There are different acronyms to label the target groups of people who feel same-sex attracted (SSA), who want to change gender of have changed gender (transgender), or who do not want to be forced in limiting definitions of gender and sexuality (queer). It has become common to refer to LGBTI: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (people with an intersex condition). There are many more terms and abbreviations, see for example the glossary of Stonewall (UK).
For educational purposes, GALE created the acronym DESPOGI: Disadvantaged because of their Expression of Sexual Preference Or Gendered Identity.
This definition is suited for strategies in education because:
- NO LABELLING. The mission statement purposely avoids labelling for three reasons. First and foremost, our goal is to combat stereotypes, ultimately make categories irrelevant and to avoid heterosexism by focusing only on “other”(ing) identities. Education to combat discrimination should not only focus on the emancipation of people who label themselves as a minority. It must deconstruct the limiting norms that create discredited identities and imagined minorities (compulsory heterosexuality or the norm of heterosexuality).Secondly, in our work we want to include students who are discriminated because of their non-accepted gender or romantic/sexual behavior but who identify as cisgender or heterosexual and do not consider themselves part of the LGBTI movement, and we also want to warmly include all educators in our community regardless of their sexual preference or gender identity or their expression.Third, a lot of our focus is on elementary and high school students, who may not have sex or a well-defined identity. It would limit our scope to only view their situation through an “LGBTIQ+” lens, even when we try to make the labels as inclusive as possible.
- SEXUAL PREFERENCE. We speak of sexual preference rather than of sexual orientation. We are aware that it is nowadays more politically correct or diplomatic to speak of sexual orientation in legal and international contexts. However, we are also aware that the term sexual orientation is historically based on the debate whether same-sex attraction is innate or a choice. This debate is based on the idea that same-sex attraction is wrong. The argument that same-sex attraction is innate is based on the idea that same-sex attracted people cannot change their orientation to conform to the norm of heterosexuality. We are not interested in the question if same-sex attracted people can change their feelings; it is a biased question. Referring to own choice of expression puts human rights for same-sex attracted people squarely in the middle of the human rights framework: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration of Human Rights, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. When choice of religion or political opinion is defined as free, it should also be free for sexual or gender expression and not just "because we are born that way".
- EXPRESSION. We speak of expressing sexual orientation and gendered identity, because our aim is emancipation, which does not just entail the right to "be", but also the right to express identity.
- GENDERED. We speak of gendered identity , because we want to include not only self-identified transsexual and intersex people, but also boys and girls who are excluded because they are perceived to not conform to the norm of heterosexuality, whatever gender they willingly or unwillingly express.
Sometimes we use the acronym LGBTI, because DESPOGI is not yet commonly known. We try to be correct in this and to use it only when we refer to LGBTI identified people.