In a landmark move, the US government on Wednesday issued the first passport with the “X” gender designation for those who do not identify themselves as either male or female.
The State Department said that it had issued the first passport with “X” for gender and would make the option routinely available by early 2022 both for passports and birth certificates of Americans abroad.
At least 11 other countries already have an “X” or “other” option for passports, according to the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion, a London-based advocacy group.
India, too, is changing rapidly, more so after the historic Supreme Court verdict that decriminalised Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on 6 September 2018. This IPC Section, introduced during the British Raj, was responsible for criminalising homosexuality in India.
As the world is getting more inclusive, there remains confusion about the actual composition of this category. What does each letter in LGBTQ stand for?
Interestingly, some also use the term LGBTQQIAAP. The full form of LGBTQ is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. As for LGBTQQIAAP, the last five letters mean Questioning, Intersex, Allies (those who identify as straight but support people in the LGBTQQIAAP community), Asexual and Pansexual.
We bring to you a comprehensive primer that will define these different groups and answer all your queries.
Asexual is a sexual orientation characterised by a lack of sexual attraction. An individual identifying as an asexual does have emotional needs, though the proclivity for any sexual activity may be missing. This condition, however, should not be confused with celibacy, as those who live their lives as celibate do so out of a free will.
Then there are people who are agender, meaning someone without gender. A relatively new term, agender is not same as asexual. People who refer to themselves as agender cannot identify as either a man or a woman. An agender has no gender identity per se.
A bisexual is attracted to more than one gender. However, it is not necessary that the attraction to both genders is simultaneous, in the same way or to the same degree. Bisexuality is a broad term, and also includes people who identify themselves as pansexuals, whose sexual attraction is not based on gender and may themselves be fluid when it comes to gender or sexual identity.
Cisgender is a person whose gender identity aligns with the gender and sex assigned at birth. At times, cisgender is confused with heterosexual, but the fact is that the former simply refers to one’s identify, the latter refers to who one is attracted to.
Then there are demisexuals who experience sexual attraction once they form a strong emotional connection with someone. Generally, a relationship for a demisexual begins with a friendship. After all, the element of trust and security makes them attracted to someone.
Those born with sex chromosomes, external genitalia or an internal reproductive system that is not considered standard for males or females refer to themselves as intersex. Parents and physicians usually choose the sex of the child, resulting in surgery or hormone treatment. Thanks to growing awareness, some people now wait until intersex babies are old enough to decide their gender identity.
Men who are attracted emotionally, sexually to some other men, identify themselves as gay. In case of a woman who is attracted another woman emotionally and/or sexually, she is usually referred to as lesbian.
The full form of LGBTQ is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. It is an umbrella term to refer to people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and/or queer. Of late, people use the terms LGBTQ+ or LGBTQQIAPP.
Once considered a slur for being gay, queer is now used as a broad term to encompass all non-heterosexual, non-cisgender identities. It is regarded as a unifying identity that sees both sexual orientation and gender identity as potentially fluid.
The second ‘Q’ in LGBTQQ is for questioning. The term is used to refer to those who are yet to figure out their orientation. These people are still unsure and are in the process of exploring their identity.
A transgender is a person whose gender identity is different from the sex the doctor put down on his/her birth certificate. Some transgender people who desire medical assistance to transition from one sex to another identify as transsexual.