Explaining labels in the LGBTQ community to help in writing

Ok so, I’m a bit new to these forums still, but one thing I have noticed is that some people are confused or don’t know how to write certain sexualities or genders.

Soooo, here’s a (not so) short little guide, from someone who’s done extensive research and self questioning over a number of years. Hope you enjoy :]

Disclaimer: a lot of this information is from personal experience, so some points may be biased. If you would like to add your own opinion to these, let me know and I’m happy to make any necessary changes ^^


Genders and Transgender peeps

OK, before I start off, as this is something many people don’t seem to get.

Anyone who doesn’t identify with their gender assigned at birth is trans.

This includes non binary people, is my point. :]

Ok, now for le dictionary:

Male and Female, as well as some general pointers on writing trans people

Boys and men generally use he/him, although that is not always the case. At times they may prefer to use he/they or just they/them, and even she/her or other pronouns. This does not change their actual gender.

Girls and Women generally use she/her, although again, this is not always the case. No matter what pronouns they use, it does not change their actual gender.

Transgender people usually experience gender dysphoria, which can include, and is not limited to:

  • Voice pitch

  • Height

  • Chest

  • Hips

  • Genital areas

  • Gait (the way they walk)

  • Simply being reminded that they were born with typical “male” or “female” features.

Misgendering/deadnaming a trans person of any gender can trigger a large amount of dysphoria, so always make an effort.

Now, how to write:

  • make a personality

  • make a biography

  • Boom you’re all set.

:joy: seriously though, the only things that make men different to any other gender, when it comes to writing, is that they are more likely to be vulnerable to toxic masculinity. Some women may be affected by being a misandrist or being affected by misogyny and male privilege.

With Trans people, here’s a few tips

  • If you are writing before they come out, DO NOT MISGENDER THEM. They were always that gender, even before coming out. The only excuse for this is if you are writing from another person’s perspective, who did not know that the person was trans. If writing in third person, misgendering them may ‘make more sense’, but it is not accurate.

Example of doing it wrong with a trans guy:

“A girl walked into the room awkwardly, before sitting down in the chair. She fiddled with her sleeves, seemingly tying to work himself up to something. [Name] watched her curiously. She had been acting weird all week.”

Example of doing it right with a trans guy:

"[Name] walked into the room awkwardly, before sitting down in the chair. he fiddled with his sleeves, seemingly trying to work himself up to something. Today was the day he’d finally tell her. [Other Name] watched him curiously.

She’s been acting weird all week. I wonder what she has to say. [Other Name] thought to herself.

In the example of doing it write, I changed the wording around a bit so it made more sense. I hope you understand my point better now.

Moving on the the next tip :]

  • NEVER use phrases like: “I used to be a boy/girl” or “My name used to be”

Instead (for the first one), try "Yea, I’m afab/amab (assigned female/male at birth) or more simply. “I’m trans/It doesn’t matter.”

For the second one, you can use, “That’s my deadname, I go by ______ now” or “My name is _____, you don’t need to know my deadname.” It is rare that a trans person will tell anyone they don’t completely trust their deadname, simply because it is linked to a complicated and uncomfortable part of their life, and has bad memories associated with it. It no longer applies to their everyday life, so there’s no reason to go around telling people it.

  • No trans person is going to ‘let’ someone misgender them or call them by their deadname just because they’re close friends/family. A real friend will accept them wholeheartedly, along with any changes they may make.

  • Not every trans person wants surgeries or hormones. That’s a personal decision for them alone.

  • It may seem attention seeking, but sometimes, some trans people will ask if they ‘pass’. This is not the goal for every trans person, but if they ask this, it is simply because they feel dysphoric and want assurance, or they may be making sure that if they meet someone in public, they won’t be accidently misgendered. It all depends on context, but we do not ask this all the time

  • I may add to this list, comment anything I missed :]

Genderfluid

This is when someone’s gender fluxuates between multiple genders over the course of days, weeks, months or sometimes years. These people may use all pronouns at all times, but quite often their pronouns depend on their current gender.

For example, someone may be a boy one day, and non binary the next. On the first day they will use he/him pronouns, and in the next they/them.

This is the same for dysphoria. They may feel very dysphoric because of their voice on day, but be completely fine about it the next because their gender is different, and matches their voice.

Genderfluid is complex, but if you ever need advice, just ask for it. It’ll help your writing considerably in the long run.

Non Binary

Non Binary is a label for anyone who is not a girl or boy. This includes people who are only partially male or female, and people who’s gender fluxuates outside of the binary, even if it occasionally includes it.

There are many labels inside of non binary that a non binary person may also use, and non binary people can use any pronouns that they feel comfortable with, like all other genders.

Some tips:

  • If someone uses they/them pronouns, be grammatically correct. Do not try to say “They was” is “They is”. It doesn’t make sense, you know?

  • If someone is comfortable with multiple pronouns at a time, switch between them when writing. Sticking to just one counts as “not using their pronouns”, which is not as severe as misgendering, but can be hurtful.

  • Experiment with neopronouns. They can be awkward at first,but the more you write with them, the better you’ll get.

Non binary people, like boys and girls, don’t use their gender a the focal point in their life. They may make the occasional joke about dysphoria or destroying gender norms, but apart from that there is no real difference

ALSO - it doesn’t matter whether your character is afab (assigned female at birth) or amab (assigned male at birth). The only time it matters is in terms of dysphoria. That’s it :]

Demiboy/girl

A Demiboy is someone who partially identifies as a boy, and partially as some other gender, usually agender. They usually use both they/them and he/him pronouns, but of course this is up to the individual.

A Demigirl is someone who partially identifies as a girl, and partially as another gender, usually agender. They usually use they/them and she/her pronouns, but this is also up to the individual.

