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LGBTQ+ Health Care Buzzwords

Common terms and their meanings used in public discussions of LGBTQ+ health care. Some of the terms are frequently used as part of the anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscience network’s narrative manipulation strategy.

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What Anti-LGBTQ+ Pseudoscientists & Activists Say

Gender Ideology or Transgender Ideology (noun)

A derogatory term that anti-LGBTQ+ groups use to imply that LGBTQ+ identity is not real but is instead a belief system that is imposed on others. Like the term “gay agenda,” the term is used as a talking point to demonize LGBTQ+ people. Anti-LGBTQ+ groups often employ the term to claim any kind of positive affirmation of trans young people is a nefarious method of creating or recruiting new trans kids.

Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) (n)

A pseudoscientific phrase made popular by Dr. Lisa Littman and others that is used to legitimize the claims of anti-LGBTQ+ activists and parents who rejected their trans kids that transgender identity often occurs ‘out of the blue’ and typically accompanies social media use. It is not a psychological or psychiatric diagnosis.

Social Contagion (adverb)

A term generally used to describe the spread of a disease. Used in conjunction with the pseudoscientific ROGD diagnosis to claim that transgender identity spreads like a virus among children, especially in social settings with positive LGBTQ+ representations. The use of the term related to transgender identity is thought to have originated with American therapist Lisa Marchiano.

Gender Confused (adv)

A term used by anti-LGBTQ+ activists to describe transgender and gender non-conforming identities, especially among children. The condescending term is often used to support the social contagion and ROGD myths.

“Transing” (verb)

To turn someone transgender. A term used by anti-LGBTQ+ activists to suggest that transgender identity is not real. It also often appears alongside conspiratorial claims that transgender people (especially young people) are created or recruited by a shadowy medical industry for the purpose of profit.

Gender Exploratory Therapy (n)

A term used by anti-LGBTQ+ activists to describe practices that many medical professionals characterize as conversion therapy for transgender people.

Gender Industry (n)

Popularized in 2020 by The Transgender Industrial Complex, this term refers to a conspiracy that falsely accuses health care providers and pharmaceutical companies of “transing” children for profit. Sometimes other public institutions like schools and foster care agencies are included in the conspiracy.

Conservative Christian Terms in the Pseudoscience Movement

Reparative Therapy, aka Conversion Therapy (n)

A term to describe various discredited and dangerous techniques that attempt to change a person’s innate characteristics, including sexual orientation or gender identity, in order to conform with conservative religious views about sex, sexuality, and binary gender identity. Proponents often refer to these practices as “reparative therapy” to imply that LGBTQ+ identity is a mental illness that can be repaired. Religious proponents often us the term to reinforce the notion that LGBTQ+ identity is the result of individual moral failures that must be overcome to live a fulfilling life.

Natural Family (n)

A term used by conservative religious activists to describe their interpretation of “God’s” idealized version of the hetero- and cis-normative family. Under this model, the family consists of a cis-male paternal “head” and cis-female mother as primary caregiver. Children are assumed to be biologically related to both parents. Gender and sexual binaries with gendered divisions of labor within the family are assumed. The concept is also integral to white supremacist ideology, which holds that the hetero- and cis-normative white natural family is the key to the survival of the white race.

Gender Complementarity (n)

A term used to describe the religious assumption that gendered divisions of labor in modern society reflect the Christian God’s design for two genders with “complementary” functions.

Biblical Binary (n)

A term used to describe the conservative Christian assumption that gender and sex are binary (either male or female) by God’s design and that scientific studies or the existence of people who contradict this notion are incorrect or sinful.

Gay Lifestyle (n)

A term used by the Christian right to dehumanize LGBTQ+ people by reducing their identities to a “lifestyle choice.” Because the phrase implies LGBTQ+ people choose to be LGBTQ+ and can choose to stop being LGBTQ+, it is often associated with conversion therapy.

Religious Liberty and Religious Freedom (n)

Dog whistles within the religious right for anti-LGBTQ+ activity. The terms use egalitarian rhetoric to disguise advocacy for interpreting U.S. laws to privilege conservative Christian theology over the rights of others. The overarching goal is to create a license to exempt conservative Christians from broadly applicable laws (like nondiscrimination protections) they do not want to follow.

Terms Derrived from Trans Exclusionary Feminism

Female Woman (adjective)

A derogatory term that conflates gender and sex and erases intersex identities. Generally used in anti-trans feminism to suggest trans women are not women.

Male Man (adj)

A derogatory term that conflates gender and sex, generally used in anti-trans feminism to suggest trans men are not men.

Transtrender (adj)

A derogatory term used to suggest transgender people identify as such because they are participating in a social trend or derive some benefit from identifying with a marginalized group.

Additional Terms to Know

Affirming Care Model (n)

A term to describe the dominant health care model for LGBTQ+ people supported by every major medical association in the United States. The opposite of conversion therapy. Encompasses psychological, social, and medical affirmations of LGBTQ+ identity.

Social transition

Social processes that affirm transgender identity. Include changing one’s pronouns, name on government-issued documents, or gender expression. One focus on anti-LGBTQ+ activism is to deny public acceptance for social transition by banning diversity trainings, use of pronouns, and LGBTQ+ books in schools.

Medical transition

Medical processes that affirm transgender identity. Include supportive counseling and therapy, treatments like hormone therapies, and surgical procedures. One focus of anti-LGBTQ+ activism is to outlaw medical transition altogether by overturning bans on conversion therapy and instituting bans on hormone treatments and surgical procedures and legally punishing doctors who provide affirming health care.

Precocious Puberty

The early development of secondary sex characteristics generally before the age of eight years old. Precocious puberty can develop among any child, regardless of gender identity, and often occurs among children of color. Puberty blockers are a recommended medical treatment for the condition.

Puberty Blocker

Also called hormone blockers, puberty blockers are a type of medication that delays the unwanted physical changes associated with puberty. Puberty blockers can be prescribed to trans young people who meet certain physical and mental health criteria and are associated with an improvement in psychological health among the group. Despite being untrue, anti-LGBTQ pseudoscientists generally spread claims that the effects of puberty blockers are permanent, that they cause life-threatening complications, and are a gateway to surgical interventions.

Cross-Sex Hormone Therapy

Medical treatments that are used to produce physical changes in the body associated with one’s gender identity (e.g. growing facial hair). CHT can help alleviate psychological stress generally caused by fear of stigmatization.

Read more: Combating Anti-LGBTQ+ Pseudoscience Through Accessible Informative Narratives