BY: NADIA ZAIDI
Recently, a close friend of mine told me that she was trisexual. I paused for a minute, and hoping not to offend her by my silence (which was actually a thought-pause), I blurted: what’s trisexual? The rational part of me was able to deduce that ‘bi’ means both, and therefore ‘tri’ must mean three? Duh, Nadia!
But in the complex and beautiful world of sexuality, trisexual can mean many things. In fact, it can almost mean anything. To my friend, it means that she is attracted to both men and women, and to people who may identify as another gender. It also means that she is more “sexually liberated,” as she describes. What she really means is that her sexual experiences are limitless and she is willing to try anything in that department.
Every now and again, I like to be dumbfounded by something I have no idea about. You know why? It broadens my horizons, and forces me to pop my know-it-all bubble. I think we’re so quick to label our own sexuality that we’re ignorant to the nuanced identities that many people part of the LGBTQ communities have etched. The strides made by this community are profound, admirable, and set an example for a world that barely sees beyond black and white.
This conversation got me to explore the world of sexual identity, because clearly I have a lot to learn – and guess what? It doesn’t make me ignorant, it makes me responsible. If you don’t know what something is, research it. I thought I would come up with my interpretation of a glossary of sexuality, so the next time someone tells you they are trisexual or otherwise, you won’t look like a deer-in-the-headlights.
Agender: This person does not identify as either male or female. They identify as genderless.
Asexual: A person who does not experience any sexual feelings or sexual desires. This person is not identifying as asexual as a means of describing their gender identity. This person simply does not experience any sense of sexual pleasure, or desire.
Aromantic: No, this isn’t a word used to describe the boyfriend who doesn’t do anything special for his girlfriend. Contrary to popular belief, an aromantic person is actually someone who does not experience romantic feelings toward anyone.
Androgynous: This person has both a male and female identification. Gender ambiguity is something that is quite riveted in the fashion industry, and it also reflects many individuals who don’t want a gendered identity.
Bisexual: Someone who is attracted to both males and females. And someone who can have sexual relations with both.
Demigirl: Someone who only partially identifies as a girl, woman, or female.
Demiguy: This person only partially identifies as a guy, man, or male. They feel a sense of disconnect between their gender and their identity.
Demisexual: A person with limited, or no sexual desire. The attraction only ignites when they feel a deep connection and attachment to someone.
Gay: Everyone might think that they know what this means. It’s negative connotation and the word used as slang to ignite shame, hatred and target select groups has caused the word to be used in limited settings by the appropriate people. Currently, it means a homosexual person – someone who is attracted to their own gender.
Genderfluid: Someone whose gender varies. This person might identify as female one day and male the other.
Graysexual: Someone who has limited sexual desires and who is in the “gray” area of sexuality.
Pan romantic: Feeling romantically interested in anybody, irrespective of gender or sexual orientation. This is not necessarily in a sexual way.
Pansexual: Sexual desire toward anyone of any gender, or gender identity.
Queer: This is best left to the explanation and interpretation of those who identify as part of the LGBTQ group. It has longstanding negative connotations by hate groups, and should be reserved for those who choose their individualized interpretation of this label.
Transgendered: People whose identity differs from the sex they were born.
* Please keep in mind that my interpretations are limited to my understanding. I respect anyone who chooses to follow their own path and identity. Additionally, this glossary does not incorporate ALL variations of sexual identity.