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Sexuality & Gender

covering everything LGBTQIA+

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An intro

No doubt many of you are confused over all the differences out there.  And you’re probably wondering why they have all sprung up in the last decade or so.   Don’t worry… even many people who identify as gay are confused by all the variations too!

Well, the fact of the matter is that people have been diverse from day one!   None of this is new – it’s been there for a long, long, long time.   People with differences have hidden themselves for fear of a whole host of things like rejection, violence, hate crime and so on.   

My father told me when he moved here in the 1960s in Birmingham looking for a house to rent, it was permissible to have in windows “For Rent – no Irish, Black or Brown”.    Whilst we still need to work on racism (as evident by the George Floyd case), isn’t it great that such overt racism that my father experienced is less common practice now and that the above window behaviour would not be tolerated.   

So, in a similar way, don’t you think it is great that we now live in a society where people who identify differently are starting to feel they can “come out” and be themselves.   We’re not quite there yet but surely its better than them living in the world my father experience – intolerance for just being different.   Isn’t it great that we are progressing to a society that is more inclusive than ever known before?  

person holding pile of books

Some books that I can highly recommend are…

  • “Unabridged: coming out, becoming whole and living free from shame” by Vicky Beeching
  • “God in Pink” – a novel by Hasan Namir
  • “Unspeakable Love: gay and lesbian life in the Middle East” by Brian Whitaker
  • “The Man Who Was a Woman” and other queer tales from Hindu Lore – by Devdutt Puttanaik
  • “Shikhandi” and other tales they don’t tell you by Devdutt Pattanaik
  • The film: “Pride” – I know it’s not a book, but it is simply amazing.  Based on true events.

We love this video by Claire Carmichael.  She’s a nurse working in the NHS.    As she says, we are all part of human society and we all need to be humane and kind to each other.  

 

Time start moving away from Heterosexism

You’ve heard of racism.   You’ve heard of sexism.      Both are bad, narrow-minded views which limit the progression of society and prevents it from beautifully flowering through collaborative contribution.   But now it’s time also to start moving away from heterosexism.

Heterosexism is the societal, institutional and individual beliefs and practices that assume that all people are heterosexual.   Heterosexism priviledges heterosexual people in the same way that White Priviledge favours white people.    Heterosexualism automatically puts people who are not heterosexual in a less priviledged position – again, just like “White Priviledge” where if you are a person of colour, you automatically start life at a disadvantage (i.e. less priviledged).  (If you haven’t read this brilliant article on White Priviledge, please do so now.  It’s mind-blowing!).   Heterosexism leads to prejudice and discrimination against asexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual and other people with non-heterosexual sexual identities.   This discrimination is often subtle but significant.   At other times, it is more overt.

If you are heterosexual and reading this, you may be thinking and saying to yourself “But I am cool with it all”.   But are you really?   You may well be “cool” with others around you being say a gender-fluid person, but how would you REALLY feel if it was your son, daughter, brother, sister, or dare I say, your partner?   Would you be so cool then?  

Definitions: what is LGBTQIA+

When talking about definitions, many people define gay, lesbian and bisexual people based on the gender they are SEXUALLY ATTRACTED to.   In fact, nearly every definition I have seen has been something like “someone who is sexually attracted to the same sex”.

But I think we should think about two things.   The first is obviously who individuals are SEXUALLY ATTRACTED, but the second is to consider who they would prefer to be in a LOVING RELATIONSHIP with.   Why?

Because there are individuals out there who have had sex with the same gender as themselves – and have enjoyed it – but would prefer to settle in a relationship with the opposite sex.  For instance, it is well known that male saunas (where a lot of same-sex activity happens), many of the men are married to females.   So are they in the closet?

Some old surveys in the 1990s revealed that whilst a small proportion of these men were in fact gay men but in the closet, most of them were not.   Most were men who enjoyed sexual activity with men, but just felt that when it came to love and a loving relationship, they could only see themselves with a woman.  They felt they were not in denial, and it was just how it was.    And they found it upsetting to be called gay or bisexual when they did not identify with that.  As far as they were concerned, they love women, loved being in a relationship with a woman but loved sex with men and women too.  And many were not ashamed of having sex with men – they were at easy with it.  

