Gender & Sexuality

Questioning Identity

Gender and sexual identities are individual and exist on a spectrum. One may wish to define themselves somewhere along the spectrum or to identify in their own terms. A few topics to consider when questioning your identity include: who you feel romantically attracted to, who you feel sexually attracted to, and who you would like to be in a relationship with.

Some examples of gender identities include:

  • Cisgender: identifying as the gender that matches biological sex
  • Transgender: identifying as a gender that is different from biological sex
  • Intersex: chromosomes, gonads, hormones, and/or genitals differ from expected patterns of male/female
  • Gender fluid: a dynamic mix of male and female meaning gender expression may change based on how the individual feels at that time
  • Gender queer: identifying outside the binary of male and female
  • Gender non-conforming: gender presentation does not align in a predicted fashion with gender-based expectations

Some examples of sexual identities include:

  • Heterosexual: attraction to members of the opposite sex/gender
  • Homosexual (gay or lesbian): attraction to members of the same sex/ gender
  • Bisexual: attraction to men and women
  • Pansexual: attraction to people regardless of sex/gender
  • Asexual: no sexual attraction to others

Note: these lists are not comprehensive and do not include all identities.

Coming Out

Explaining personal identities to friends and family can be challenging. Some considerations about coming out include:

  • Confusion about identity on behalf of the person coming out may make the people they are coming out to confused

  • Being comfortable with one's sexual or gender identity may make it easier to handle and respond to others' reactions
  • Support systems can help provide financial or emotional support if negative reactions occur
  • Knowledge about sexual or gender identities can make it easier to dispel myths and educate family and friends

Resources

LGBTQ Center: support center located on the ground floor of Newcomb Hall
Queer Student Union: group on Grounds that holds social and supportive events
Side by Side: support group in Charlottesville for LGBTQ+ youth under 20