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Gay & Lesbian Bisexual Asexual Transgender Intersex Two Spirit & Nadleeh GenderQueer Pansexual Ally

Social identity, refers those aspects of ourselves that are shaped by our group memberships (Ferber, Jimenez et al. 2009). Gender identity relates to our internal sense of masculinity, femininity, or a combination or absence thereof, while sexual orientation relates to our physical, emotional, and/or romantic attractions, or lack thereof, to others in relationship to how they express and identify their gender identity. Confused? Read on.

Sex is not the same as gender, though the words are often used interchangeably. Sex is generally considered biological, while gender is generally considered cultural, though our understanding continues to evolve (Stryker 2008).

The identities we define below are a combination of gender identities and sexual orientations. The list is not complete and will continue to evolve so long as people continue to define and re-define their relationships and themselves.

Click on any identity below or any of the Qs above to learn about different identities.

Two identities are not found here: heterosexual and cisgender. Why? Because we all are trained to understand them as normal. Heterosexuality is privileged as normal, receiving societal support in myriad ways, from marriage to proms to greeting cards. In short, it is invisible unless you are not a person who identifies as a heterosexual, or straight person. Likewise, cisgender people are those for whom the sex assigned at birth fits well with their gender identity. Being cisgender means being represented in every area of a society that mirrors your gender identity in cultural representations, rituals, rites of passage, laws, etc.

Source: Ferber, A., et al. (2009). The Matrix Reader: Examining the dynamics of oppression and privilege. New York, NY, McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Stryker, S. (2008). Transgender History. Berkeley, CA, Seal Press.