Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

Being able to develop a sense of who we are or an identity is a vital piece of the puzzle necessary for each of us as we grow and mature throughout our lives. Some individuals struggle with an understanding of who they are and what makes up their identity. This is quite normal and may take quite some time to figure out. What makes up our identity? Items such as race, gender, ethnic background and sexual preference are just a few of the parts which help determine who we are.

Individuals who struggle with their gender identity may feel as though they were born the wrong sex/ gender. Also, they may struggle with the sense of who they are; especially when it doesn’t seem to match up with their own body or with the messages regarding gender from their environment.

So if that is gender identity, then what is sexual orientation?

Sexual orientation refers to the romantic and sexual attractions of individuals. There are many different sexual orientations. Listed below are some of the most common:

  • Heterosexual or Straight: These individuals are mainly attracted to someone of the opposite gender. For example women who are attracted to men.
  • Gay women or Lesbians: These women are attracted to other women.
  • Homosexual or Gay Men: These men attracted to other men.
  • Bisexuals: These individuals can be attracted to either someone of the same gender or the opposite gender.
  • Pansexual: This word refers to people who feel an attraction to people regardless of their gender identities, sex or sexual orientation.
  • Asexuals: A person who is asexual is not romantically or even sexually attracted to other people of either gender. However, they may still enjoy close and intimate relationships.

So why would someone want to seek therapy when struggling with gender identity or sexual orientation issues?

Therapy can offer clients an opportunity to:

  • Discuss issues regarding coming out
  • Education and exploration of themselves
  • Examine future options
  • Find ways to cope with the everyday struggles relating to their identity and orientation
  • Significant other, partner and family therapy

If you or someone you know is struggling with gender identity issues, please contact us. You no longer need to feel alone. The therapists at AmberCreek are here to help