Am I Lesbian?
Women who identify as lesbian find themselves attracted to other women. They believe they form a deeper emotional connection with others of the same gender as themselves. While there are many behaviors typically associated with being lesbian, none of these are true for everyone, as everyone creates their own identity.
Am I Gay?
Men who are gay find themselves attracted physically to other men. They may also believe that they form deeper emotional connections with other members of the same sex. While there are many different stereotypes about being gay, each individual is responsible for creating their own unique personality.
Am I Bisexual?
A person who is bisexual feels an attraction, often romantic or sexual, for both males and females, though many people who identify as bisexual point out that they tend to have a stronger preference for one gender.
There are many misconceptions when it comes to bisexual identity, and criticism is just as likely to come from gay and lesbian individuals as it is from straight people. Common accusations include “bisexual people are greedy” or “they can’t make up their minds,” even “they can’t be faithful in a relationship.”
These are value judgments, however, and each is particular to the person who believes them. Bisexual people do not necessarily see themselves as greedy or unable to make up their minds; they only know that they find both males and females attractive. And as far as the faithfulness concern goes, many bisexuals believe that while they are attracted to people of both genders, they only fall in love with one person.
It is also not uncommon for people to “come out” as gay or lesbian after first “coming out” as bisexual. They may believe that, by identifying as still somewhat “straight,” the backlash will be less severe. Still, just because a few may follow this path, does not mean it is meant for all bisexuals.
In addition to bisexuality, there are those people who choose to identify as pansexual. At first glance, there seems to be little difference between the two groups. However, pansexuality looks beyond the division of “male” and “female” and includes attraction to transpeople. Oftentimes, people who identify as pansexual say that they don’t fall in love with a person, they fall in love with a soul.
Am I Transgender?
Of all of the people in the LGBTQ community, transgenders are probably the least understood. A transgender person is someone does not feel comfortable in their body. They may feel like a female trapped inside of a man’s body (male-to-female, or MtF), or a male trapped inside of a woman’s body (female-to-male, or FtM). Gender Identity is how you feel yourself to be – either male or female, whether that matches your biological sex or not. After realizing that you are more comfortable living completely as the ‘opposite’ gender, there is a long and intense journey ahead of you. Through therapy, hormonal treatment, legal paperwork (for changing your name and sex), and sexual reassignment surgery, it is very possible to live completely as a man or woman, whichever is right for you.
Many people will question why a transgendered person cannot “just accept what they were born as.” However, anyone who has been unhappy within themselves knows that change must occur for true happiness. Accepting yourself as transgender, if that indeed is correct for you, is the first step discovering who you are and where you will go in life. From there, your true self will blossom not only within, but externally as well. Once you accept yourself, people are more likely to accept you as well.
Youth First Texas has a Gender Identity group the second and fourth Thursday of every month. At 7:30, a group of volunteers who have been in your positon, peers who also consider themselves transgender, and those who simply want to learn more about transgenderism gather together to discuss the trials and accomplishments that follow your personal acknowledgement of yourself.
Am I Queer?
Queer is defined as “strange or odd from a conventional viewpoint.” Many people in the LGBT community will add a Q for Queer. This is because there are several people who find themselves not straight, but not gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender either. There are several different categories that a person can fall under; here are just a few:
Gender Bender – blurs the lines of gender by presenting him/herself in a non-gender specific (or multi-gendered) manner; may, for example, wear a business suit with a short, male haircut, but also have on high-heeled shoes and makeup
Androgyne – does not fit clearly into the gender binary (male OR female) and sometimes may find him/herself genderless; many times, will identify him/herself as ‘mentally between male and female’; at first glance, the biological sex of the person may be unidentifiable; typically identify him/herself as pansexual or asexual; may ask people to refer to them with gender neutral (or genderless) pronouns, such as “hir” (pronounced ‘here’) and ”zie” (pronounced ‘zee’)
Pansexual – can be attracted physically, emotionally, romantically, and sexually to anyone, regardless of gender or sex; inclusive of bisexual (finds both males and females attractive) but also includes transgenders, androgens, and gender benders
Asexual – does not experience sexual attraction
Am I an Ally?
The term Ally encompasses a wide variety of people. Most commonly, allies are considered to be people who do not identify as LGBT but are supportive of the LGBT community and often work with them to achieve their goals. An ally can be a best friend, a mentor, even occasionally a parent. An ally can fill many roles, from trusted confidante to advocate.
The role of an ally also works within the LGBT community. A youth who identifies as gay can also be an ally to the transgender community, or a youth who identifies as lesbian can be an ally to the bisexual community. By forming such ties, the community finds a deeper understanding among its members, creating a better sense of unity.