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A Guide to Gender & Sexuality Terminology

A Guide to Gender & Sexuality Terminology

A Guide to Gender & Sexuality Terminology

By Sam Killermann

Excerpted From Downloadable File:

The Politics of Language:
Of course language is political. Language doesn’t just reflect reality; it shapes it. It’s with language that we define what’s possible. It’s with language that we advocate for the previously impossible. Language is the flashlight that illuminates our path forward, and the breadcrumbs that help us remember where we’ve been.
The language of identity is, of course, no exception. Every word in this book is political. The act of me writing them, publishing them, and sharing with the world; the act of you reading them, or sharing them with others; these are political actions.
Writing this, and reading this, is a practice in the politics of inclusion. What words we choose to use, say, define. The definitions we decide accept, and on whose authority. And the authority we give to the evolution of language, the neologisms, slang, and modern usages. It is also a practice in the politics of exclusion, in the words we choose to avoid, forbid, retire. The definitions we reject. The authority we refute. The histories we leave out, rewrite, or lay to rest....

About The List:
This list is the byproduct of years of writing online, and doing trainings in person, about gender and sexuality. It was written by a community of strangers — myself being but one of those strangers — via comments, Facebook messages, and emails. It has grown into a collaboration with Meg Bolger, my co-creator at and co-author of Unlocking the Magic of Facilitation.
Our process has been to take piles and piles of input about a particular term, and to find a single thread that runs through it all. That’s the output: the thread that connects a patchwork of varied definitions for a particular term, the signal amidst the noise. Our goal is to maintain a list that is a useful starting place for people to begin learning a new language of gender and sexuality. The list isn’t perfect, and it’s not immutable. Those are goals that we’ve long since abandoned. Instead, we focus on the fidelity of the signal....
Know that this list of terms is absolutely not comprehensive. Nor is it an endeavor toward that goal. There are far, far (far) more terms left out than included.
What is included are terms that meet one of (or ideally many of) the following criteria:
  • Gender & sexuality terms you’ll hear and use in an introductory LGBTQ+/gender/sexuality training.
  • Foundational terms that are necessary to understand before other, more specifc (or complicated) terms will make sense.
  • Overarching community labels and identities, within which many sub-communities exist.
  • Words you’ll need to use to push for respect, equity, safety, and inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in your community, and the world.
I could fill an entire book with terms that aren’t included in this one (how avant-garde), but instead I’ll do something that might actually be helpful. Here are a few big buckets that, in the delivery of this book, are either empty or filled with but a drop:
  • In-group slang: you won’t find definitions for bears nor otters, twinks nor twinks.
  • Sexual behaviors or activities: you won’t find definition for pegging nor power-bottom-ing, scissoring nor snowballing.
  • BDSM / Kink: you won’t find definitions for submissives nor singletails, dungeons nor FinDoms.
  • Polyamory / ENM: you won’t find definition for compersion nor cuckholding, metamours nor monogamish.
Please don’t see my delivery of empty buckets as a statement that those buckets don’t need filling. Instead, I hope you consider the above a bucket list of terminology subcategories that you can explore in other resources, beyond this book.

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Available In Paperback and For Kindle:
The first edition was featured as #1 best-seller in Gender on Amazon, and is being used by gender studies & sociology professors on 3 continents. Now with a new foreword by the author, brand new chapters, fixed tpyos, and more gender!
100% of royalties from this edition go directly to hues, a global justice collective.

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