Have a Right To Be Exactly Who You Are!
People express their
sexuality in many different ways; there is no right or wrong way to be. You have the right to identify with the gender
and sexual orientation of your choice without fear of discrimination in
education, healthcare, social and political participation; and to live free of
verbal and/or physical assault.
At birth, we are assigned one of two genders, usually based on
our visible genitals. For many people this gender assignment fits and feels
comfortable and they never think about it further. Others do not feel as
comfortable with their assigned gender, either because they find the two-gender
system too limiting or because they feel more identification with the gender
opposite that to which they were assigned at birth. People deal with this
discomfort in many ways, sometimes only in personal ways, and sometimes in ways
visible to others.
Sexual orientation refers to one's sexual and romantic attraction.
Those whose sexual orientation is to people of the opposite sex are called
"heterosexual", those whose sexual orientation is to people of the same sex are called "homosexual" (or
lesbian or gay), and those whose sexual orientation is to people of both sexes
are called "bisexual." Sexual orientation is not necessarily the same
as sexual behaviour.
– what does it mean?
- Gay - A man who is
romantically/sexually attracted to or involved with other men; also used as an
umbrella term for everyone who has same-sex romantic/sexual attractions or
- Lesbian - A woman who is romantically/sexually attracted to or involved with other women.
- Bisexual - A person who is romantically/sexually attracted to or involved with both men
- Transgender (or trans) – is an umbrella term that includes people who do not fit
traditional male or female roles and expectations, and/or who identify with a
gender other than the one assigned at birth (e.g., women who feel like men, or
men who feel like women). Transgender does not imply any specific form of
sexual orientation. Individuals in the transgender community express themselves
in different ways. This can include adopting the clothing and/or behaviours of
the opposite or both genders, use of hormones and/or gender reassignment
- Transsexual – Individuals whose gender identity is not in keeping with their physical
bodies. They may desire to, or have modified their body through hormones and/or
surgical procedures in order to bring their body closer to their gender identity.
- Two-spirited - is a term for individuals who are considered to be neither women nor men
among many First Nations groups. It often implies a masculine spirit and a
feminine spirit living in the same body. It is also used by some contemporary
gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex First Nations people to
describe themselves. There are many indigenous terms for these individuals in
the various First Nations languages.
Intersex - A person whose sex chromosomes, genitalia and/or secondary
sex characteristics (e.g. facial hair, breasts) are determined to be neither
exclusively male nor female. An intersex person may have biological
characteristics of both the male and female sexes. The intersex community has
generally rejected the term ‘hermaphrodite’ as out-dated. Intersex people may or
may not identify as part of the transgender community.
Queer - Some people prefer to be called queer rather than gay,
lesbian, bisexual, or trans. For some people the term queer is positive and
- Questioning - People who
are either experimenting with or exploring their sexuality, or who refuse to
label their sexual orientation.
Information provided with permission from the Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights
Lesbian Gay Bi Trans
YouthLine – 1-800-268-YOUTH