In addition to the definition, I will often add clarifying information and links to further discussion (sometimes citing passages from my books Whipping Girl, Excluded, and Outspoken).Most other links will take you to the glossary entry for that particular word or phrase.I subsequently discussed this phenomenon further here, here, and in the introductory essay above. : a person who is not a member of a particular minority or marginalized group, but who works to challenge the discrimination that group faces.While allies are necessary and generally viewed in a positive light, activists may sometimes express ambivalent or suspicious feelings toward them for reasons I touch on in Outspoken, pp. : a neologism I created for people who at certain points in their lives have been happy in monogamous relationships, and at other times have been happy in ethically non-monogamous/polyamorous relationships (see Outspoken, pp. My intention was to show that these relationship statuses do not comprise a strict binary, nor a hierarchy where one is inherently more moral, healthy, or evolved than the other.And we will be best served if we challenge the negative connotations and false assumptions associated with those misuses and abuses, rather than trying to eliminate the words themselves.The following trans-, gender-, sexuality-, and activism-related terms regularly appear in my writings.Yet, word elimination strategies insist that any negative usage (whether present or past, commonplace or occasional, real or perceived) automatically trumps all potentially neutral, positive, or productive uses of the term.
But I also worry about the (typically under-discussed) negative ramifications of these constant shifts in language.
And nearly every single word that refers to some aspect of transgender identities, bodies, or life experiences exists in a perpetual state of debate or dispute, with individual trans people espousing differing word preferences and alternative definitions.
In Chapter 45, I describe this lightning-speed language evolution as the Activist Language Merry-Go-Round: In response to the societal stigma that permeates everything associated with trans people (including the words used to describe us), we are constantly inventing new untainted terms and/or reclaiming, redefining, or eliminating older ones.
Here is an analogy to help illustrate this dilemma: I have been a guitarist for about thirty years, and during that time, guitar-related language has barely changed at all.
And the reason why it hasn’t changed is that guitarists are not marginalized in our culture - thus everything associated with guitar playing (including terminology) is generally free of negative connotations.
What happens to trans folks who have long used a particular term as part of their activism when other trans activists deem that word to be anachronistic or problematic for some reason?