Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation

Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation

These are ever evolving & important topics that have been around since ancient times. Here we’ll dive into the spectrum of identities & orientations, learn tips on being more inclusive with your language, how to support someone who is questioning, and where to find more info & support.

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Gender Identity How I feel Inside Romantic + Sexual Orientation Who I’m Attracted to Sex My anatomy Gender Expression How I express my gender
Gender Identity

How I feel Inside

Gender Identity

How I feel Inside

Our gender identity is the gender we feel ourselves to be, who we know that we are inside…

Cisgender people identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, and transgender people don’t.

Gender identities other than girl/woman or boy/man are considered to be nonbinary.

Our gender identity is internal and not visible to others.

Romantic + Sexual Orientation

Who I'm attracted to

Romantic + Sexual Orientation

Who I'm attracted to

Our romantic orientation is the gender/s that we are emotionally attracted to.

Our sexual orientation is the gender/s that we are physically attracted to.

Our sexual orientation is not always the same as our romantic orientation.

A person’s orientation can change over their lifetime.

Sex

My Anatomy

Sex

My Anatomy

Sex is a medical term that describes a set of factors related to the human reproductive system.

Infants are commonly assigned a sex at birth, based on the appearance of their genitals.

Intersex is an umbrella term for people whose chromosome patterns and/or anatomy do not fit typical binary ideas of a male or female body.

Gender Expression

How I express my gender

Gender Expression

How I express my gender

Our gender expression is how we publicly display our gender.

This can include our name, hairstyle, clothing, makeup, pronouns, body language, way of speaking, and more.

Your gender expression may or may not match your gender identity and/or the expectations that other people have of you.

What to Say & What NOT to Say

What to Say & What not to Say

Written by Jen Bell

  |  Reviewed by Mason Dunn

Tips for using Gender-Inclusive Language

When we use gendered phrases like, “hey guys” or “ladies and gentlemen” to address a group, we’re sending a signal about who is and isn’t included. If I refer to someone whose pronouns we don’t know using words like, “girl, boy, man, woman,” I run the risk of misgendering them and potentially outing them as transgender.

Gender neutral language enables us to refer to nonbinary people and talk about people without specifying their gender. We can address a group in a way that makes everyone feel included. This is good for us all — no matter our gender! To learn more about using gender-inclusive language click here.

Tips for using LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Language

Educating yourself is the first step to becoming an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. Making some simple changes to the words you use can have a big impact!

 

How to Support Neurodivergent Youth

How to Support Neurodivergent Youth

Written by Erin E. Rich, OTR/L

  |  Reviewed by Mason Dunn

For those of us who care for preteens & teens who are neurodivergent (may have diagnoses including learning differences, autism, ADD, PTSD, OCD, trauma, bipolar disorder, etc )  we may be extra concerned about their sense of self, relationships, and well-being. Neurodivergent youth are 3-6 times more likely to be LGBTQ+, as compared to their peers and more likely to feel isolated.

  • Provide a safe place for your child to explore their feelings and express their authentic self. They need your support and affirmation.
  • If they struggle with communication or social skills, they may need additional support and time to process their feelings and interactions. Consider working with a therapist who specializes in gender identity and neurodivergence.
  • Ensure your child’s support team includes specialists who are well-versed in both gender and autism. Encourage your school district to provide professional development to staff who are experts in neurodivergence and the gender spectrum.
  • Consider your child’s individual learning and social needs, as well as sensitivities when providing services and support.
  • It may help for your child to role-play with you or a therapist how to self-advocate for their needs.
  • Ensure your child feels safe and trusts their friends and partners.  Unfortunately, youth with a disability are at a higher risk of dating violence.
  • Depending on your child’s cognitive needs and communication skills, they may need more supervision for longer than some peers, to ensure they are safe.
  • For tweens and teens who struggle with social relationships and friendships, it is important that they participate in activities that they enjoy and celebrate their strengths. This could be with a partner, friend, or by themselves.  Healthy recreational activities that bring them joy should be encouraged!

While a neurodivergent person may need more assistance in some areas over others, we want to honor their individualism and adaptability, and maximize their independence. It can be mentally and physically exhausting living in a world that accommodates mostly neurotypical people.

Our society needs to change the way it operates so it can accommodate all persons and their needs. If our world did this, then neurodivergence is just another part of neurodiversity, which is a beautiful thing.

Resources

Disability Communities – Love is Respect 

Netflix Movie- Love on the Spectrum 

www.ProjectLETS.org

Supporting Transgender Autistic Youth and Adults by Finn Gratton

Resources

A list of BLOOM's trusted resources to find more information and support… VIEW ALL.

Trusted Organizations
Fenway Health

Delivers innovative, equitable, accessible health care, supportive services, and transformative research and education.

interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth

Uses innovative legal and other strategies, to advocate for the human rights of children born with intersex traits.

The Trevor Project

A non-profit organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth.

Books, Apps, & Podcasts
The Conscious Parent’s Guide to Gender Identity
By Darlene Tando, LCSW

A mindful approach to embracing your child’s authentic self.

Helping Your Transgender Teen: A Guide for Parents, 2nd Addition
By Irwin Krieger

Provides advice to parents of transgender teens to help them understand their child.

Now That You Know: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding Their Gay and Lesbian Children
By Betty Fairchild and Nancy Hayward

Support and information for parents trying to understand their children's sexual orientation.

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