Welcome to our new series, totally dedicated to sex education! Let's dive in with some basic knowledge.
Someone who experiences little to no sexual attraction. Sexual attraction is about finding a specific person sexually appealing and wanting to have sex with them, so an asexual person might feel attraction, but not want to express it sexually. People have different experiences with being asexual, and it can mean different things to each individual. An asexual person might have a libido or sexual desire, but not attraction.
Remember that sexual attraction and desire aren’t the same as romantic attraction and desire, and some asexual people engage in romantic relationships that might even involve sex.
People who are sexually attracted to both men and women. The term bisexual can encompass any form of attraction to two or more genders. Others might interpret it as being attracted to your own gender, as well as different ones. To some, bisexuality excludes gender non-conforming and nonbinary people, or even erases transgender people altogether. Therefore, other terms like pansexual, queer, and fluid feel more inclusive.
On the other hand, plenty of bisexual people are attracted to trans and nonbinary people and feel it is an inclusive term that covers the gender spectrum, as well as many bi people identify as transgender or nonbinary themselves. If you identify as bisexual, dating someone of a different gender doesn’t make you “basically straight”, that’s biphobia rhetoric that’s commonly used and should be stopped.
Someone who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth. For example, someone who identifies as a woman and was assigned female at birth is cisgender.
A general term used to describe people who are attracted to the same gender.
Gender non-conforming/ non-binary
Gender non-conforming is an umbrella term used to cover different identities. A person whose identity does not conform to cultural limitations or definitions of gender binaries. They are people who do not conform to gender roles, don’t follow other people's perceptions or stereotypes about how they should look or act based on the gender they were assigned at birth. Someone who identifies outside of the binary might use the gender neutral pronouns they/them. How one chooses to express their gender varies in each individual.
Non-conforming means different things to different people, it could be from wearing clothes not normally associated with a specific gender, to transitioning from one gender to a different one. Someone who is genderfluid might identify with multiple genders, and feel their identity continue to change throughout their lifetime. Gender identity is a spectrum, it can be fluid. Gender roles and how society uses them enforce conformity to current norms.
This describes someone who is attracted to the opposite sex, women who are attracted to men and vice versa, and includes non-cisgender identities.
Some people might be born with a variation of biological characteristics of male and female reproductive anatomy, such as having XY chromosomes as well as a vagina, and so they cannot be categorised within the binary. There are many variations in how someone can be intersex.
Sometimes doctors perform surgeries or hormone therapy on intersex babies and children to make their bodies fit binary ideas of “male” or “female”. Doctors always assign intersex babies a sex, but they might grow up to have a different gender identity. The medical world usually sees intersex people as having ‘conditions’ that need to be ‘fixed’ despite it being a naturally occurring variation in humans.
The term given to a woman who is romantically and sexually attracted to other women.
This is the one that seems to confuse people. A pan person is attracted to any and all genders. Their sexuality is about the individual, they see the person and their attraction is not limited to the binary.
Another general term for someone who isn’t heterosexual. People who identify as bi, pan or gay might use this to describe themselves.
A person whose gender identity is different from what they were assigned at birth. It is an umbrella term that could simply describe someone who is not cisgender. This may include people who are not exclusively “masculine” or “feminine”, such as people who are non-binary or genderfluid. Intentionally misgendering shows a lack of respect and regard for a person, and can be very really hurtful to a Trans person. Apologise, correct yourself and learn from your mistakes.