What are some of the ways people identify?
Firstly, let’s be clear what we mean by sexual and gender identity.
Sexuality is about how you see and express yourself romantically and sexually. This is different for everyone and it is not as simple as identifying as ‘straight’ or ‘gay’.
Gender identity is how you understand your gender, how you show this to others and how you want others to treat you.
There are a range of different ways people identify with sexuality and gender. Some terms you may have heard of include:
- Transgender - A term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression is different from what they were given at birth.
- Bisexual - A term for people attracted to more than one sex.
- Takatāpui - A traditional term reclaimed by some Māori to embrace both their culture and spirituality, as well as their diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and sex characteristics.
- Fa’afafine - A term used in Samoan culture for someone born biologically male but who also expresses a range of traditionally feminine characteristics. Different to the western understanding of being transgender, fa’afafine have specific roles in society. Other Polynesian societies have similar terms, such as fakaleiti in Tongan.
The ways that people identify with their gender and sexuality are unique and personal, whether that’s female or transgender, bisexual or takatāpui. What’s important is to remember that you always deserve to feel comfortable in your own skin.