Understanding your sexuality
Sexual orientation is a complex, confusing phenomenon. While there are commonly understood definitions of heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality, the real-life experiences of many people are that these definitions are too narrow.
Heterosexual — a person who is sexually attracted to the opposite sex
Homosexual — a person who is sexually attracted to members of the same sex
Bisexual — sexually attracted to both sexes
Transgender — a general term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviours, and groups involving tendencies to vary from the usual gender roles.
These definitions don’t tell you whether you have to be exclusively attracted to the opposite sex to be truly heterosexual, or whether you have to be exclusively attracted to the same sex to be homosexual. What confuses the issue is that most people do not fit into these neat pigeon-holes.
While some people are 100% heterosexual, and others 100% homosexual, most people are on a continuum somewhere in between.
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How do you know if you’re gay or lesbian?
The key to knowing whether you’re heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual is to pay attention to your feelings of attraction. The challenge for many gay, lesbian and bisexual people is coming to terms with their own sexuality, as they may fear that society, or people close to them, will be judgemental of them.
What is a gay person?
A gay person is someone who is sexually attracted to others who are of the same gender as they are.
What is a lesbian?
A lesbian is a woman who is attracted to and/or has sexual relations with other women.
Since the late 1960s, homosexual men and women have publicly adopted the word ‘gay’ as a positive alternative to the clinical sounding ‘homosexual’. Not all lesbians or homosexual people like the word ‘gay’; some prefer the terms ‘same-sex attracted’, ‘men who have sex with men’, or ‘women who have sex with women’.