Glossaries and other links

When I planned this site I saw people who already identified as trans*, genderqueer or gender variant as the primary audience. However since launching a week ago, I’ve had requests from people with very little knowledge or understanding of gender diversity asking for some sort of primer or glossary to help them understand some of the words I use.

I’m absolutely planning to write a glossary of my own and make my attempt at describing the complexity of gender at some point. Right now though I want to focus my energies on creating useful resources for those of us who are already living outside the gender binary or who are uncomfortable with their assigned gender and considering androgyny as an option to relieve that discomfort.

That doesn’t mean I can’t point you at a glossary though, in fact I can point you at several different excellent resources provided by a number of organisations and individuals.

TransWhat?If you’re a layperson with little or no understanding of these issues, I’d first like to point you toward TransWhat?, this is a site aimed at potential allies of trans* and gender questioning people, such as family members, friends, co-workers, lovers, spouses, teachers and therapists. Their Confused? Start Here page is an excellent primer on the basics of transgender experience. They also have a glossary of terms relating to the subject with well thought out definitions.

Gender Spectrum, a site aimed at the families, carers and educators of gender variant children and teens also has a great introduction to the complexities of gender, Understanding Gender, including a short glossary with slightly longer explanations than TransWhat’s.

No DesignationThe excellent blog No Designation, which focuses on the political issues of gender and sexual minority communities also provides a set of definitions for commonly used terms. These are defined in a more inclusive manner that may better express the identities of those using the terms to self-define.

GenderforkIf you’re more of a visual person you’ll likely enjoy the community blog Genderfork which provides genderqueer, unisex and androgynous photos and thoughts provided by its readers. The site aims to provide a supportive community for the expression of identities across the gender spectrum and so is a good way to see how genderqueer and non-binary gender people express themselves. If you enjoy Genderfork, you might also enjoy the Tumblr photo blogs Genderqueer and FYAndrogyny (note, the latter also includes examples of androgynous fashion and has a not-safe-for-work full title).

If you’re interested in a more historical perspective, you could read the Androgyny RAQ, the original site on ambiguous gender presentation written in the mid-1990s and sadly offline since 2005. It has however been preserved at the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, and I’ve created a faster, more reliable mirror of that archive on this server. The RAQ contains several interesting articles on subjects such as the etiquette of interacting with androgynes, a lexicon defining a number of related terms (note, terms coined since the mid-1990s are omitted) and many more. This is possibly the most influential site I ever read, a complete revelation when I was a gender dysphoric teen trying to understand myself. Despite its age, I still find useful insights from reading it today.

And finally, if you’re looking for a discussion community, there are active forums at What Is Gender and a number of active LiveJournal communities including Androgynes (disclaimer: I created this community in 2003) and Genderqueer. And if all those aren’t enough, check out the additional links in the side bar!

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