Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity

There are many terms to describe how someone feels about their gender and their sexuality. These topics may be uncomfortable to talk about, but it is important to acknowledge that we are all different and there is no way to understand how someone feels without directly talking about it.

  • Sex assigned at birth: This describes the anatomy (body parts) that someone was born with. Most people are either male (having a penis) or female (having a vulva, vagina, and uterus), but people can also be born with either both or neither. Sex assigned at birth is decided by the doctor who does the baby’s first exam right when they are born.
  • Gender identity: This is what gender someone feels that they are (in their mind). Common examples are girl/woman and boy/man, but there are other genders, including some that do not have specific names.
  • Gender expression/presentation: This describes someone’s physical appearance (clothing, hair, makeup, voice, body shape). This is generally decided by society’s norms. For example, wearing a kilt in Scotland is associated with masculine gender expression, but wearing a skirt in the United States is associated with feminine gender expression.
  • Sexual orientation: This describes what kind of people someone is physically attracted to. It is also possible to not be sexually attracted to anyone.
  • Emotional attraction: This describes what kind of people someone is emotionally/romantically attracted to. It is also possible to not be emotionally/romantically attracted to anyone.