G&STC Glossary of Terms for Therapists | Part Three

Welcome to the third installment of the G&STC Glossary of Terms for Therapists! This glossary can function as a first step for those looking to educate themselves & their practice in order to make the practice to be a safe & inclusive space for queer and trans clients. Along with our six tips for therapists to be more queer and trans-inclusive, we’ve put together this five-part glossary series for therapists & care providers. You can find parts one & two here!

**In addition to educating yourself on the actual words, it’s important to reflect on your familiarity with, relationship to and underlying judgments and assumptions of the people and communities that embody these identities, expressions, and experiences. It’s okay to have judgments - we all do. What matters is that we are aware of, question the validity of, work to unlearn and not perpetuate those judgments at our clients’ expense.

Genderqueer: Describes a person who does not identify within the gender binary. People who identify as genderqueer may identify as a combination of genders, or as neither male nor female. Identifying as genderqueer can be fluid or stagnant, and does not have one firm parameters–meaning it can look different depending on the person! Want to know more about what it means to identify as genderqueer? Here are 7 things genderqueer people want you to know.  

Gender Policing: The forced performance of normative gender expressions. Often targeting trans & genderqueer folks who are not seen as adequately performing as the gender they were assigned at birth. Need some real-life examples? Here’s a Huffington Post article to help you out.

Gender Identity: How individuals see themselves (man, woman, genderqueer, agender, etc.)–one’s own personal sense of identity, not necessarily the same as the gender assigned at birth.  

Heteronormativity: The belief & cultural implication that heterosexuality is the norm or the default state, marginalizing or othering identities that do not fall into the “norm.”

Heterosexism: The belief & cultural implication that heterosexuality is not only the default but the superior state of human beings. Results in discrimination or marginalization of queer identities.

Homophobia: Describes discrimination against or hatred of people who identify as gay/lesbian. Often used as an umbrella term for discrimination/hatred against the queer community as a whole. What’s the difference between homophobia & heterosexism?

Intersectionality: Describes the framework which looks at how varying identities (race, gender, class, sexuality, able-bodiedness, etc.) are connected and interlocked, further marginalized together by oppressive power structures. Here is a more comprehensive explanation of intersectionality & how it works.

Internalized Homophobia: Describes when queer folks turn society's negative views of the queer community inward. SImply put it is the self-hatred that manifests for a person living as a marginalized identity.

This is the third in a five-part glossary series. You can find parts one & two here. Check back in each week for the next installment!

Blog authors all hold positions at the Gender & Sexuality Therapy Center (G&STC). For more information about our therapists and services please contact us.