Here are some concepts that will help you understand and talk about human sexuality with your child.
Sexuality or sexual orientationThe sexual and romantic feelings we have towards other people, and the kinds of people we have them for. People usually fit somewhere on a spectrum between completely attracted to males or completely attracted to females, with a lot of people being attracted to both.
Completely attracted to people of the opposite sex. Often known as straight.
Completely attracted to people of the same sex. Often known as gay (for men) or lesbian (for women).
Attracted to both sexes. This can vary a lot - some people are attracted mostly to men, and a little bit to women, or attracted more sexually to one gender, and emotionally to the other. For many it changes over time.
People who prefer to say they are attracted to all kinds of people, regardless of their gender. Used by people who want to recognise and support those that are not completely male or female, or choose to identify as something else.
Facts to remember
There’s a lot of different information around about people’s sexuality and gender. To help, here are some important facts based on recent research and understanding:
- No children are taught or influenced to be gay or to identify as a different gender by any other person. It’s a normal part of human diversity; it’s part of our biology. These things occur in all kinds of species, not just ours.
- Being trans (transgender or transsexual) doesn’t mean you are gay. These terms describe someone’s inner sense of their gender identity and their choices about it. It does not describe their sexual attraction to other people.
- Being gay or trans does not mean people are mentally ill. Unfortunately, because of the bullying, exclusion and harassment they sometimes face, same-sex attracted people and people who change their gender, are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, or to think about suicide. Supporting and accepting them, and ensuring they are loved, is the best protection against this.