Wikipedia:WikiProject LGBT studies/Guidelines

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A person's gender and sexuality is intimate to who they are and how that impacts their personal and professional life will vary. Extreme care should be taken to avoid undue weight focusing on these aspects in relation to the overall article. A statement "Smith is openly gay" may be all that is needed in many cases unless it can be tied to how it impacted their career or life. Sometimes that a person has come out is noteworthy itself but should be reported in the article dispassionately and NPOV - In May 2009 national media reported Smith is transgender. For our readers it is helpful to add the context or any statement from the subject.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a newspaper: We follow, not lead. Implicit in the policy on biographies of living people (BLP) is the understanding that Wikipedia articles should respect the basic human dignity of their subjects. Wikipedia aims to be a reputable encyclopedia, not a tabloid; our articles must not serve primarily to mock or disparage their subjects, whether directly or indirectly. Wikipedia's articles are mirrored and distributed globally, what we write here can negatively impact people's lives; even the families and friends of someone discussed in articles. This is of particular importance when dealing with individuals whose notability stems largely from their being victims of another's actions; Wikipedia editors must not act, intentionally or otherwise, in a way that amounts to participating in or prolonging the victimization. The correct balance must always be sought, and the highest ethical standards are an important part of Wikipedia's goals to produce and distribute content freely.

  1. Sexuality and sexual identity are not interchangeable. However the two often intersect and defining the effects of each can be difficult if not impossible.
  2. The Wikipedia Manual of Style's guidelines on identity indicate to refer to transgender individuals according to the names and pronouns they use to identify themselves.
  3. Identification and categorization of people is bound by Wikipedia's policy on Biographies of Living Persons (BLPs). To add content on a person's religion, sexuality and gender variance you need reliable sourcing. After taking that into account:
a. A living person may be categorized and identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) only if they themselves publicly identify as such, e.g., Billie Joe Armstrong.
b. A deceased person may be categorized and identified as LGBTI if they had documented, notable relationships with their same sex or with both sexes, such as Marlon Brando.

For transgender and intersex people it is usually unneeded to put information on their gender, including an apparently male or female birth name, in the lead of the article, especially on a BLP. Often this should be woven into an "Early life" section - "Smith was born male but never felt this reflected who she was and she transitioned as soon as she was independent of her family." Ideally statements from the subject will help clarify how they saw themselves at the time so we can let them speak for themselves.

MOS guidelines help guide editing but do not trump our policies on BLP's and consensus.

  • In cases where the prior name of a gender variant person is only known as the result of an outing, the prior likely should be left out of the article unless widely reported in reliable sources.
  • In cases where a gender variant person was not notable under their prior name, but has subsequently confirmed a different gender identity, the prior name should be limited to the main article. There is likely no need to bring attention to this by adding to the lede or an infobox. (See Do No Harm.)
  • In cases where a gender variant person is notable under a prior name, listing in the lede and infobox should be agreed upon by consensus to do so.

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