Information Resource - Gender Identity/Sexual
Gender identity is a
complex concept. Many people confuse gender and sex. Sex refers
to birth sex. Gender is in the mind of the person and not so
concrete. Gender identity is one's inner perception of one's
Sexual orientation refers
to one's attractions and feelings toward women and/or men.
Person whose gender identity or gender expression contrasts
with traditional social norms and expectations for their physical
sex. Transgenderism has to do with one's gender identity, as
opposed to one's sexual orientation.
Anyone who is uncertain about their sexual orientation, that
is, anyone who is unsure whether they are heterosexual, homosexual
prejudice: This includes all negative attitudes towards
someone based on the person's sexual orientation (sometimes
people use the term "homophobia"). Lesbian, gay and bisexual
people face tremendous prejudice on a daily basis.
Coming out: The
process by which a person acknowledges that he/she is gay, lesbian,
bisexual, transgender or questioning. Usually this begins as
an acknowledgement to himself/herself and later to others. Coming
out to another person can often be anxiety-producing, because
one is never certain whether he/she will be rejected for his/her
sexual orientation. In some instances, coming out can put the
person in physical danger or even cause his/her family to disown
him/her. There is no perfect formula for coming out that will
work for everyone.
Things to consider before
How can counseling
with my sexual orientation?
I informed about
this my decision or
is someone pushing
me to come out?
do I hope will
happen as a result
of coming out?
are the risks to my
personal and professional
I have support if my
coming out doesn't
go as planned?
Individual and group
counseling offer confidential and safe places to talk about
personal concerns in an accepting and nonjudgmental environment.
Counseling can also help people feel more comfortable telling
their family or friends about their sexual orientations. Counseling
can provide support if family or friends are rejecting. It can
also help people integrate their gay and religious identities
as well as sorting out spiritual issues.