Sexual Orientation definitions

Sexual Orientation:

A person’s feelings of romantic or sexual attraction to another person. Sexual orientation is categorized in the following ways:

  • Heterosexual: Romantic or sexual attraction to the opposite sex: males attracted to females, females attracted to males.
  • Lesbian: A female who is romantically or sexually attracted to other females.
  • Gay: A male who is romantically or sexually attracted to other males.
  • Bi-Sexual: A male or female who is romantically or sexually attracted to both sexes.
  • Queer or Questioning: Some people find the above terms oppressive and do not identify with them, and instead prefer the term “queer”. Others are still in the process of determining their sexual orientation and go with the term “questioning”; it can be a confusing process, often only becoming clearer as one matures into adulthood.


A person whose gender identity, gender expression, or anatomy (i.e., how they look or act) does not fit into the conventional expectations associated with being male or female. They are frequently assumed to be bisexual, lesbian, or gay, but this may or may not be true.


A person who experiences intense personal and emotional discomfort with the gender they were assigned at birth. Some transsexual individuals may undergo treatments to physically alter their body and gender expression to correspond with what they feel their true gender is.

Two Spirit

Some Indigenous people identify themselves as Two Spirit rather than as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Historically, two-spirited persons were often respected as leaders for their unique abilities to understand both male and female perspectives.

References: American Psychological Association (2011) Definition of terms: Sex, gender identity, sexual orientation. Retrieved from