Gender identity is your internal and psychological sense of yourself as a woman, a man, both, in between or neither. Only you can determine your gender identity. Sexual orientation is a term used to describe your pattern of emotional, romantic or sexual attraction. Sexual orientation may include attraction to the same gender homosexualitya gender different than your own heterosexualityboth men and women bisexualityall genders pansexualor neither asexuality.
Sexual orientation means how you are attracted romantically and sexually to other people. There are different kinds of sexual orientation.
For example, a person may be:. Many people discover more about their sexual orientation over time. For example, some girls date boys in high school, then find later on that they are more attracted, romantically and sexually, to members of their own gender. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not the same thing.
Here are some definitions of words and phrases you may hear. Many people first become aware of their orientation during the preteen and teen years.
For example, it's common to experience one's first romantic feelings in early puberty, by having a crush on someone at school. During the teen years, "crushes" on someone of the same gender are common. Some teens may experiment sexually with someone of their own gender.
These early experiences don't necessarily mean a teen will be attracted to the same gender as an adult. For some teens, attractions to someone of the same gender do not fade.
They grow stronger. Whatever your orientation or gender identity, it's important to realize that there are lots of people like you. Many of them may have the same emotions and questions that you have. It can be comforting and helpful to talk to people who know what you're going through.
You can find these people through local or online groups. If you don't know where to find support, check with:.
Stress is a fact of life. Most of us have periods of stress at various times in our lives. But extra stress can have a serious effect on your health, especially if it lasts for a long time. If you are not heterosexual, you may be under a lot of extra stress because of discrimination in the community.
Constant stress can be linked to headaches, an upset stomach, back pain, and trouble sleeping. It can weaken your immune system, so that you have a harder time fighting off disease. If you already have a health problem, stress may make it worse. It can make you moody, tense, or depressed. Depression can lead to suicide. Teens with depression are at particularly high risk for suicide and suicide attempts. People who are under long-term stress are also more likely to smoke tobacco, drink alcohol heavily, and use other drugs.
These habits can lead to serious health problems. It's important to recognize the effects that stress can have on your life, to learn how to cope with stress, and to know when to get help.
For more information, see the topic Stress Management. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Learn How this information was developed. To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise. All rights reserved. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
British Columbia Specific Information Gender identity is your internal and psychological sense of yourself as a woman, a man, both, in between or neither. Top of the. Topic Overview Sexual orientation means how you are attracted romantically and sexually to other people. For example, a person may be: Heterosexual straight - describes a person who is attracted only or almost only to the "other" gender.
Homosexual gay, lesbian, queer - describes a person attracted only or almost only to those of the same gender. Bisexual - describes a person attracted to both men and women, though not necessarily equally or at the same time. Pansexual or omnisexual - describes a person attracted to those of any gender. Asexual - describes someone not sexually attracted to any gender. This is different from deciding not to have sex with anyone abstinence or celibacy.
Understanding sexual orientation and gender identity Sexual orientation and gender identity are not the same thing. Ally : A heterosexual person who supports and celebrates all identities, challenges discriminatory remarks and actions of others, and willingly explores these biases within themselves. Bi : Shortened term for "bisexual". Cisgender: A person whose gender identity matches the sex they were ased at birth for example, woman and female.
May be shortened to "cis". Gay: A man or woman either cisgender or transgender who is attracted only or almost only to those of the same gender. Often used to refer to men only. Gender identity: Your inner sense of being male, female, both, neither, or some other gender. Your gender identity may not align with the sex that you were ased at birth. Lesbian: A woman either cisgender or transgender who is primarily attracted to women. Some LGBT people are offended by this word, but others have reclaimed it.
Straight: Another term for "heterosexual. Sometimes shortened to "trans" as in trans man, trans woman. Two-Spirit : A term used by an Indigenous person to describe their spiritual, gender and sexual identity. For more information, see the topics: Gender Identity and Transgender Issues. How do people find out their sexual orientation?
Remember: You are not alone Whatever your orientation or gender identity, it's important to realize that there are lots of people like you. If you don't know where to find support, check with: Your health care provider.
Your school counsellor or trusted teacher. A therapist or other counsellor. Websites and online organizations. Why is it important to understand stress and know how to cope with it? Biggs WS Medical human sexuality. Philadelphia: Saunders. Eliason MJ, et al.
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Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. Sexuality: Its development and direction. In WB Carey et al. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
Sadock VA Normal human sexuality and sexual and gender identity disorders. In BJ Sadock et al. Zucker KJ Gender identity and sexual behavior. In CD Rudolph et al.
New York: McGraw-Hill. Top of the Next Section: Related Information.
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