At some point I gave up trying to deal with everyone’s exact match between gender, sex, and sexuality. So I rarely use “gay” or “lesbian” anymore, instead I’ve moved to “attracted to men” and “attracted to women”. A bit clunky, but it avoids misunderstanding just fine.
Naturally, once you start introducing fluid/non-binary sexuality and pseudo-fetishes like only being attracted to transpeople and other stuff like otherkin it gets into a whole other ballpark. I don’t interact with enough people who prefer pronouns like zir and hir or unique sexual tastes for it to really matter, so I haven’t really determined how to deal with that minefield yet. I generally prefer a reduction in terms to a surge of slightly distinct labels. (Of course, language doesn’t care what I prefer).
I’m probably a bit genderqueer*, and I know that personally I don’t go with the litany of terms and I never will. When it comes down to it, there’s always going to be something you are that lacks a label, and while it sucks to not have a group or an easy word to tell your family what you are, inventing a new exciting term for some incredibly specific personal identity doesn’t really help. If anything, it just makes people eyeroll and brings in the special snowflake accusations. (And, to be perfectly fair, there definitely are some people that overblow perfectly innocuous feelings into conditions they made up in their head to get cookies, so it’s not always even wrong).
None of that means I’ll rail on anyone. If you want to be a guydyke, sure. But there is an upper threshold of tolerance I have for these terms and I definitely don’t edge on the side of these terms being Important™ for much more than social justice sociology straw polls. If anything, for formal data collection (e.g. for government forms) I’d argue to just move to more of a scale. “From 0.0 to 1.0 mark how female/male you are with totally female being 0.0 and totally male being 1.0” and stuff like that, rather than introducing a bunch of slightly distinct highly personalized terms. It’s a bit clunky for everyday conversation, but I’d want to move towards using more modifiers like “I’m a bit male” over introducing a bunch of new words. But again, it’s not up to me.
- It sounds non-committal, but I’ve been struggling with gender bullshit for a few years, and I’m still not sure even with therapy. It causes legitimate dysphoria and body image and personal issues, despite the non-committal phrasing.