And of course there are Women Who Have Sex With Women and no doubt the same goes for gay people too – some have had sexual encounters with the opposite sex, but they still would not class themselves as straight.

So, this is why I think we should look at two things when defining gay or straight people.    But the other thing I would say is that I’m not sure if categorisation is helpful.  It may well provide us a framework to aid understanding but it may also limit us into thinking that individuals can be grouped into neat little boxes when in fact the world of sexuality and gender is a spectrum that is fluid.

 

LGBTQIA+ and other terms

LGBTQIA+

In the UK we often talk about LGBTQ+.  In the US they often refer to LGBTQIA+.   Yes, it can be rather confusing.  But is that a reflection of you not knowing anything but your own?  This is not “PC gone mad”.   

  • L = Lesbian 
  • G = Gay 
  • B = Bisexual 
  • T = Transgender
  • Q = Questioning = a person who cannot yet subscribe to a particular preference group as they are in the current hub state of working it all out.   
  • I = Intersex – a term for someone born with biological sex characteristics that aren’t traditionally associated with male or female bodies. Intersexuality does not refer to sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • A = Asexual
  • + = Other wonderful diverse variations.  Binary/Non-Binary.  Gender-fluid, Gender NonConforming.   Gender Neutral. Gender Queer.  Pansexual.  Asexual.  It represents everything on the gender and sexuality spectrum that letters and words can’t yet describe

SEXUALITY TERMS

  • LESBIAN = a women who is sexually attracted to and can see herself in a loving relationship with another woman.
  • GAY = Gay by definition can be applied to a gay man or a gay woman.  But in the UK, it’s mostly referring to men.   So, gay = a man who is sexually attracted to and can see himself in a loving relationship with another man.  Generally speaking, the words homosexual and homosexuality are outdated medical term for something which isn’t medical!  Don’t use them.
  • BISEXUAL = a man or woman who is sexually attracted to and can see themselves in a loving relationship with someone of either sex.
  • PANSEXUAL – The word “pan” is latin for “all.  Pansexual = someone who is attracted to people of all gender identities. Or someone who is attracted to a person’s qualities regardless of their gender identity.   They are different than bisexual – bisexuals are attracted to both male and female but a pansexual would be attracted to an even more diverse group (including gender fluid, intersex, gender neutral, non-binary, trans and so on).
  • DEMISEXUAL – Someone who generally does not experience sexual attraction unless they have formed a strong emotional, but not necessarily romantic, connection with someone.
  • GREYSEXUAL – Someone who occasionally experiences sexual attraction but usually does not.  It is called grey because it covers a kind of grey space between asexuality and sexual identity.
  • ASEXUAL – Or “ace.” Someone who experiences little to no sexual attraction. They are not to be confused with “aromantic people,” who experience little or no romantic attraction. Asexual people do not always identify as aromantic; aromantic people do not always identify as asexual.  Some people (asexual or otherwise) identify as having a romantic orientation different than their sexual orientation. The terminology is similar: homoromantic, heteroromantic, biromantic and so on

THESE TERMS ARE ADJECTIVES (i.e. an atrribute), NOT NOUNS.

  • So, you would not say “John is a gay”.
  • You would not say “Melissa is a transgender”.

Instead say…

  • “John is a gay person.”
  • “Melissa is a transgender person”   (note: not “transgendered person”).

