Gender, sex and sexuality are all pretty complicated ideas – and definitely not as black and white as some people might think.
The most important thing to realise is that you’re not defined by your sexuality or gender.
You are you, and that’s awesome!
Take a close look at the Gender Unicorn
How much do you feel like a man, a woman, or something else? This is your gender identity. This is a spectrum, because you could feel a little like a man, a lot like a woman, and maybe also a bit like something else. Or you could feel like none of these. Your gender expression is what’s visible about your gender to other people.
How much do other people read you as masculine, feminine, a bit of both, something else, or perhaps nothing at all? This could depend on how you dress, walk, talk or act, or on your body shape. Some of your gender expressions – like your haircut, clothing or makeup – could change from day to day.
When you were born, the doctor or midwife assigned you a sex based on your body’s physical characteristics. This is a fixed category that may be different from how your gender self-identity develops as you grow. Most people are assigned ‘male’ or ‘female’ when they’re born, based on their external genitalia. Some people might be classified as ‘intersex’ (or something else) when their sex characteristics, chromosomes or hormones are a bit ambiguous and don’t fit neatly into what we designate as ‘male’ or ‘female’.
Physical attraction refers to the characteristics of a person that might make you physically or sexually attracted to them. Physical attraction can come from a variety of factors, including someone’s gender identity, gender expression, or the sex they were assigned at birth.
Emotional attraction relates to the characteristics of a person that might make you emotionally or romantically attracted to them. This can also come from a variety of factors, including gender identity, gender expression, or the sex they were assigned at birth.
Both physical and emotional attraction can also come from a lot of other places, like someone’s personality or even the things you have in common.
Some people might be attracted to the same gender as them (gay people and lesbians), and others might be attracted to people of the opposite gender to themselves (straight people).
While the sex you were assigned at birth is a fixed category, your gender identity and gender expression could be a much more fluid combination of masculine/feminine and other genders. Transgender people have a gender identity that is different from the sex they were assigned at birth.
Hopefully, the Gender Unicorn helps to make things a little less confusing. Just remember: no matter what your gender identity is, or who you’re attracted to, you are enough, exactly as you are. You don’t have to fit a neat label. You can just be you.