There’s more than one kind of sexuality. You may find that you are attracted to people of the opposite sex. If you are, people call that being heterosexual or straight. You may find that you are attracted to people of the same sex. If you feel this way, you may be gay or lesbian. You may find that you are attracted to both sexes. If you feel this way you may be bisexual . Or you may feel that you are in the wrong body. If you are a girl, you may feel that you should have been born in a guy’s body or if you are a guy you may feel that you should have been born in a girl’s body. If you feel this way you may be transgender. Having these feelings can be scary and confusing because there is still fear and prejudice against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. This can make it difficult for you to be okay with these feelings and difficult for you to tell other people about them. But remember, it’s okay to be yourself. In fact for your own health, it’s important that that you be who you know you are. There are many youth and adults who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or two-spirited. Here are some other excellent web sites that provide information on sexual orientations.
Bisexual: Someone who is attracted to both men and women. A bisexual may prefer either a man or a woman on many levels – emotionally, intellectually and sexually – and defines himself or herself as bisexual.
Dyke: In the past, this was a derogatory term used to describe lesbians. But now the word is being reclaimed by many lesbians as a positive title.
Gay Man: A man who is attracted to other men. A gay man prefers other men on many levels – emotionally, intellectually and sexually – and defines himself as gay.
Gay Woman: A woman who is attracted to other women. A gay woman prefers other women on many levels – emotionally, intellectually and sexually – and defines herself as gay. Also uses the term lesbian.
Gender Expression: How one shows they are a man or a woman through clothes , mannerisms, voice, hair style, makeup and grooming – which may or may not match their sex at birth.
Gender Identity: A person’s inner sense of whether they are a man or woman – which may or may not be the same as their sex at birth.
Heterosexual: Someone who is attracted to members of the opposite sex. A heterosexual prefers members of the opposite sex on many levels – emotionally, intellectually and sexually – and defines him or herself as heterosexual.
Homosexual: This is an older term that has come to include both gay men and lesbians. It was originally used only for men. Today it is not used as often as the terms gay or lesbian.
Lesbian: A woman who is attracted to women. A lesbian is a woman who prefers other women on many levels – emotionally, intellectually and sexually—and defines herself as lesbian.
Queer: Formerly a derogatory term and still used in that way by some heterosexuals to describe other sexual orientations. Today the term is used by many LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender) persons to include anyone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or two-spirited – but not straight.
Straight: A term for a heterosexual person.
Transgender: Someone who is not comfortable with (or rejects) their birth gender. The term includes transsexuals, transmen (FTM), transwomen (MTF), transvestites and cross dressers.
Transsexual: Someone who has strong and lasting feelings that they are the wrong sex. Some, but not all, transsexuals have full or partial sex reassignment surgery (when a man or woman changes his/her genitalia to that of the opposite sex) and/or hormone therapy.
Two-Spirit: A term from North American Indian culture that identifies persons who have both the spirit of a man and a woman in one body. Traditionally these people were regarded as having received a special gift.