Genderqueer

This is the general term for a non binary person who has a gender, but it is not male or female. These people may use any pronouns, depending on what’s comfortable, including neopronouns.

When writing these people it doesn’t particularly matter what gender they “express” (how they look). That is entirely up to how they feel and how severe their gender dysphoria is.

Boy/Girlflux

[gender]flux is a bit like genderfluid, except it fluctuates just between [gender] and non binary. These people will generally use two sets of pronouns, such as she/her and they/them or he/him and they/them.

When writing these characters, do not fluctuate between the sets of pronouns, except when the character’s gender changes.

bi/tri/pangender
  • BIGENDER - This is used to refer to someone who has two genders, for example: boy and girl, or Girl and Agender. They usually experience these genders at the same time, but not partially, like a demiboy/girl. Both genders may be under the non binary umbrella, or neither may be. It depends on the individual, who will usually express their genders and pronouns when letting others know that they are non binary. When it comes to writing, switch between the bigender person’s pronouns throughout the text.

  • TRIGENDER - This is exactly the same as bigender, except it is three genders instead of two.

  • PANGENDER - This is exactly the same as bigender, except that it is all genders instead of two. Pangender peeps generally use all pronouns.

Agender

Agender is a lack of gender. Agender people usually use they/them pronouns, but that can vary depending on the individual.

Neutrois

Similar to Agender, Neutrois people are right in the middle of made and female, in a neutral zone so to speak. They generally use they/them pronouns, although this can vary depending on the individual.

Faegender

I am only commenting on this gender to say that I advise against using it.

It is appropriation of irish culture, by saying that your gender is Fae, which is like saying your gender is a God. It doesn’t make sense and it is disrespectful. That’s all I have to say

Sexualities

This is a list of some sexualities, definitions and tips on how to portray them :]

Heterosexual/romantic

Attraction to the opposite gender

Heteroflexible/romantic

Attraction to the opposite gender, with occasional attraction for a different on/the same

Bicurious

Considering whether or not you are bisexual

Bisexual

The attraction to two or more genders, and can be with or without preference

Tips:

  • Bisexual people don’t need to ‘pick a side’
  • Bisexual people are not more likely to cheat
  • Bisexual people can be attracted to trans and non binary people.
Pansexual

The attraction to all genders with no preference

Tips:

  • Pansexual is no the same as bisexual, however it does fall under the bisexual umbrella
  • Pansexual people are not pansexual because they are attracted to trans/non binary people
  • Pansexual people are not attracted to pans
Polysexual

The attraction to multiple genders

Tips:

  • While they are similar, Bisexual and polysexual are separate labels and should be respected as such
  • Polysexual is different to polyamorous
Omnisexual

Attraction to all genders but with a preference

Homosexual

Attraction to the same gender

Tips:

  • Homosexual people do not go around getting crushes on everyone
  • Homosexual guys are not all feminine
  • Homosexual girls are not all masculine
  • The ‘gay best friend’ trope is harmful and should be avoided, as it classifies the gay character as nothing more than an extension to the main character.
Homoflexible

A homosexual person who occasionally feels attraction to other genders

Asexual

No sexual attraction

Tips:

  • Not all asexual people have been (tw)sexually abused but those who have are valid and deserve justice
  • Not all asexual people are uwu softies
  • Asexuality doesn’t mean aromantic - they still experience romantic attraction.
  • Every asexual person has boundaries after a certain point, always ask and respect this
  • Some asexual ppl may still do the s-x for reproduction or in an agreement with their partner
Aromantic

No romantic attraction

Tips:

  • Not all aromantic people have been (tw)emotionally abused
  • Aromantic people are not loveless, they just experience different kinds of love, including familial love and platonic love
  • Some aromantic people marry their best friends and raise a family with them
  • Aromantic doesn’t mean asexual - they still have s-x
  • Aromantic people are not sl-ts or wh-res
Demisexual/romantic

Still experiences romantic/sexual attraction, but only after strong connections have been built in other places.

Tips:

  • Include an orientation with this label, it doesn’t make sense on it’s own. Eg. Demipansexual
Queer

Not straight, but doesn’t want to confine themselves to a label/their sexuality is too complicated to use a label

Polyamorous

Being in a relationship with multiple people at once.

Tips:

  • All polyamorous relationships require consent from every party, otherwise it’s cheating
  • Polyamory is not cheating or disloyal
  • People in polyamorous relationships are not greedy or sl-tty
Questioning

Unsure about their orientation

Tips:

  • When questioning, people will often ask for advice or experiment. Experimenting without letting the other party know they are an experiment can be very hurtful to the other party in the end - try to let them know.

These are incomplete lists, let me know any others that you want added or explained further!

9 Likes

This is great! I’m pansexual myself.

1 Like

I’m rlly glad u think that :blush:

(omg that sounded rlly awkward)
But thank uuuu

Added some tags. :white_heart::black_heart::purple_heart:

1 Like

oop
Thank uuuu

1 Like

I’m just going to add on to this. As a witch, I want to stress that the Fae are not beings that you want to mess with. Using labels like ‘faegender’ or using fae/faer pronouns is extremely disrespectful to them and the people who practice Paganism and witchcraft.

1 Like

YES
I’m also a witch, I just forgot to add that bit :grin:
I have a friend who is in very deep dealings with the fae cus of their family, and tells us literally every day that it’s not something you want to mess with

2 Likes

Do you feel the need to say that lolol

1 Like

yes
my brother still thinks they are, it needs said :joy:

I hope for his sake he’s under the age of 10

1 Like

…he’s 13

in his defense i live in a SUPER backwards place. Almost everyone who isn’t gay themselves thinks it

3 Likes

SO HELPFUL THENKS

1 Like

Aww thankk uu

1 Like