GENDER TERMS

  • BINARY – binary means one of two things.  In terms of maths, it means 1 or 0.  In general terms it means something is black or white – one of two things – either this or that and no inbetween; no shades of grey.  In terms of sexuality it means a person who identifies as either a male or a female.  So, a person who identifies as male and born as male is binary.   A trans-male – a person born as female who identifies as male is ALSO binary.    The binary bit refers to whether a person sees themselves as either male or female.  If they do, they are binary.   In an attempt to really make you think and activate those brain cells read this – a person who sometimes sees themselves as male and other times female is a gender-fluid BINARY person.
  • NONBINARY – sometimes shortened to NB (pronounced “enby”) – a person who identifies as neither male nor female and sees themselves outside the gender binary of maleness/femaleness. 
  • CISGENDER – Someone whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth.   So, if I say I am cis-male – it means I identify as a male and I was born with a male physical characteristics (i.e. a male phenotype).   If I say I am a trans-male, that means that I identify as a male, but I was not born with the male phenotype).
  • TRANSGENDER = A wide-ranging term for people whose gender identity or gender expression differs from the biological sex they were assigned at birth. A person who feels their gender identity does not match with the sex they were born with.   They may see themselves as someone who has been born into the wrong gender body.    In other words, the gender they were assigned at birth does not fully and accurately reflect their core sense of self or internal experience of gender.   They want their soul, their personality and their physical’ness to match – surely we all want this? So, how can we deny them something most of us already have ourselves?
    Many transgender people call themselves trans-male (born female, transformed into male) or trans-female (born male, transformed into female).  Other trans may identify as a combination of both male and female or something else altogether (e.g. transgender nonbinary person).
    By the way, please note that TRANSGENDERED is not a word, even though it is often used as one.   And TRANS* or TRANS+  are two umbrella terms for non-cisgender identities.
  • GENDER FLUID – A term used by people whose identity shifts or fluctuates. Sometimes these individuals may identify or express themselves as more masculine on some days, and more feminine on others – i.e. they are fluid.  They’re a free spirit.  Isn’t that wonderful?
  • GENDER NONCONFORMING – sometimes shortened to G.N.C. One who expresses gender outside traditional norms associated with masculinity or femininity.   They are not transgender – because transgender people often express their gender in conventionally masculine or feminine ways.
  • GENDERQUEER – Another term often used to describe someone whose gender identity is outside the strict male/female binary. They may exhibit both traditionally masculine and feminine qualities or neither.
  • GENDER-NEUTRAL – Someone who prefers not to be described by a specific gender, but prefers “they” as a singular pronoun.  In correspondence, use “Mx. Smith” a substitute for “Mr. Smith” or “Ms. Smith”
  • MAAB or AMAB – Male Assigned At Birth or Assigned Male At Birth
  • FAAB or AFAB – Female Assigned At Birth or Assigned Female At Birth
  • UAAB – UnAssigned At Birth

A THOUGHT OR TWO FOR YOU…

  • Gender neutral people prefer to be called they/them and not he or she.   
  • Do you think these gender neutral terms are important or do you think this is a bit too much?  
  • Do you think the world has gone mad?

Transgender vs Transexual vs Transvestite vs Drag Queen

Please do not confuse these four terms.  A transgender person might be heavily offended if you call them transexual or a transvestite or even a drag queen!    

  • A transgender person is one who with a different gender to which they were born with.  They feel they have been born into the wrong body.  
  • A transexual also feels that they are not the gender which they were assigned.  It is an old medical term that was used by doctors to describe people who were transgender – especially if they had or were going through gender reassignment surgery and/or hormones.   Because being a transgender person is not a medical or psychiatric condition, one should refrain from using the word transexual with a transgender person.  
  • A transvestite – is a person who dresses in clothes primarily associated with the opposite sex.   The term is typically used for a man who wants to dress as a woman.   The man has no desire to want to have a sex change.  A transvestite man does not feel he was born into the wrong gender (unlike a transgender person).   A transvestite is often happy with their gender and have no desire to change their sex.   A transvestite man will dress as a female either because he gets sexual pleasure from it (most of these men identify as straight, not gay) or because they just like to cross dress now and then in certain situations.  
  • A drag queen is neither a transvestite nor transexual nor a transgender person.   A drag queen is a male who likes to perform in female clothes in a feminine way.      A drag queen might be straight or gay.  

SOME PEOPLE WHO ARE TRANSGENDER DO NOT LIKE BEING PART OF LGBT

  • Some transgender people who are solely sexually attracted to the opposite sex to which they identify with do not like being categorised next to Lesbian and Gay People.   They don’t like the term LGBT.  They would say it should be just LGB.  Why?  Because they feel they are essentially “straight” but in the wrong body.
  • So, for instance, Martina (who was once Martin) who is now in a relationship with David might argue that she was always a woman who was attracted to a man, the opposite sex.  She was simply trapped in the wrong body.   She would argue that she is not gay and not into same-sex relationships.
  • But other people who are transgender celebrate being part of the LGBTQIA+ collaborative.
  • This just goes to show that this area is highly sensitive and personal.   Treat every person as an individual and engage in open and honest discussion with them.   Don’t judge individuals by the categories to which YOU THINK they belong or what we have outline here.  
  • Don’t be scared of not knowing much about the LGBTQIA+ world.  If you are worried about upsetting anyone, just be open and honest.  Tell them that you don’t know much.  Tell them that you don’t mean them any offence.  Tell them that you want to learn and be educated.  Do it that way and the person on the other end will more than likely feel honoured to help their health professional understand things better.  And they will value you more for it too.  

