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Things to remember while inquiring about a queer person's identity!

Unlike heterosexuals, analyzing the identity of a queer person could remain a peculiar task altogether, especially for the people who discern nothing about the queer community. In this modern scenario, people are coming forward and keeping efforts to know about every distinct aspect related to queer people and their identities. But some people easily judge others and conclude their assumptions by looking at others' appearances, which is a flawed approach and it may offend any queer person out there if you go extremely wrong in terms of identities.

This isn't for only heterosexuals, many queer people have no idea about other queer people, especially the non-binary people. Queer is an umbrella term for every person other than heterosexuals. Some queer people follow the gender binary and some won't. Hence, you need to keep a few things in mind while asking about any queer person's identity if you don't know and if you face trouble in getting them.

  • Remaining as a blank page and filling your brain with the inputs given by a queer person is a straightforward approach and all you need to do is to open your mouth and ask without hesitating or building up assumptions. No queer person denies explaining their identity to someone who directly approaches them in terms of understanding and getting along with them. Without complicating your question, ask them directly to make you know about their identities.

  • Don't carry a presumptuous mindset and barge into any queer person's life by spilling the identity you assumed regarding a particular person. That may make queer people feel a bit awkward. How do you feel if someone entitles you with the wrong identity even though you befit typical gender norms? You surely feel weird right! Apply the same rule to queer people too!

  • Pronouns are a bit complicated in the queer community, yes! But they aren't as difficult as rocket science to understand. Grammatically, you may feel hard to gather sentences or mention a queer person literally but after the inclusion of they/them as the pronouns for non-binary people, things became easier if you know how to substitute those pronouns in the place of he/him or she/her. Get along with the emotion, not the linguistic exception.

  • Regarding pronouns, some queer people prefer carrying different pronouns in different places. For instance, a bisexual male can be a drag queen. If being bisexual is his orientation then being a drag queen could be her profession. So, that particular queer person feels comfortable if you refer with pronouns he/him personally and she/her professionally. So while inquiring, please ask queer people regarding their preference of pronouns at the workplace and out of the workplace.

  • It seems complex initially, but if you put a minimum effort into perceiving a queer person, it all becomes easier and knowledgable enough. To be a true queer ally to support queer community, you have to keep some efforts to understand, relate and perceive. Humans are complex but their equations are simple. Don't inquire with a preset mind where you feel difficulty before asking.

  • Some queer people are in a transition phase, some are confused, some get along with their fluidity and some are dysphoric. It's not that facile for any queer person to gain clarity regarding one's identity. So, if you inquire about such queer people, you may not get a clear answer and sometimes you may find two different answers in two different phases of that queer person in two different situations you encounter. For instance, if you meet a transman before his surgical transformation, that person appears, sound and present himself as a female with feminine pronouns but after the transformation, if you confront the same person, you surely experience a different vibe with different pronouns and presence. So, keep your mind open to considering changes of identities.

  • Similarly with gender-fluid people. They don't believe in getting stuck up with one set of pronouns. Today they feel like carrying masculinity and want people to refer to them with typical masculine pronouns and tomorrow they do the opposite. They are fluid enough to consider gender binary or eradicate them. Most non-binary people don't like to be tagged as typical male or female. Some carry both and some remain gender-neutral.

  • While inquiring about a queer person regarding one's gender identity, take the sexual orientation completely out of the picture because they are two unique concepts that can't be merged. Just because a person is homosexual, it doesn't mean that person must consider the gender binary and similarly an asexual person can fall under one of the gender binary identities. So, never commit the mistake of assuming a queer person's identity according to one's sexual orientation.

Well, here are the basic measures you should consider while talking to a queer person to understand one's identity without making an offensive remark or making that person feel bad about one's queer presence and existence!

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