Youth Voice: Sex, Gender, and Identity 101

Erin is a student and Peer Educator volunteering with CHATpdx.

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In this world, there is a misconception by major groups of people that believe that sex and gender are the same exact thing. This is incorrect. By reading the basics of Sex, Gender, and Sexual Identity.

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For starters, what is sex? Sex is based on the biological characteristics used to label people as male or female such as  X and Y chromosomes,  internal and external sex organs, hormonal levels and things like hair growth and breast development. Most people think that there is only male and female, but that isn’t true. Some people can be born intersex, which is a general term used for a variety of conditions where a person is born with biological characteristics (such as hormones, chromosomes, reproductive or sexual anatomy) that don’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.


And Gender? Your gender identity is how you identify and present yourself, for example as a boy or man, or as a girl or woman, or gender neutral. Your gender can be what ever, even if it isn’t the same as your biological sex, which is called transgender . People express their gender in many ways, expressing your gender is a spectrum of feminine to masculine. Things such as race, culture, age, ability and even your personality can influence the way someone precises their own gender.

Sexual Identity

Sexual identity is based on feelings,attractions and desires. There is a great spectrum of sexuality, and there is a difference between sexual identity and sexual behavior, for example, someone could be straight but still hookup with someone of the same gender. An example of sexual identity is asexual, having no sexual attraction to anyone.

Finally, we come to pronouns. A pronoun is how someone expresses their gender. A woman may prefer feminine pronouns (her,she), just like a gender neutral person prefers pronouns that don’t disclose male/female, such as (they,them,per,perself). And,also, you should always use gender neutral pronouns, so you don’t mistakes someones gender, which can cause mental health issues.

So, in conclusion, I hope that this has expanded your knowledge.

The Future is Bright: LGBTQ Youth Leaders Convene in Oregon


“Sitting in what appeared to be a second grade classroom, one of the conference’s youth organizers walked us through interactive role-playing activities to learn how we could be respectful and empowering allies to youth. Much of this involved checking our assumptions that we had to step into caretaker roles when interacting with youth, and instead practicing active listening to determine what, if anything, we needed to do to be an actual support and ally. It felt pleasantly appropriate for a room full of adult allies to spend a portion of our time at OQYS in a classroom learning all we could from these extraordinarily capable youth teachers.10455310_660342550720396_6915029344656935698_n

My clear takeaway from this summit was that this is not where queer and trans* youth come to learn how to become engaged leaders—it is where engaged you

th leaders come to further develop their already expansive skills, build connections with their peers from across the state, and use their energy to create meaningful social change—and have some fun while they’re at it.”



I’m A Girl Who Wanted To Be A Boy


I’m A Girl Who Wanted To Be A Boy

” I look at this list as a whole, and I don’t see a girl or a boy, but a child. I wanted to play outside, I wanted to draw with all the colors of the wind, I wanted games with sharks and dinosaurs and I wanted dolls (creepy, creepy dolls). I’m not saying this to let you know how cool I was—I think my use of the word “pest” takes care of that for me—I’m saying that this should serve as a reminder that kids enjoy all kinds of toys, and those toys don’t have to be SO. VERY. GENDERED. Because it can mess with kids’ heads in very lasting ways.

As a child, I saw that girls were only allowed to like dolls and the color pink. But I liked blue and dinosaurs, so I assumed that I couldn’t be a girl. And to my confused child brain, if I didn’t want to be a girl, I must want to be a boy. A – B = C. ”

– Emily Shepard

What It’s Like Being A Faggot At A Black Barber Shop

“For almost a decade my staple barber shop was Smooth’s in New Haven, right on Whalley Avenue, right next to Popeye’s. I’d roll out of my dorm on a Saturday morning and put on the most heterosexual, straight-acting drag I could think of and, really, whatever was left on the floor: sneakers and my ugliest, least skinny pair of jeans, a plain white t-shirt. And I would even sometimes wear a baseball cap or a hoodie and cover my head, just so my queerness wouldn’t be legible. This wasn’t me, this was the boy I needed to be to get a haircut.”

So thoughtful – This is what intersectionality really means.


Great personal message from outside the US!

Alex Sparrowhawk


“I’m HIV positive” – not a line I was expecting to hear whilst watching Emmerdale a week ago, they’d kept this storyline quiet from the online spoiler pages and press, but I had an immediate and instinctual feeling that this was a good thing.

There are many reasons why this storyline is important. Firstly it isn’t conforming to modern stereotypes society holds of the ‘typical’ HIV patient. Val isn’t a gay man, a black man/ woman or an intravenous drug user. Val is a middle aged, white and married woman living in the countryside ‘up north’ not a council estate in one of our major cities. She’s not portrayed as someone outstandingly clever but nor is she pictured as stupid. Val has a husband, grown up children, one of whom is gay. She runs a bed and breakfast business, in essence she’s really rather normal.

And that’s the fundamental message…

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