The Split-Attraction Model

I mentioned earlier that it is a well known fact that if you go to “male saunas” (which are often sex orientated) – you will find some gay people, some bisexual, but quite a significant number of MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN (MSM for short).   

MSM people when interviewed say they love having sex with men and women.  Most are in fact married to women!  But they like sex with both.   However, when it comes to love and romance, unlike gay and bisexual people, they could not imagine themselves living their lives with someone of the same sex.   You might think they’re in denial or in the closet – BUT THEY ARE NOT.   They have no problem talking about the sex they have with men and how much they love it.  But when it comes to romance or love – they prefer the opposite sex.

This has led to the Split Attraction model .  This model advocates separating sexual orientation from romantic orientation.  

  • So, a gay male would be a person who is sexually orientated to the same sex AND is romantically orientated to the same sex.
  • A straight person would be a person who is sexually orientated to the opposite sex AND romantically orientated to the opposite sex too.
  • An MSM person is a male who is sexually orientated to both male and female BUT romantically orientated to only the female.  
  • A WSW person is a female who is sexually orientated to both male and female BUT romantically orientated to only the male.

Both MSM and WSW may be termed HETEROFLEXIBLE – individuals who are primarily attracted to people of a different sex and who typically identify as heterosexual, but who may engage in same-sex sexual activity in certain situations.      They might also be called HETEROROMANTIC – persons who are romantically, but not necessarily sexually, attracted to people of a gender different from themselves. 

MORE TERMS

  • GYNESEXUAL/GYNOSEXUAL – persons who experience sexual attraction toward women, females, and/or femininity, regardless of whether they were assigned female at birth.
  • HETEROFLEXIBLE – persons who are primarily attracted to people of a different sex and who typically identify as heterosexual, but who may engage in same-sex sexual activity in certain situations. 
  • HETEROROMANTIC – persons who are romantically, but not necessarily sexually, attracted to people of a gender different from themselves.
  • HETEROSEXUAL –  Men who experience sexual, romantic, and/or emotional attractions attraction to women, and vice versa. Also known as “straight.”
  • HOMOFLEXIBLE – persons who are primarily attracted to people of the same sex and who typically identify as lesbian or gay, but who may engage in sexual activity with people of a different sex in certain situations.
  • HOMOROMANTIC – persons who are romantically, but not necessarily sexually, attracted to people of a gender similar to themselves.
Have I fried your brain yet?   Are you feeling all confused.

Have I fried your brain yet?

Are you feeling confused?  All the terminology – has it given you a headache?   Don’t know whether your coming or going?   Information overload?

Good

Good  and….

Good.

Some of these terms of sexuality and gender may be relatively new, but trust me when I say that the people who identify as them have been around for thousands of years.  This is not a new phenomena.    The Greeks have celebrated it since ancient times – where it was not common for a husband to have a wife and “a male friend”.   In the UK, being gay and the like was no big a thing – until Queen Victoria made it seem distasteful and illegal!    The fact this is all these terms and things are new to you and causing you a bit of cognitive load shows that you are moving away from your old comfort zone and into a new way of seeing that is real to today’s world as it should have been for yesterday’s.   

The Rainbow Flag - what it really means

man waving flag in parade
  • RED STRIPE = represents Life.   We should celebrate life.
  • ORANGE STRIPE = represents Healing.   It’s time to heal and make peace with people who have been hurt, rejected, ostracised and violated.
  • YELLOW STRIPE = represents Sunlight.   There is a bright sunny future ahead of us if we will allow it. 
  • GREEN STRIPE = represents Nature.   We are all products of nature.  We are all as nature intended.  We are all natural.
  • BLUE STRIPE = represents Serenity.   The state of being balanced, calm, peaceful and untroubled.  The original flag also had turquoise in it – because when we are in a serene state, we are “magic” for each other and our expression of our diversity allows a new form of art to be born.
  • VIOLET STRIPE = represents Spirit.  Or what I prefer is “indomitable spirit” – which is impossible to subdue or defeat.
The Philadelphia Pride Flag added two more colours in 2017 – brown and black.  These two stripes represent People of Colour (POC) to show support for the racial discrimination they experienced on the gay scene.

