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Lesson one: sex and gender are different
You were assigned a sex at birth (female, male, or intersex [sexual anatomy doesn’t fit typical definitions of female/male]). Your assigned sex may or may not align with how you identify. If it does (e.g. you were assigned female at birth and identify as female now), then you are cisgender. If not (e.g. you were assigned male at birth, but do not identify as male now), then you may be transgender. It’s important to note that you can be trans without identifying as male or female, as gender is non-binary (there are not just two genders), and many trans people identify outside a binary—as genderqueer, genderfluid, agender etc.
Lesson two: sexuality is diverse
Many people identify with one gender, are attracted to a different gender, and might call themselves heterosexual, or straight. Others might identify with one gender, be attracted to that same gender, and might call themselves homosexual, or perhaps lesbian or gay.
There are as many variations on this as you can possibly imagine! Bisexual people might be attracted to people who identify as the same gender as themselves and to another. Pansexual people might be attracted to people of any gender or sexual identity. Asexual people might not experience sexual attraction at all. All of these exist in varying degrees—shades of grey, not black and white.
Lesson three: identity is fluid
While some people are set in their identity, others will change throughout their life. This in no way invalidates past feelings. If you identify as a lesbian, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve slept with non-female identifying people in the past. Your history is yours, and it doesn’t negate your present, or dictate your future.
The biggest thing to take away is that everyone experiences sex, sexuality, and gender uniquely. Your experience will almost never entirely overlap with another’s. The only person who has the ability or right to define any of these parameters for you is yourself. Some people embrace labels, and some dislike them. However you experience it, your identity is valid and deserves respect.