Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
The more you understand biological sex, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation, the more you may understand yourself and other people, and how we relate to each other. Whereas biological sex refers to attributes such as anatomy, chromosomes, and hormones that inform whether a person is assigned at birth as male, female, or intersex, gender identity refers to one's innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both, or neither. Gender expression is the external appearance of one's gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut, or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine. There are many terms used to describe gender identity, including agender, androgynous, bigender, cisgender, gender fluid, genderqueer, pangender, third gender, transgender, and two-spirit. It is important to understand that each person has the right to decide what to call their gender identity, and that they're the only one who can do that.
One's gender identity does not imply a specific sexual orientation. Sexual orientation describes the type of sexual, romantic, and/or physical attraction someone feels toward others. Terms often used to describe sexual orientation include asexual, bisexual, gay, heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, pansexual, polysexual, queer, and straight.
- American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota
- Center for Equality
- Common Ground Diversity Center
- Equality South Dakota