The difference between gender identity and sexual identity
Choma, the amounts of new experiences, emotions, relationships and expectations can be overwhelming for you. And add in gender and sex, it can be a little overwhelming. When it comes to your body, the choice on how you want your gender to appear is entirely up to you – whether it’s male or female. Your sexual identity, on the other hand, is who you are sexually or romantically attracted to. Our sexual identity and gender identity are separate but do make our complete identity. Here’s more on the difference between the two choma.
Gender is how you personally see yourself – whether as female or male, both or neither, for example and your behaviour. Your gender identity can, but not necessarily, be the same as your sex that was assigned to you at birth (according to your genital). So if you were born with a vagina that means you are a girl (sex) and as you grow up feeling like a girl then that means your gender is female – meaning the gender you identity with matches with your sex. Therefore, gender identity is not about your physical body. Gender identity is psychological, this means your gender identity is how you feel about and express your gender. For some people, their gender identity does not match their physical body. So for example, your body may be male or female, in other words born with a penis or vagina, but inside you may feel like you are really the opposite gender. Choma, if you feel this way often, you may be a transgender.
Sex is essentially the physical characteristics that make up women and men like your genitals. Your sexual identity or sexuality refers to who you are romantically or sexually attracted to; whether you are attracted to the same gender as your own or another gender. Your sexual identity can also be linked and matched to your sexual orientation, such as homosexuality (being sexually attracted to people of the same sex), bisexuality (being sexually attracted to people of both genders) or heterosexuality (being sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex) because that determines who you are sexually and romantically attracted to. Some may experiment sexually with people of the same sex while younger. But these early experiences do not always mean that you will be homosexual, or bisexual once you become an adult choma. But for some, same-sex attraction may not fade, instead these attractions will grow stronger and that’s still okay.
Can your sexual orientation be changed?
Your sexual orientation is not a choice, and therefore can’t be changed choma. There may be some people who are homosexual or bisexual who may hide their sexual orientation and live as heterosexuals for a long time to avoid being judged as being homosexual or bisexual. You don’t have to feel like this choma. Speak to someone close to you or find out how to come out here.
Come out when you ready
Many loved ones may have a hard time accepting that you may be homosexual, bisexual or transgender and that may be partly the reason you don’t want to come out. Remember, coming out can happen when you are ready to; it’s important to do it in your own time while you figure what your gender and sexual identities are. When and how you decide to tell anyone about your gender identity (transgender) or sexual identity is completely up to you choma. No matter what your gender identity or sexual identity is, you are amazing! If you are not ready to come out, it’s still fine choma. There is no pressure. Getting to know yourself is a process – a beautiful one and is the most fun and beautiful experience you’ll ever have to go through.
Remember choma, if you need to talk, Ask Choma, I’m always here for you.
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