SEXUAL DIVERSITY, GENDER AND GENDER EXPRESSION

Sexual Diversity, Gender and Gender Expression

     In today's society we understand sexuality by limiting it to everything that has to do with sexual relations and genitality , but this is not the case. It is necessary to take into account the fundamental role that emotions play. These are necessary for us to experience sexuality within a more positive and non-limiting environment, as it will happen if we do not take them into account.

Sexuality is not the same as sex . To explain this I am going to rescue a definition given by the World Health Organization (WHO), where it defines sexuality as:

A central aspect of the human being present throughout life. It encompasses sex, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy, and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed through thoughts, fantasies, desires and beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, practices, roles and interpersonal relationships. Sexuality can include these dimensions, however, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, and spiritual factors.

Therefore, sexuality varies in each person since we have different ways of thinking and living. There is no specific pattern of sexuality.

The way of living and understanding sexuality changes with age . When we are children, we are curious about her; But as we grow older, this curiosity takes on an erotic hue. At this time concepts such as desire, attraction or seduction appear. Likewise, we begin to change within the biological dimension, that is, our body begins to take on new characteristics such as breast enlargement or increased penis size. I also want to highlight changes on the physiological plane, such as the hormonal revolution and, more specifically, the increase in sex hormones.

Next, it is necessary to differentiate a series of concepts that can cause confusion: gender identity and sexual orientation .

The Gender Identity refers to what I am(Female / Homre) regardless of my biological sex (Female / Male). We express this way of feeling through gender expression, that is, our way of acting, dressing, etc. We currently live in a society where there is still a man-woman dichotomy, established in gender roles. These roles determine what is considered “masculine” or “feminine”. Therefore, it can be observed how society is contributing to the existence of discrimination due to the behavior models pre-established by it. In addition, there are people who do not identify with any of these Genres or with any of the preset genres. This can lead to hinder self-determination, as well as discrimination against these people who depart from the established pattern.

Within this diversity we can find:

Cisgender

That person who, having a Gender Identity, their expression corresponds to what society understands, which would be the way of expressing themselves at a social level with that Gender Identity.

Transvestite 

Person who in certain situations behaves and dresses as a person of the opposite gender to his own. Without for this reason we say that that person has a Specific Orientation or Identity. Since transvestism is usually identified with a Homosexual Orientation or that it is a Transsexual person, we can be in front of a Heterosexual Transvestite Cisexual person

Transsexual

 It is that person who based on a genitality has been given a Gender Identity at birth, which does not correspond to their true Identity or Felt Identity.

Transgender

A person who, based on a Genitality, has been given a Gender Identity at birth, his reality being the NO Identification with any of the two predominant Identities, would be what we can call a Non-Binary Person.

Intersex

People who are born with a genital duality, having a secondary sexual development with physical characteristics corresponding to both sexes (FEMALE / MALE).

To talk about sexual orientation, you first have to determine what it refers to. Sexual orientation refers to the emotional, sexual or affective attraction that we feel towards other people. There are various models that explain sexual orientation, among them are “the dichotomous model" and “the one-dimensional model."

The dichotomous model

The model developed by Freud holds that both men and women are born bisexual. This bisexuality will be transformed over time towards an attraction for the opposite Gender. The concept “investment" referred to by the author refers to the fact that this attraction to the opposite gender does not occur, but rather that the attraction is focused on people of the same gender. Therefore, what this model comes to say is that there is a dichotomy, either you are heterosexual or you are homosexual.

The one-dimensional model

This model changes the precepts of the previous one. Kinsey affirms that this dichotomy cannot be given , since there are people whose sexual orientation does not correspond to either of the two extremes (homosexuality-heterosexuality). He established a scale (“Heterosexual-homosexual continuum” or “ Kinsey scale ”) of 0 to 6 points that ranged from exclusively heterosexual to exclusively homosexual.

Sexual orientation can be represented in a straight line. One extreme will indicate exclusive heterosexuality, and the other extreme will represent exclusive homosexuality (heterosexuality-homosexuality dichotomy). At the midpoint of these extremes are numerous and diverse orientations.

Some of the various orientations that could be represented in the line mentioned above are summarized below .

Heterosexuality

 Attraction towards people of the opposite gender.

Homosexuality

Attraction to people of the same gender.

Bisexuality 

Attraction to people of the same gender and of the opposite gender.

Demisexuality

Attraction to people with whom there has previously been an emotional connection or bond.

Lithsexuality

Attraction to other people without the need for it to be reciprocated. Autosexuality: Attraction to oneself.

Polysexuality

Attraction to people of more than two genders or sexes, but not necessarily of either gender or sex.

Asexuality

Lack of sexual attraction.

Antrosexuality

Concept used by those people who do not identify with any specific orientation or who do not feel the need to classify themselves in any of them.

In the “2013 Study on discrimination due to sexual orientation, gender identity or expression in Spain" carried out by FELGTB (State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Trans and Bisexuals) and COGAM (Collective of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals of Madrid) show very significant data regarding discrimination.

After the survey, in which the 81% of participants declared homosexuals and the 14.79% identify themselves as bisexual , have felt discriminated 45% . This is revealing, since the LGTBI population surveyed and who has felt discriminated against is almost half.

In carrying out this survey, it is explicitly asked if they have suffered any type of discrimination in their daily life, for example, in a restaurant or bar, in some other type of establishment open to the public, in a store, when trying to renting a home, in a bank or other financial establishment. The answers are as follows:

  • Ø In a restaurant or bar 30%
  • Ø In some other type of establishment open to the public 27%
  • Ø In a store 12%
  • Ø When trying to rent a home 6%
  • Ø In a bank or other financial establishment 3%

Just as there are different types of guidelines, there are various types of discrimination that we must face and end with. This hate speech can no longer have a place in our society, much less for reasons of sexual orientation and / or identity. Here are some types of discrimination:

Biphobia

It is about the attitude of rejection towards those with a bisexual orientation. This rejection is in many cases coming from two sides, one by heterosexuals (they consider bisexuality a “vice”) and on the other, by homosexuals (they consider bisexuality as a phase of “adaptation” towards homosexuality).

Lesbophobia

Discrimination of a specific nature that is exercised against women who are lesbian. It is a double contempt, for being a woman and for being homosexual.

Transphobia

He hates that it manifests itself with discrimination against Trans People (understanding Trans as an umbrella term, where we include Non-Binary people).

Multiple discrimination

When the person suffers discrimination from various sources, for example, a man who is homosexual has a disability and is an immigrant.

Endodiscrimination

That discrimination that occurs within the LGTBI collective itself

Internalized homophobia 

Attitude, towards homosexuality, negative or aversion that a person with this orientation has. This attitude is given mostly by the negative information that society has taught us about homosexuality. They feel different emotions such as fear, anger or shame when they make their homosexuality visible.

This is a small summary with some notions of what types of sexual orientations and / or identities exist. It is also very important to recognize the different forms of discrimination that exist on the basis of sexual orientation and / or identity. It is necessary to continue fighting for equal rights and in this case, for the right to free love, without anyone questioning us about how we are or how we feel.