Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash

From LGBTQIA2S+ To LGBTQ, From Chest Feeding to Body Feeding, It’s All About Respect

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders cut her teeth as the obstructionist, misleading, second press secretary for ex-president trump. And now she is steeped in virtue signaling as she riles up her base to fight the wokeness.
It is unlikely that the first term governor had a burst of genuine compassion when she ordered that most state agencies stop using the gender neutral term “Latinx.” More likely, Sanders’ motivation is to record one more slight to the LGBTQ community and to show her empty virtues by empty words.
The ban was among several orders Sanders signed soon after taking office. They also included reactionary restrictions on teaching critical race theory in public schools and banning TikTok on state devices. Both moves were cheered by her conservative, Republican base.
The term Latinx was created in recent years as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino and Latina, as all nouns in the Spanish language are gendered. Many in the LGBTQ Latino community have supported the word but one study showed a majority of Latinos either rejected or were unaware of the term. Sanders more likely was just trying pander to Republican Latino voters.
When Sanders uses the term “wokeness” she is criticizing those who make ethical decisions. When she equivocates she is doing nothing less than virtue signaling.
I say that people should be referred to in any way they choose, even if it does become a bit cumbersome and confusing. Take the term, “they.” It is used to refer to a gender neutral person so as to avoid the “he” or “she” label. “They,” however, is a plural so does it mean one gender neutral person or more than one?
The understanding of and sensitivity to various gender and sexual roles has made for rich additions to the English language. The terms to describe gender identities and sexual orientations are constantly changing to better represent people. In short, sexual orientation is who you go to bed with; gender orientation is who you go to bed as.
The term L.G.B.T. commonly refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender but another abbreviation gaining in usage is LGBTQIA2S+. It stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and Two-Spirit.
The many phrases having to do with gender and sex include:
Transgender is a gender identity that does not correspond with the gender assigned at birth. Cisgender is a gender identity that does correspond with the gender assigned at birth.
Intersex means you’re born with biological traits that are outside the strict male/female gender binary (such as anatomy, chromosomes, and/or hormones). Examples include Turners Syndrome, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, and Klinefelters Syndrome. Being intersex is not the same thing as being transgender.
Non-binary typically describes someone whose gender identity is not exclusively male or female.
Genderqueer typically is outside of, in-between, or fluctuating between the binary gender categories of male and female. Genderqueer relates to the spectrum of both gender identity and gender expression. Genderqueer people may move between the identities of male and female and separately may move between masculine expression and feminine expression.
Two-Spirit refers to indigenous people who express their gender or sexual identities as different from others. Not all indigenous individuals who are not cisgender or heterosexual will identify as Two-Spirited, but all Two-Spirit individuals identify as indigenous. Some nations hold space for more than two genders, such as the Díne, The Anishnaabe, and the Lakota.
Other changes to reflect differing situations include chestfeeding or bodyfeeding instead of the traditional breastfeeding.
Chestfeeding or bodyfeeding refers to feeding milk to a baby directly from the body. The term is used by people who don’t identify their anatomy with the term “breast.” Many non-binary people, trans people, women and men may prefer one term over the other. Some people use the term chestfeeding to refer to using a feeding tube attached to the nipple, also known as a supplemental nursing system.
There is a growing support to avoid the gender-charged word “women” as transgender men may have uteruses. The American Cancer Society recommends cancer screenings for “individuals with a cervix,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a section on “Care for Breastfeeding People,” the governor of New York issued guidance on partners accompanying “birthing people” during the COVID-19 pandemic, and city and some state health departments offer “people who are pregnant” advice on “chestfeeding.”
The term “birthing people” replaced the word “mothers” in the White House 2022 fiscal budget. NARAL Pro-Choice America supported the phrase.
“When we talk about birthing people, we’re being inclusive. It’s that simple. We use gender neutral language when talking about pregnancy, because it’s not just cis-gender women that can get pregnant and give birth. Reproductive freedom is for *every* body,” the statement said.
In support of the trans community, The Lancet medical journal had a cover referring to “bodies with vaginas” causing such controversy that Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, issued a long apology of sorts. He said the quote on the cover “is a compelling call to empower women, together with non-binary, trans, and intersex people who have experienced menstruation, and to address the myths and taboos that surround menstruation.”
Horton wrote that transgender health is an important dimension of modern health care, “but one that remains neglected. Trans people regularly face stigma, discrimination, exclusion, and poor health, often experiencing difficulties accessing appropriate health care.”
Asian Americans are referred to as AAPI, short for Asian American and Pacific Islander. The acronym can be expanded to AANHPI, for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander. People with these backgrounds are often lumped together in the same ethnic category, and include people from Southern and Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Western Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the Pacific Islands. Each has its own unique culture, language and history. In 1978, congress voted to commemorate the first week in May as AAPI Heritage Month. In 1992, the entire month was designated to celebrate with activities, programs and ceremonies.
The month of May marks two significant events in Asian American history. The first Japanese immigrant came to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, and the first U.S. transcontinental railroad was completed on May 10, 1869, with Chinese railway workers critical to the project.
“Homeless” and “houseless” are used as two different adjectives. Homeless is lacking a permanent place of residence while houseless is lacking or in need of a house or home.
The pro-choice movement has begun to prefer the moniker “pro decision” or “anti-abortion” to distance itself from the more vague term chosen decades ago.
BIPOC, an acronym for “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color,” uses person-first language to shift away from terms like “marginalized” and “minority” or simply “people of color.” The term “BIPOC” is used to reflect specific injustices affecting Black and indigenous people.
“Black” generally describes a person of African or Caribbean descent. “Indigenous” (as used in the United States) describes the native inhabitants of North America and is a broad term encompassing all tribes of the original residents of the continent. “People of Color” describes people who aren’t white and includes Black or African American, East Asian, Latino/a/x, South Asian, Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders.
“Returning citizen” is preferable to “ex-felon” when referring to people who have done their time and is striving to be a part of the community again. There are 650,000 “returning citizens” who are released from U.S. prisons each year. Changing the term may help reduce the stigma of people who have been in prison. Most employers prefer not to hire people with records, even if their record has no relation to the job.

Every person has a right to decide what he or she or they will be called. Those who claim “wokeness” or claim to be fighting political correctness are more often than not, simply bigots.



Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer

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