph Salmacis fell in love with the son of Hermes and Aphrodite, and prayed to be forever united with him. As a result Hermaphroditus and Salmacis became joined in a single body which retained characteristics of both sexes. As any fule kno.

Asexual. And there was me, thinking this would just mean “not interested” – a permanent headache. But no (and I quote from Decahedron of Q): asexual means a person who is not sexually attracted to others, but that doesn’t mean they don’t fall in love with others. They can be attracted to someone: they just don’t have to act it out sexually. Some asexual people are happier on their own, others are happiest with a group of close friends. Other asexual people have a desire to form more intimate romantic relationships and will date and seek long-term partnerships. Asexual people are just as likely to date sexual people as they are to date each other. Also, there are different kinds of asexuality such as grey-asexual, someone who has sexual attractions very rarely, and demi-sexual, someone who only feels sexual attraction after already developing a strong bond with someone. For some, sexual arousal is a fairly regular occurrence, though it is not associated with a desire to find a sexual partner or partners. Some will feel no desire for partnered sexuality [ie it’s DIY]. Other asexual people experience little or no arousal. Because they do not care about sex, asexual people generally do not see a lack of sexual arousal as a problem to be corrected and focus their energy on enjoying other types of arousal and pleasure.

Phew – glad to have cleared that one up. They don’t seem to have much of a voice, though, do they?

Allies. Apparently refers to straight people who are supportive of members of the (deep breath) LGBTQQIAAP community.

Pansexual. Sex with oven gloves on. Only kidding. To quote Decahedron of Q again: Pansexual describes people who are attracted to others with gender not a factor being considered. Pansexual people are often mixed up with bisexual people as they both may date both men or women. The gender of another person is not important to pansexual people as they are attracted solely to the person himself/herself and the gender does not contribute to the attraction. As I said, lucky there are only two genders, huh?

It’s complicated. And I haven’t even got on to the subject of why none of the above might be described as “straight” – the opposite of which is either “bent” or “crooked”.

Next week, BDSM. If I’m lucky.

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