Sexual orientation describes your emotional or sexual attraction to others. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same thing.
For many people, sexual orientation may change over time. Sexual orientation may not always reflect sexual behaviours.
Terms to describe sexual orientations include:
The word homosexual is outdated. And some people who are emotionally or sexually attracted to people of the same sex may also find the term insulting (offensive). When you talk about people who are attracted to members of the same sex or gender, it’s best to say gay or lesbian.
People may use other terms to describe their sexual orientation (such as demisexual or omnisexual). If you don’t understand, ask what that term means to them.
You might also hear the word ally when people talk about sexual orientation. An ally is someone who advocates for (supports) the human rights of sexual- and gender-minority people by challenging discrimination and heterosexism.
If you have questions about your sexual orientation or gender identity, it can be comforting and helpful to talk to people who know what you’re going through.
You can find local and online support groups. If you don’t know where to find support:
The following organizations offer support:
Current as of: December 18, 2020
Author: Diversity and Inclusion, AHS
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.