Did you know...

We now call it LGBTQIA+ but before the year 2000, it was just LGBT.  And the symbol to represent the LGBT community was this pink triangle.   Of course, now the rainbow flag has taken over.    But do you know the origins of the inverted pink triangle?   

This might shock you.   It comes from Nazi Germany.  In the 1930s and 1940s, it began as one of the Nazi concentration camp badges.  If you were gay, bisexual or transgender you would have this tatooed or sown onto their garments and be thrown in a concentration camp.  

So, in the 1970s, the LGBT rights movement adopted it as a a symbol to represent them.   You might this that this was mad, but actually it was a very clever move.   The LGBT rights movements no longer wanted the triangle to be seen in the future as a bad thing.  So what better way than to adopt it – turning it from a hate symbol or a positively proud symbol.  They started using it as the symbol to represent  annual Pride events too.   How would the Nazis feel that their symbol had been turned from one of hate into a symbol of positive symbol of protest against homophobia.   A symbol that many gay people were proud to adopt and use.  Simply ingenious!    

If you ever watch the film Pride – which is an amazing true story – they did something similar – the gay group were mocked by the media and referred to as “perverts”.   They embraced the term and turned it into something positive – by creating the “Perverts support the Pits” movement – who raised money for the miners  during the 1984-85 miners’ strike and showing solidarity to one another.

Thoughts "closeted" LGBTQIA+ people ruminate about

Closeted LGBTQIA+ people are those people who remain hidden and to anxious to come out and tell the people around them about their sexual orientation or gender identity.    The reasons are varied and the thoughts that will be constantly ruminating in their minds are like those listed below.   And most of us will be unaware of these thoughts that many LGBTQ+ people face when they’re portraying a doctored version of themselves.   How often do you have to think about these things in a society which promotes being heterosexual as the norm?

  • Will it be okay if I come out at work?
  • It’s so tiring all that pretending with everyone
  • I just feel like an outsider
  • I often wonder “oh no, has he or she figured me out?”
  • The constant lying gets to you after a while.  And you’re lying to protect both you and them.
  • Living a double life (pretending to be straight during the day, and gay at night) – was exciting at first.  Now, it’s just exhausting. 
  • I feel bad as a person for so many lies.     Even to some of my closest people at work!
  • How am I ever going to tell them.  They’ve known me as straight for all these years.  They’re going to quiz me of this that and the other.   
  • Oh no, if I come out now, I will get the Spanish Inquisition.   They’ll quiz me over specific things and all these lies will come out.
  • I feel very loyal to the NHS and my working colleagues.  And I feel they need to know that part of me if they too want to understand me.  But I just can’t..
  • All those times when I just went with the flow.   The banter about who is hot or not.  And having to go with it and just laugh and hide.
  • If they know this side of me, will they then think I am after them?   Does it change the dynamic of everything?
  • I think if I tell them about this side of me, my mates will start being a bit more careful with what they share and not share with me.  
  • She has strong religious views.  I bet if I told her she would think that I was going to burn in hell!
  • Even though he says its all cool.   I wonder how cool it really is.  I know he is a devout religious person.   What is he really feeling inside.  I wish I hadn’t told him.

Unconcious Bias

This is about the individual, not the institution.  “unconscious biases are ‘habits of mind’ learned over time through repeated personal experiences and cultural socialisation, they are highly resistant to change”.   (Burgess et al, 2007).   We gravitate towards people like us (Boliver, 2016).   “…. even consciously egalitarian people may hold negative ethnic and racial stereotypes and attitudes of which they may not be fully conscious” (Burgess et al, 2007).   As a result, unintentional bias may be just as adverse in its effects as overt bias.

Some thoughts for you...

