Information, advice and support.

Spectrum welcome any person in need of sexual health services into their clinics, inclusive of the different ways people identify their sexuality and gender.

This page hopes to explain a little more about sexuality and gender and provide information for people who may be feeling confused or in need of support.

There are many organisations supporting the LGBTQ community and we have listed national and local groups below.

A full list of sexuality and gender terms can be found on the Stonewall website.

Sexuality

Sexuality describes who you are attracted to in a sexual and/or romantic way. People who are attracted to the opposite sex are known as ‘heterosexual’ or ‘straight’. People who are attracted to those of the same sex as themselves are known as ‘homosexual’, ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’. People who are ‘bisexual’ feel attracted to males and females and others self-identify as ‘queer’ because they feel sexual attraction isn’t about fixing on labels.

There are also other ways to identify your sexuality however you shouldn’t face any  pressure to label yourself if you don’t feel comfortable. Some people take a while to figure out their sexuality and this is ok too. 

Sex

Everyone is born with either male or female ‘sex’ parts which is called a person’s biological sex*. This refers to their genitals, reproductive functions, genes, hormones and identifies their gender at birth. 

Just because someone is born with male/female characteristics doesn’t mean they live their lives identifying this way.

*Some rare conditions occur when babies are born with a mix of male and female sexual characteristics and it is therefore less Identifiable if they are male or female. This is often referred as ‘Intersex’

Gender

Sex and gender are two different things A person doesn’t need to identify with the gender they were assigned with at birth. Regardless of what genitals a person has, they can identify as male, female or become non gender specific. Common terms to remember are:

  • Cisgender (most common) – Someone who’s gender identity is the same sex as they were assigned at birth.
  • Trans man – Someone who was assigned female at birth but identifies and lives as a man.
  • Trans woman – Someone who was assigned male at birth but identifies and lives as a woman.
  • Non-binary – Someone who’s identity doesn’t sit comfortably as male or female.
  • Gender fluid – Someone who doesn’t identify with a fixed gender and chooses to express both male and female characteristics.

Where to find support