Cisgender

The term “cisgender” (often shortened to “cis”) is used to refer to a person whose gender identity is consistent with the sex they were assigned at birth. To fully understand the concept of gender identity, it is important to recognize the difference between sex and gender. Sex refers to a person’s biological and physical attributes,…

Gender Binary

The gender binary is a system that pairs together sex (which is based on an individual’s reproductive anatomy) and gender (which refers to the socially constructed ideas and expectations that a culture has for certain sex). More specifically, it classifies two distinguishable, distinct, and oftentimes contrasting genders: males who identify as men and females who…

Homosexuality

What is homosexuality? Homosexuality (from the Greek affix “homo,” meaning “same”) is a sexual orientation in which a person, male or female, is sexually attracted to people of the same sex1. People who identify as homosexual may have emotional, sexual, and romantic relationships with people of the same sex3. Typically, a homosexual male identifies as…

Bisexuality

Bisexuality can be difficult to define, because it holds different meanings for different people. In its most basic definition, bisexuality is the ability to be sexually, emotionally, or romantically attracted to more than one sex or gender (bi often indicating two). The Bisexual Resource Center uses “bisexual” as an inclusive term for people who recognize…

The Third Gender in Native American Tribes

History of the Third Gender in Native American Culture Before Christianization mangled their culture, numerous Native American tribes accepted a third gender. The third gender (also known as “two spirits” or “llamana”) were biological males that were culturally identified as belonging to a gender that is separate from male and female.² The population of a…

Pansexuality

What is Pansexuality? Pansexuality is a sexual orientation describing a person who is attracted to all types of people, regardless of their sex or gender.1 The term “pansexuality,” sometimes referred to as omnisexuality, has its roots in the Greek prefix pan-, meaning “all” or “every” coming together as one.2 When combined with the suffix, –sexual, describing one’s…

Same-Gender Sexual Identity Formation

Before coming out, one has to come to terms with their own sexuality. Though it may be difficult to fully comprehend at the time, sexual identity formation  almost always occurs in a predictable progression from some sort of awareness of same gender attractions and feelings, to the total incorporation of the new identity into the…

Overview of Sexual Orientations

Sexual orientation is a term that describes a person’s sexual, emotional, or romantic attraction, as well as the gender(s) of the people they are attracted to.1, 2 Sexual orientation differs from gender identity in that gender identity describes a person’s psychological identification with a particular gender, rather than their attraction to people.  The Kinsey Scale—developed…

A Timeline of HIV/AIDS

A Timeline of HIV/AIDS *This timeline primarily focuses on the AIDS epidemic as it was in the United States. For details on the origin of HIV/AIDS, click here. 1981 A cluster of patients in the United States are reported with a rare lung infection, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, and a rare type of cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma….