WHEN I wrote about Ian/Angie King last week, I just regurgitated the only media interview she had with Tim Yap of Philippine Star. What I didn’t realize was that some of my friends who also read my column have so many questions about Sogie and LGBT.

A new acquaintance, Cha, was more enthusiastic than the rest and asked a lot of questions that I think would be better answered by Ian/Angie and Joey or LGBTs themselves. So I decided that probably I’d give this week’s space to well, the gender alphabet soup which I got from the experts like my former UP professors Dr. Sylvia ‘Guy’ Claudio, Carol Sobritchea and former AdDU colleagues and gender advocates and admirable mentors--- Bing Sobrevega-Chan, Rose Sanchez, Marli Lacuesta, Luz Ilagan and yes, the late Napoleon Amoyen whose laughter loudly ring in my ears as I type his name.

“L” is for lesbian. A lesbian is a woman who is attracted to women. Sometimes also or alternately “same-gender-loving woman” or “woman loving woman.” A lesbian can identify herself as a ‘butch’ or a ‘femme’. A ‘butch’ may dress like a man while the ‘femme’ likes the stuff that girls like---ribbons, lipstick, high heels and all. In the vernacular lesbians are called ‘lesbyana’ or ‘tomboy’.

“G” is for gay. Generally, ‘gay’ refers to a man who is attracted to men. Sometimes ‘gay’ refers to all people who are attracted to people of the same sex; sometimes “homosexual” is used for this also. The Filipino language has more terms for the ‘gay’ than for ‘lesbian’. These are: bakla, bading, agi, bayut, oyot.

“B” is for bisexual and they are attracted to people of one’s own gender and people of other gender(s). Some think that bisexual people are attracted to everyone and anyone, or that they just haven’t “decided.” Often referred to as “bi.” There is no Pinoy term for bisexual.

“T” is for ‘transgender’ (or transsexual). This definition continues to evolve but it was first coined “to distinguish gender benders with no desire for surgery or hormones from transsexuals, those who desired to legally and medically change their sex”. More recently transgender and/or trans has become an umbrella term popularly used to refer to all people who transgress dominant conceptions of gender, or at least all who identify themselves as doing so.

The term “transsexual” has historically been used to refer to individuals who have medically and legally changed their sex, or who wish to do so. Most transsexual people feel a conflict between their gender identity and the sex they were assigned at birth. Other labels used within this group are MtF (male-to-female) or trans woman, and FtM (female-to-male) or trans man.

Like bisexual, the Filipino language has no translation for transgender or transsexual.

“LG” and “B,” refer to sexual orientation (who am I attracted to?), while “T” refers to gender identity (how do I see myself, in relation to my biological body?).

For some it’s not just LGBT but LGBTQIA where “Q” is for queer, and “I” is for intersex and “A,” for asexual.

The word “queer” was traditionally a derogatory term. However, it is said that it “has been reclaimed and appropriated by some LGBTQ individuals as a term of self-identification. It is an umbrella term which embraces a matrix of sexual preferences, gender expressions, and habits that are not of the heterosexual, heteronormative, or gender-binary majority.” However, “queer” is not a universally accepted term by all members of the LGBT community, and it is often considered offensive when used by heterosexuals.

“Intersex” is general term used “for a variety of genetic, hormonal, or anatomical conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.” A close term would be ‘hermaphrodite’ but this is an obsolete term that is not currently considered appropriate.

An “asexual” is not sexually attracted to anyone and/or no desire to act on attraction to anyone but does not necessarily mean sexless. Asexual people sometimes do experience affectional (romantic) attraction.

I presume the alphabet would not end here. Humankind is still discovering its sexuality. For one, the language is still limited to binary categories of pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’. What’s lamentable is when the grey areas (not a he or a she)is delegated to folders marked as ‘abnormal’ or ‘sinful’ and further dragged to trash bins. Bigots like Pacquiao have them labeled as ‘worse-than-animals’.

Ian/Angie King once expressed on Instagram his ‘fear’ about which restroom to enter when public restrooms are just labeled ‘male’ or ‘female’. Yes, such fear can haunt even a 6-footer who owns around 20 luxury cars each of which cost more than P3 million. At some point, we have to learn to ditch the labels and just focus on being H--- human and humane.