Sexuality is a complex and multifaceted aspect of human life that includes a variety of physical, emotional, and social experiences. Here are some components of sexuality that may be important to consider: biological sex (determined by the XX and XY chromosomes), sexual orientation, gender identity, and social role (respect for cultural norms of female and male behavior).
LGBTIQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and the plus sign at the end of the acronym is used to include other identities that fall under the umbrella of the LGBTIQ+ community, such as non-binary, pansexual, and asexual. This term is used to refer to a diverse group of people who identify as something other than heterosexual and cisgender.
It is important to respect and acknowledge the diversity of identities within the LGBTIQ+ community and use inclusive language when referring to or interacting with people who are part of this community.
What is sexual orientation?
Sexual orientation refers to an individual’s emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction to other people. It is an important aspect of human life that can shape an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
There are a variety of sexual orientations that people can identify with, including:
- Heterosexual: Individuals who are attracted to people of the opposite sex or gender.
- Homosexual: People who are attracted to people of the same sex or gender.
- Bisexual: This refers to people who are attracted to people of both sexes or genders.
- Pansexual: Individuals who are attracted to people of all gender identities and expressions.
- Asexual: people who do not experience sexual attraction towards any gender.
It is not a mental illness
Gay and bisexual people have traditionally lived under the stigma of being considered mentally ill. It was not until 1975 that the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from the mental illness list and asked psychologists to remove such a stigma. Prejudice and discrimination on a regular basis have negative psychological effects.
Homosexuality and bisexuality are not mental illnesses, and research has shown that there is no association between these sexual orientations and psychopathology. Heterosexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality are normal behaviors in human sexuality and are documented in different cultures and times.
Can therapy change sexual orientation?
No, therapies (sometimes called “reparative” or “conversion therapies”) to change sexual orientation are neither effective nor safe. Usually, people seeking these kind of therapies are being coerced by members of their family or religious groups. The reality is that homosexuality is not a disease. It does not require treatment and cannot be changed.
Not all gay, lesbian and bisexual people seeking help from professionals want to change their sexual orientation. Often they seek psychological help (Affirmative therapy) through the process of discovering their sexual orientation or developing strategies to deal with prejudice. But in general, homosexual or bisexual people go to therapy for the same reasons and life problems that lead heterosexual people to the consultation of mental health professionals, regardless of their sexual orientation.
What is gender identity?
Gender identity is the perception we have of our own gender. It may match the gender assigned at birth or may differ completely from it. It is a personal and deeply felt sense of being a man, a woman or something else and that it is different from sex, which refers to the biological characteristics that define men and women, such as genitalia and chromosomes. Gender is the set of socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that has traditionally been divided into a binary: masculine and feminine. But there are other identities:
- Cisgender: Refers to individuals who identify with the gender assigned to them at birth.
- Transgender: A person whose gender identity is different from that of their assigned sex at birth.
- Queergender: A person who identifies with an identity that does not belong to the binary man / woman.
- Agender: A person who does not identify with any gender identity.
- Neutral gender: A person whose identity is neutral, that is, believes that he has a gender and that his gender is out of the binary, and does not identify with identities that show affinity for female or male roles.
What is intersexuality?
Intersex is a term used to describe people who are born with physical sexual characteristics that do not conform to typical binary notions of male or female bodies. These characteristics may include variations in the genitalia, chromosomes, or hormones.
Intersex is a natural variation of human biology, and it is estimated that around 1.7% of people are born with intersex traits. It is important to recognize that intersex is not a disorder or medical condition, and that people with intersex traits are not abnormal or unhealthy.
The term “intersex” can be used to describe a wide range of physical variations, and not all intersex people identify as intersex or use this term to describe themselves. Some intersex people may identify as male, female, or non-binary, and may or may not choose to alter their bodies through medical interventions.
It is important to recognize and respect the diversity of intersex identities and experiences. It is also important to be aware of the rights and needs of intersex people, including the right to bodily autonomy and informed consent for any medical procedure.