A person's gender and sexual orientation are important pieces of how they identify themselves.
What is sexual orientation?
Sexual orientation classifies a person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender they are attracted to. Gender identity is the personal conceptualization of self as male, female, both, or neither.
How can I be an ally?
It’s important to treat people with differing sexual orientation with dignity and respect. When someone entrusts you with their identity, understand that they may only be comfortable with certain people knowing: try avoiding telling others. Make attempts to remove homophobic vocabulary (for example, stop calling things “gay” when you don’t like them). Additionally, try to not let stereotypes rule your perceptions of queer people (not all gay men are feminine, bisexual people are not “confused,” etc).
Sexual and Gender Identifications can include:
- A female identified person attracted to another female identified person
- A male identified person attracted to another male identified person
- A person whose internal gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth
- An umbrella term for people who identify outside of the heterosexual, cisgender binary system
- A person who is not sexually attracted to anyone or has no sexual orientation
- A person whose physical sex characteristics are not categorized as exclusively male or female
You can become conscious of your gender identity as young as 18 months old.