Queer Terms Used in Thirsty Sword Lesbians
Labels are fluid, and mean different things to different people. As of the time of writing, this is how I use these words. Never use these definitions to argue against someone who sincerely identifies with a label. For a more comprehensive or up-to-date understanding, do your own research and listen when queers speak, but don’t put the onus on us to educate you. The list is limited to my usage of words in this book.
Aro, aromantic: Does not experience romantic feelings, or does not need them, or does not distinguish romantic from other forms of emotional closeness. For more, visitwiki.asexuality.org/Aromantic.
Ace, asexual: Does not experience sexual attraction; may experience other forms of attraction, such as romantic, aesthetic, or non-sexual sensual attraction. The best pilots in Queer Space. For more, visit asexuality.org.
Bisexual: Experiences attraction to people of their own gender and people of other genders. May or may not experience attraction to people of all genders. If specifically discussing romantic attraction, the term biromantic may be used.
Cis, cisgender: Identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth based on their genitals. Sometimes cis people throw parties so that all of their friends know about their babies’ genitals. For more, read any book taught in schools.
Cishet: A cis person who is heterosexual.
Demisexual: Someone on the asexual spectrum who does experience sexual attraction but only after developing deep emotional connection. For more, visit demisexuality.org.
Dyke: A derogatory term for a lesbian, reclaimed by some lesbians. Do not use this if you’re not a dyke. You can read the Beast move Big Dyke Energy out loud, but don’t tell someone else they have Big Dyke Energy if you’re not sure it would be welcome.
Fash: Shorthand for “fascist.” Not welcome here.
Gender: Defining this would be a separate book. It’s both internal and externally enforced, voluntary and involuntary. One goal of queer liberation is to eliminate involuntary gender.
He/Him Lesbian: Some lesbians use he/him pronouns to better express themselves and their rejection of traditional female gender roles. This does not mean they identify as men.
Intersex: An umbrella term for people with physical sex or reproductive characteristics that vary from binary norms. Visitinteractadvocates.orgfor more.
Lesbian: A hotly contested label. Last time I tried to define it, I forgot that men existed. Suffice it to say that this book is inclusive of transgender, nonbinary, intersex, and bi lesbians who identify with the label, movement, or community. Being a lesbian is deeply connected with questioning patriarchal commandments around how to properly be a woman. Some lesbians remain entirely or partially within the “woman” identity and contest its meaning, and others exist outside the gender binary. This is how I use the label; don’t at me. For more, do not visit Twitter, for the love of all that is good.
LGBT: Usually means cis gay men, sometimes includes cis lesbians. Rarely may include bisexual people and even less often trans people. Don’t say something is “LGBT” if you mean “gay” or “lesbian” and there’s no bisexual or trans representation.
LGBTQIA2S+: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic, Two-Spirit, and all specific queer identities not covered. Use this when talking inclusively about the community. The A does not stand for “Allies.”
Neopronoun: A pronoun such as ey/em, fae/faer, or ze/zir consisting of new-ish words created for the purpose. If you’re not sure how to conjugate these pronouns, ask. A decent guess can be generated by going tomy.pronoun.is, but usage does vary.
NBi, nonbinary: A person whose gender is outside the binary of being “a man” or “a woman,” including genderqueer people and genderfluid people (unless they identify as binary in the genders they inhabit). NBi is preferred to NB to avoid collision with the abbreviation for “non-black.” “Enby” is a term that some of us nonbinary people enjoy because it sounds cute and fun, but others find infantilizing or otherwise objectionable; don’t use it for others unless you know it’s welcome. Genders outside the binary flourished all over the world before Western imperialism imposed rigid binary gender requirements and tried to erase them.
Pansexual: Experiences attraction regardless of gender. If specifically discussing romantic attraction, the term panromantic may be used.
Patriarchy: Patriarchy is not just an observation that men are running things, but a label for the entire mess of rules, norms, and laws that impose gender roles, racial oppression, and poverty in service of the ruling class. If these are unfamiliar ideas, definitely go read some books by queer people of color.
Polyamorous: In this book, this term refers to people who pursue relationships with multiple partners at the same time, with the knowledge and consent of all involved.
Polycule: If you and I are both dating the same person, we’re in a polycule (like a molecule, but with people instead of atoms). So are the other people we’re dating, and so on. A “fully connected polycule” means a group of people in which every person is dating every other person. A “triad” is the three-person version of this.
Queer: A reclaimed umbrella term for LGBTQIA2S+ people, people whose gender or sexuality defies the oppressive norms imposed under patriarchy. Some LGBTQIA2S+ people do not want to be referred to as queer; respect that.
Questioning: In the process of figuring out if one is queer, or what kind of queer.
SWERF: A “Sex-Worker-Excluding Radical (or Reactionary) Feminist’” is someone who claims to be feminist but undermines liberation for sex workers and, by extension, everyone marginalized on the basis of gender. Not welcome here.
TERF: A “Transgender-Excluding Radical (or Reactionary) Feminist’” is someone who claims to be feminist but undermines liberation for transgender people and, by extension, everyone marginalized on the basis of gender. They are most excited about attacking trans women, and major TERF organizations have deep and well-documented ties to the religious right in the United States. Not welcome here.
Trans, transgender: A person who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. May or may not have had medical procedures modifying their body, and it is not your place to ask. May or may not conform their expression to cisgender norms. Some of us trans women have deep voices, and that’s rad.
Transfeminine: A transgender woman or a transgender person assigned male at birth who is nonbinary in a way that connects with womanhood.
Two-Spirit: An umbrella term used by many Native American and First Nations cultures to refer to members of their communities who have diverse genders and sexualities, including historical genders and sexualities targeted by colonial authorities. Not to be used for people outside of these Indigenous communities. Visit*<www.baaits.org/about>*for more.