Journal Entry Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

Gender identity

Gender identity can be defined as individuals’ sense of their gender. Generally, gender identity correlates with one’s sex at birth, but in some instances, it may conflict.  There are many types of gender although the most recognized ones are female or male. The two types of gender are what is known as the gender binary, and are based on an individual’s anatomy or the genitals a person was born with (Healy, 2019). However, gender is more complicated than a person’s anatomy, and it is a collective of factors such as how one feels about themselves and how they want to be perceived by society. This is why there are so many gender identities that are recognized today. Some genders that are not very common include gender neutral, transgender, non-binary, pangender, agender, two-spirit, gender-queer, and the third gender. There are other many genders and they will keep on coming up, as each person defines their gender identity and the complex nature of gender identity will see many gender identities coming up. 

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The complex nature of gender identity can lead people who do not fall in the binary scale to have significant security issues. When an individual’s gender identity does not correspond to their biological sex characteristics, they can start behaving in ways that society does not accept (Thomas, 2017). For example, an individual who has a male genital organ and they do not perceive themselves as a male can start wearing women clothes and this may lead to conflicts in society, as wearing clothes of the other gender falls outside the cultural gender norms.

One of the significant challenges faced by people who do not consider themselves as male or female is discrimination they undergo in society. Today, people who identify themselves differently in terms of their gender are faced with discrimination. In many cases and more so in male-conservative communities such as in Africa and Asia, these people are seen as outcasts who people do not want to associate with (Healy, 2019). These people are also likely to face violence and sometimes death. For instance, in June 2019, two transgender black women were killed in Dallas, Texas in the United States. The violent homicide was described by the police as a hate crime against the transgender community in the United States. These crimes have been on the increase and it is essential for the government and other stakeholders in the community to come up with measures that are aimed at protecting all transgender people in society. Criminals who kill or abuse others because of their gender should be punished severely.

Sexual orientation 

Sexuality is one of the most critical aspects that make who human beings are and what they are in society. In addition to the ability to reproduce, sexuality defines how people see themselves and how they interact with others in the community. Sexual orientation can be defined as an individual’s romantic, emotional, and sexual attraction to others in the community based on their gender (Sanlo, 2014). Sexual orientation can be divided into three categories, and they include:

  1. Heterosexuals who are attracted to people of the opposite gender,
  2. Bisexuals who are attracted to people from either of the two genders, and
  3. Homosexuals who are attracted to people from their genders, for example, men are attracted to other men while women are attracted to other women (Sanlo, 2014). 

It is essential to mention that sexual orientation refers to much deeper issues in a human being, and it is not just based on what gender an individual is attracted to. Sexual orientation involves an individual’s sense of identity and the way they feel about themselves (Sanlo, 2014). Many people in heterosexual relationships are homosexuals, but they may choose not to act on their feelings. The reason why many people decide to act and live like heterosexuals is that many people in society have not accepted the fact that other people may be homosexuals. In fact, these people were born this way and they genuinely feel and know that they can never be happy with people of the opposite gender. In many countries in the Middle East and Africa, such as Saudi Arabia and Uganda, homosexuality is a crime that is punishable by long prison terms and even death (Healy, 2019). In these societies, homosexuals choose to pretend they are heterosexuals for self-preservation reasons. 

What these societies fail to appreciate is that the sexual orientation of an individual is determined by a combination of emotional, environmental, biological factors, and hormonal factors and not a decision each individual makes on impulse. Homosexuality is not caused by how a child is brought up or by having sexual experiences at a young age. It is also essential for these societies to appreciate the fact that homosexuality is not a mental illness or an unusual way of life (Healy, 2019). If communities across the globe accept these facts then homosexuals would be free to live their lives as freely as the rest of the people.

References

Healy, J. (2019). Sexual Orientation and Gender. Chicago, IL: Spinney Press.

Sanlo, R. (2014). Gender identity and sexual orientation: research, policy, and personal

perspectives. London, UK. 

Thomas, S. (2017). Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Schooling: The Nexus of Research,Practice, and Policy. Chicago, IL: Spinney Press.

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