22 January 2012

FTM Chronicles: Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

It seems as though recently all I have been answering to people is the difference between Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation. It is mostly cis-gendered (those who’s gender identity matches their physical gender) people who ask the difference since they do not understand where the difference lies since they had not been exposed to it, educationally speaking nor socially. Therefore, I shall write it all down in hopes to clarify for all. Most people do not even realize the difference. It is mostly because society lumps them together as the same. For example, in the acronym LGBT, do you see the odd man in there? If you said the “T”, then you are correct. LGB are sexual orientations, whereas T, which stands for trans*, is not.

“A gender identity is the way in which an individual self-identifies with a gender category, for example, as being either a man or a woman, or in some cases being neither, which can be distinct from biological sex.”

Sexual orientation describes an enduring pattern of attraction—emotional, romantic, sexual, or some combination of these—to the opposite sex, the same sex, both, or neither, and the genders that accompany them.”

Gender Identity is who a person is internally, whether it is male, female, both or neither. It is the gender one identifies with being. Most people are cis-gender, but there are many that are not. Those who do not have matching gender identities and physical genders are transgender. Now there are a lot of terms underneath the trans* umbrella. I will not dive into that in this article.

Sexual Orientation refers to who one is attracted to romantically. Every person has a sexual orientation, including trans* men and women. There are many variations of sexual orientations out there. Straight (heterosexual), gay/lesbian (homosexual), bisexual, asexual, queer, pansexual. And the list goes on.

Hopefully, for those confused on the difference, that this helps you understand the difference between Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation. If it does not, then please write in, via commenting or email (

Have a great day, ya’ll!


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