Understanding Sexual Orientation
What is the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity? Why are there so many different labels for sexual orientation and what do they all mean? Are the labels helpful or problematic? Can my (or my child’s) sexual orientation change over time? How can I ever begin to understand all this?
In this episode, we answer these questions and more in a very frank mother-daughter discussion about sexual attraction, romantic attraction, and emotional and physical intimacy. We wanted to dive deep into this topic because we know it can be very confusing for people.
We explore the ways parents tend to make assumptions about their kids’ sexual orientations and gender identities. In fact, in this very conversation, Jackie reveals something new about the history of her sexual orientation that Bridget didn’t know. We offer ideas for how we can all be more aware of and open-minded about the fluidity of the various forms of attraction that a human being may experience in the span of their lifetime.
We discuss the importance of understanding that no sexual orientation has definitive, fixed characteristics. This is why parents' efforts to identify and label their kids based on specific behaviors or traits are generally pointless. Unless your child explicitly expresses it to you, you likely have no idea how they experience their own sexual orientation. We also talk about intersex people, how the cisgender community perceives and treats queer people, and their reaction to couples in visibly queer relationships. To close today's episode, we go through some sexual orientation definitions and terminology.
In This Episode, You Will Learn:
How people express their sexual orientation, and that there are at least 46 terms to define sexual orientation (4:19)
The differences between sexual and romantic attraction (5:58)
About parents and their preconceived ideas of their children's sexual orientation and gender identity (8:20)
There is NO universal way of being gay, bisexual, or experiencing any other type of attraction; it is an individual experience (12:43)
How cisgender people perceive and treat queer people (18:34)
Some sexual orientation definitions and terminology (27:02)
Article: Healthline - 46 Terms That Describe Sexual Attraction, Behavior, and Orientation
TEDx Providence: Emily Quinn - What I've Learned from Having Balls
YouTube video: Human Rights Watch - US Doctors Still Do Harmful Surgeries on Intersex Kids
Connect with Jackie and Bridget: