Single Step's aim is to provide support, understanding and information. We believe that with our new blog series "Me, Identity, Orientation", we will be a useful resource for many LGBTI youth and their parents. In the first post on the topic we seek to answer the question: “are sexual orientation and gender identity the same thing and if not, are they connected?”.
Our sexual orientation is something we become aware of at a relatively young age – the very first time we develop a crush on somebody, that person’s gender is of essential importance. Sexual orientation refers to the gender or gender expression of the people we are attracted to. It’s defined by whether we’re attracted to one gender, several genders, or many different genders.
On the other hand, our gender identity is almost entirely something internal to us. It’s not related to the gender of the people we date, nor does it have anything to do with the genders of people around us in general. Gender identity is the way we feel and understand our own gender – whether we are a woman, a man, both or neither… It’s a personal feeling - something only we can best understand.
And so: whereas sexual orientation is about who we like, gender identity is about how we feel and like our own selves.