  • Why do you think some people prefer to stay in the closet?
  • Should they stay in the closet?   Based on all the thoughts listed on the left, would you rather not know?
  • What can YOU do to help LGBTQIA+ people feel comfortable in “coming out”?
  • If you heard homophobic or transphobic comments in your workplace, would you say anything?  Or would you walk off?  Would you do the same if comments were about skin colour?

Where does your religion fit into all of this?

 This area is touch, but one thing is for sure – we are all part of human society.  We are also all part of God’s creation.   Nearly all religions teach that life for every individual is about…

  1. LOVE – showing love for one another
  2. KINDNESS – to those who we meet
  3. FORGIVENESS – to those around us when they hurt us
  4. COMPASSION – for those who are hurting themselves
  5. CONTRIBUTION – to individuals and society.

Would you agree that we all need to be humane and kind to each other?   So, if you find that you have strong particular religious views on sexual orientation and gender, we would like to ask you…

  • Are we all the children of God?
  • Are we all meant to be created in the image of God?  
  • Did God create diversity?
  • Does God want you to express hate in the world or spread love and kindness?
  • In your faith, do you feel you will be judged ultimately by your actions or will you be judged on the deeds of others?
  • Would your life be more aligned with your faith if you concentrated on showing loving kindness and contribution to others?

GREAT LINKS

BOOKS WORTH READING

  • God’s Gay Agenda by Sandra Turnbull
  • God vs Gay by Hay Michaelson
  • What God Has Joined Together by David Myers
  • Stranger at the Gate by Mel White
  • Does Jesus Really Love Me? by Jeff Chu
  • God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines
  • My Jesus Loves Gays by Robert Williams
  • The Gay Gospels by Keith Sharpe
  • Homosexuality in Islam by Scott Siraj Al-Haqq Kugle
  • Living Out Islam by Scott Siraj Al-Haqq Kugle
  • Gay Travels in the Muslim World by Michael Luongo
  • The Man Who Was a Woman and other queer tales from Hindu Lore by Devdutt Pattanaik
  • Shikhandi: and other tales they don’t tell you by Devdutt Pattanaik

SOME MORE THOUGHTS FOR YOU

  • Is it possible that two priests might interpret the same scripture differently?
  • Do you think debating different interpretations of religious scriptures is useful? 
  • Should religion promote love or hate?   
  • Are LGTBQIA+ people the children of God – just like you and me?
  • How would you describe unconditional love?

 

My friend John... what is he?

Part 1

My friend John is married to Anna for 21 years.  They have three grown up children.    What is John’ sexual orientation?

You might think John is straight because he is married to Anna and has had kids with her.   But this is a massive assumption.   He could be straight – yes.  He could be bi.  He could be a gay person in the closet.   He could be a lot of other things.  The only way to really know is to engage in honest conversation with John.  You cannot assume just by the fact he has a family!

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Part 2

John decides one day that it is time to be honest with himself and his wife. He declares to Anna that he feels like he is in the wrong body. What is John in terms of sexuality?

John being a male who wants to be female, does not tell you anything about his sexuality.   Don’t assume that just because he wants to be a female that he will now start fancying men!    All you know with the information given is that John feels he has been born into the wrong sex – thus making him a transgender person.

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Part 3

After 4 months of distress, Anna comes to terms with it and helps John to transform into Jacqueline.  Jacqueline wears women’s clothes now.  What is Jacqueline in terms of sexuality and gender?

Again, you cannot tell what Jacqueline is in terms of sexuality.  She might be attracted to men, women, binary, nonbinary or a combination there of.  You will only know through an open discussion with Jacqueline.   
In terms of gender, she clearly wants to be a female even though she was born male.   She is a transgender person, even though she has not had any surgery yet.  And we must refer to Jacqueline as HER not HE – she wishes to be identified as female.

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Part 4

Jacqueline has had some sex-change surgery.   Her breasts have been removed.   She is still awaiting the penis to be reshaped into a vagina.   What is Jacqueline in terms of gender?

Again, Jacqueline is a transgender person.  We already know that.  Whether she has had the “full works” done or part – makes no difference.  She identifies as female even though she was born male.   She is a transgender person.  That is all we can say.   

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Part 5

Anna could not really come to terms with living with Jacqueline and they both decided to split.   Jacqueline met a nice male called Jeff online.    She was open and honest with him from the start and the two are now dating.     What is Jacqueline’s sexual orientation?

