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Sexuality and gender identity

What is sexuality?

Everybody has a sexuality – this describes a person’s sexual experiences and expression. Sexuality includes a person’s sexual orientation, sexual practice and behaviour. It also involves cultural and social expectations and behaviours.

What is gender identity?

Gender identity is a person’s internal perception of their own gender. It could be the same as the gender that they were assigned at birth (known as cisgender) or different (generally known as transgender).

There are many different sexualities and gender identities that people identify with. These include:

  • heterosexual/straight – sexually and emotionally attracted to someone of the opposite sex
  • lesbian/gay woman – a woman who is sexually and emotionally attracted to other women
  • gay men – a man who is sexullly and emotionally attracted to other men
  • bisexual – someone who is sexually and emotionally attracted to people of more than one gender
  • trans – a general term used by and about people who are transgender or transsexual, transvestites or cross-dressers, and anyone who experiences or expresses a ‘gender variant’.

Some people may not identify with any of the above terms, but may be questioning their sexuality or gender identity.

There are many other terms related to sexuality and gender identity. Our glossary of terms explains some of these.

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