3B. Human SexualityBecause LoveyCube is a big supporter of the LGBT community, and because supporting the LGBT community is essential to making a safe space environment, it is important to understand human sexuality. You may try to dismiss this section if you have previously taken a course in sexuality. However, this is a different kind of sexuality; identities in society. It is vital that you and all staff understand sexual identities in order to promote a safe environment for LoveyCube.
TermsLet's first start off with sex. If you are very unfamiliar with social terms, you might be a part of many people who think sex is the identity of all. But it's not. Sex solely represents biology. It is the reproductive system that a person has. Please be aware that "sex" should not be used alone as it is ambiguous. Use the term "Sex assigned at birth". It is also important to realize that it is discriminatory to identify someone based on sex; identify based on their gender identity instead.
Gender identity is the term used to describe how someone identifies in their mind and in society. It is very important to realize that gender is not binary. There is more than just "male" and "female". In fact, gender is most easily represented using a spectrum:
Pronouns refer to the terms one requires others to use when referring to them by other than their name. For example, in the gender binary, it is assumed a man uses he/him/his pronouns and a woman uses she/her/hers pronouns. But that is not always the case! Some may even want you to use other pronouns instead, such as they/them/theirs. It is important to learn the pronouns of others and use them correctly in conversation. This shows that you respect the individual and who they are.
Sex identity, or sexual orientation, is how people identify sexually in the real world. For example, a heterosexual prefers someone of a different gender (usually man/woman or woman/man). It is important to realize that sexual identity is not the same as sexual behavior. Sex identity / orientation is how one identifies socially. Sexual behavior is how one behaves in terms of sex acts. I can identify as heterosexual, for instance, and still have sexual encounters with people of the same gender.
Sexual behavior is how you behave sexually in society.
Gender role is the pre-determined set of behaviors and actions by society that an individual chooses to express. Someone who gender-identifies as man may still wish to stay within a mostly-woman social gender role, liking and participating in activities that mainly appeal to women (according to society, mind you).
Cisgender is the term used for when your gender identity conforms to your sex assigned at birth. For example, if your sex is male, and you identify man, you are cisgender. If you are female, and identify as woman, you are cisgender.
The trans spectrum can be confusing as it is very vast. The important thing to remember is that trans people should be identified as exactly how they wish, regardless of social definitions.
Terms and identities may mean different things from different cultures. It is important to realize that no matter how unusual someone identifies, it is respectful to identify them as such and disrespectful to identify them as otherwise. You're also encouraged to research identities that are unfamiliar to you to learn more about them.
It is very crucial to remember that people can change identities over time. And that should be respected.
Here are some additional pointers for you in relations to terms and identities:
- Don't get too wrapped up in terms and being precise. But be aware of the terms used in identifying someone.
- Understand and remember the differences and complexities in identities.
- Realize there is a difference between cis and trans.
- Challenge your thinking and open your mind to learning new identities and unlearning assumptions.
Binary vs. Non-binaryThe commonly-recognized system of genders in our society is the binary model. Though very simple, the binary model is highly non-inclusive and does not recognize that people can identify in many different ways. Therefore, you should not follow the binary model. The binary model is as follows:
|Sex||Gender (often tied with sex)||Expression||Orientation|
The non-binary model is much more inclusive and recognizes that people can identify as many different ways:
|Sex||Gender (any of following)||Expression (any of following)||Orientation (any of following)|
Exercise 1Understanding how you identify
Now that you have a familiarity with the different ways one can identify, it's time to apply that knowledge to understanding your own identity. Do your own research on the specific ways to identify in gender, sexuality, and expression. Then, send a message to the staff responsible for your training with the following questions answered (you may skip ones you do not want to answer):
- What is your gender identity?
- What pronouns do you prefer others refer you as?
- What is your sex identity / sexual orientation?
- Do you behave sexually with others differently than what you identify as? Explain if so.
- What set of socially-defined gender roles do you most conform to? Or do you conform to any of them at all?