Gender & Sexuality is a complicated, deeply personal subject and it can take time to understand it. There is a much wider, more diverse spectrum of it than you might know. Because of a lack of education many teenagers have a hard time figuring out their sexual-/ gender-identity and struggle finding out who they are. Furthermore it´s pretty frustrating to hear your feminist friends talking about the cissexism and cisnormativity nowadays and not having a clue what´s going on, right? I´m going to tell you…
The whole topic can be summarised as LGBTQ+.
- L for lesbian
- G for gay
- B for badass… no just joking 🙂
- B for bisexual
- T for transgender
- Q+ for questioning or queer, acknowledging the existence of all other sexualities in the community
-Out of the closet celebrities-
But lets go a little more into detail. First of all we have to separate genders and orientations. Starting with the orientations;
Statistics variate but, sure, most humans are heterosexual which means to be attracted to the other sex, as in boys or girls.
Then as already mentioned there is homosexuality (lesbian & gay). It means to be attracted to the same sex.
Now bi- and pansexuality are very similar. Pansexuality is the sexual attraction to people of all genders/ regardless of gender or being specifically attracted to people who may not fit into the mainstream gender categories of male and female, including genderfluid, agender, transgender people and more. Pansexuals often use the statement “falling in love with a person rather than a gender”.
Bisexuality is the sexual attraction to two genders (the person in questions own gender and the other one), as in boys AND girls.
Often used in that context is polysexuality which means sexual attraction to more than two but not all genders.
- Bi- = two/both
- Pan- = all
- Poly- = many
!!! None of the above means loving more than one person at the same time !!!!
The bisexual flag
The polysexual flag
One can use the specific terms heteroflexible & homoflexible expressing the fact that a persons homosexuality and heterosexuality changes often over time. They indicate whether a persons attraction skews almost only to the one gender or the other.
Asexuality is the lack of interest in sexual relationships and behavior; someone who experiences very little or no sexual attraction to any gender at all, not meaning that an asexual person doesn´t want a romantic relationship.
!!! It has nothing to do with religion !!!
Which brings us to romantic attractions:
Panromantic, Aromantic, Homoromantic, Heteroromantic and Biromantic are self-explaining and describe the romantic attraction to all/none/the other/the same/or two genders.
In most cases the sexual attraction matches the romantic attraction but e. g. in the example of an asexual person that one could be in a relationship with a person of the same or the other sex (homo- or heteroromantic). And basically every orientation can be a mixture or combination of things!
-Katherine Zappone is Irelands current minister for Children and Youth Affairs and the first irish lesbian government minister. She is married to Ann Louise Gilligan-
As stated above there are lots of different genders:
- Transgender means someone whose gender differs from the one they were given at birth.In order to express their chosen gender transsexual people choose a medical transition, including hormones and surgery.
!!! Someone who was for example born with a female body but identifies as male (a trans man) is still called gay if he falls in love with boys!!!
- Cisgender is the opposite of being transgender and means that the biological sex assigned at birth matches your gender identity.
- Bigender: A person who fluctuates betweeen female and male gender-based behavior and identities/ identifying with both genders (genderfluid as a dynamic mix of male and female).
- Agender: A person with very little connection to the traditional system of gender, who has no personal alignment with the concepts of either man or woman. Someone who is agender sees themself as existing without gender.
Correct and appropiate pronouns are important to everyone! You can inform yourself about someones prefered pronoun since there a many different gender neutral pronouns. But a safe way to go are alway them/they pronouns. Using the right pronouns shows that you care about individuals and their rights.
If you support and respect members of the lgbtq+ community you can proudly call yourself an ally! Allies are typically non lgbt persons who stand up for rights of lgbt people, though lgbt´s can be allies too, such as a lesbian who is an ally to a transsexual person.
But for whatever reason some people still have difficulty accepting people who are different. That´s why we have to keep talking about lgbt, why we need those labels and why there are pride days. For all of us it is important to recognise that we are all different, and that the things that are right for you are are different to what´s right for someone else. We should understand that everyone has the right to make decisions about their sex and gender-identity to suit the way they feel inside. Diversity of sexuality is a natural, normal and valuable part of who we are!