You might be thinking “arggghhh… it was all a lie, she always wanted a man.”  So was Jacqueline, who was originally Jack, therefore a gay man?

Or as Jacqueline is now trans-female, and now wants a male, Jeff – does that make her a straight woman?

Or she something different?  Read on

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Part 6

Unfortunately, it did not last.   Jeff and Jacqueline split after 3 months.    Then she met a female called Liz… but that lasted 1 month.  She met Peter, but that did not work either.  Finally she met Angela, a female, who after 18 months, she decided to marry.    What is Jacqueline’s sexual orientation?

So now, as Jacqueline seems to like both men and women, and so there must be an element of her being a bisexual person.   She was always a bisexual person, even as Jack.

However, I would like to remind you that YOU CANNOT make inferences about a persons sexuality just by their family set up or relationship.    In order to explore the whole arena of her desires requires open, honest and sensitive discussion with her.   She may disclose to you that actually she can see herself having a sexual and loving relationship with anyone – male, female, binary, non-binary, gender-fluid and so on.  That would then make her a pansexual person.

MORAL OF THE STORY:
Don’t assume!  Don’t judge.  Let go of your biases.

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How to be more inclusive

Although the graphic on the right talks about Top Tips for being inclusive with LGBTQ+ patients, the principles are good to apply in your interaction with your workplace colleagues who may be different from you in many way.

Don't be scared of not knowing much about LGBTQIA+

Firstly, they are individuals, just like all the rest of your patients.   The basic principles of love, kindness, forgiveness, compassion and contribution should extend to all people.     Your communication skills do not need to change just because people identify with being LGBTQIA+.   Your clinical history taking and examination skills don’t need to change much and neither do your Clinical Management.   The only think you’ll want to do is tailor things to the specific needs of the patient and sometimes, you may need to explore sexuality and gender for that.

And if you do have to do that but you feel unfamiliar with the LGBTQIA+ world…

  • Don’t be scared of not knowing much about the LGBTQIA+ world.  
  • If you are worried about upsetting anyone, just be open and honest.  Tell them that you don’t know much.  Tell them that you don’t mean them any offence.  
  • Tell them that you want to learn and be educated.  

Do it that way and the person on the other end will more than likely feel honoured to help their health professional understand things better.  And they will value you more for it too.  

‘The person that I am at work is now me rather than a doctored version of me.If you’re not 100% yourself how can you be 100% involved and committedand putting 100% in? It’s not like I wasn’t working hard before but there’s nodetachment or reservation now where there was before.’
Sally
"Peak Performance", Stonewall Report

Sexual Acts Glossary: it's time to stop being so sexually naive...

People, whether gay, bi, straight, binary, non-binary, have sex all the time.   Gay people are often labelled as being promiscuous – but the fact it so are straights behind closed doors.   The numerous infidelities and the high divorce rates are good evidence for that.  Yet, LGBTQIA+ people are often incorrectly portrayed as sexual deviants just because they like sex and they like it in a variety of ways!

Fact number 1:  there are loads of people out there who love sex – not just LGBTQIA+.    Just look at apps like Tindr.   Look at pregnancy rates in various cities.  The fact is, straight people are “shagging” left, right and centre.  But it’s the LGBTQIA+ who get put on centre show for it.  Is it possible that LGBTQIA+ are more open, honest and comfortable with their sexual behaviour that they don’t hide it as much as straight people?  Therefore, it is more “in the open”.

Fact number 2: there are loads of straight people who love all kinds of sex.   The Kinsey Report showed 1 in 3 straight couples engage in anal sex – and the Kinsey Report was done way back in the 90’s!   So, often LGBTQIA+ people are portrayed as having weird kinky sex.   But so do straight people.  It’s no different.   And it’s not weird – it’s diverse and colourful!   Straight people like to do it too – they just don’t like to disclose this stuff about themselves.

So, let’s talk about different sexual activities and kinks.   I want you to know about these so that when you deal with patients, you will not be stunned if someone discloses something so personal but shocking for you.   In addition, I want you to move away from thinking that all straights do the missionary position and that’s it.   I want you to move away from thinking all gay people like to have it anal!   So, let’s explore what both straight and LGBTQIA+ people really get up to…

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