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Gender Identity and Sexuality

Sexuality is an important part of a person’s identity. One aspect of sexuality is sexual orientation, or to whom you are physically and emotionally attracted. You may identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual or straight. Exploring your sexuality is a normal and important part of development. Feeling unable to express your sexuality can be emotionally damaging. Similarly, being mistreated because of your sexual orientation, such as being stigmatized, discriminated against, or targeted with physical violence, can lead to depression and other mental health issues.

Gender identity is different from sexuality and sexual orientation. Gender identity is your sense of who you are - male, female, or non-binary. For a transgender person, gender assigned at birth does not match the gender with which they identify. As with sexual orientation, feeling unable to express your true gender identity or being mistreated because of your gender identity can negatively affect mental health.

Individual sexuality and gender identity should be supported and celebrated, yet too often it can be met with family disapproval, discrimination, and isolation. It can be helpful to seek support as you question your sexuality and identity, if you fear mistreatment or have been mistreated because of your sexuality, and if you are suffering emotionally as a result.