Hijra, The Third Gender of India

Hijra are the third gender recognized predominantly in India, as well as some areas in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. It is an encompassing term that includes eunuchs, intersex, and transgender people. Hijra, once seen as valued religious and spiritual healers, are now socially “untouchable” and marginalized people. Today they live in rundown areas called Gharanas.1 This group faces social, emotional, and…

Glossary of Sexual Orientation/Gender Terminology

Sexual orientation and gender are immensely complex, and the various terminologies related to them can be very confusing. Below is a list of definitions to help provide a clear understanding of various terms surrounding sexual orientation and gender.  DISCLAIMER: Some of the following terms are derogatory, offensive, and outdated, and should not be used as…

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…

When to Lose Your Virginity

Across different ages, cultures, ethnicities, and religions, sex is seen as an important part of life. However, not everyone begins to engage in sexual activity at the same time. In the end, the decision to lose—or to not lose—your virginity is personal and should be entirely your own. Defining “Losing Your Virginity” What exactly does “losing your virginity”…

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…

Gender Dysphoria

Although traditionally, the words ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ have been used interchangeably, it is important to note that there is a significant difference between the meanings of the two. The term sex is used to describe a person’s biology. It can include gonads, sex chromosomes, sex hormones, internal reproductive organs, and external genitalia.3 Gender refers to a society’s…

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…

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…