The information on this page is meant for a variety of youth and abilities. Some youth may be able to look at this material on their own. Others may need the help of a trusted adult. Some of the words used in this section may be new to you and can seem hard to understand. It’s good to learn more as these words are used by more people.

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE)

Growing up includes learning about yourself, what you want in your life and who you want to have relationships with. This includes learning about your identity. Your identity is about how you understand your SEX and GENDER.

Gender Identity

 

When you were born, you were labelled as a girl or boy – this is your sex. People born with a penis are male, people born with a vagina are female. As children grow up, their family, school and even the media show how to be a girl or a boy. This includes the clothes you wear, the toys you play with, or the jobs men and women should have. This is how people develop their gender as they feel like a girl/woman or boy/man. It’s Ok if you don’t identify with any sex or gender. This is called gender non-binary or non-conforming.

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What does intersex mean?

When someone is born with genitals that are not clearly male or female, they may be identified as intersex.

Most of the time, our sex at birth (the body parts) match how we feel.

This is called being cisgender. But sometimes they don’t match. Some people grow up feeling that the sex they were labeled as does not fit with how they feel inside. Someone in a male’s body might feel like a girl. Someone in a female’s body might feel like a boy. When sex and gender don’t match, – this is called transgender.

To learn more about sex and gender, watch Sex assigned at birth and gender identity: what’s the difference
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Good to know

Using pronouns is a way people can show their identity. When we ask someone their pronoun, we show respect. Usual pronouns are she/he/they. If someone uses the pronoun ‘they’ it does not mean they are trans.

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Sometimes I get all the words messed up. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. What should I do if I say the wrong thing?

Just say sorry and move on. You are trying and that’s what’s important. If someone uses the wrong pronoun for you, don’t get mad. Talk about why pronouns are important to you so that you can help them learn for next time.

Have you seen the rainbow and trans flags?

When you see the flags, it can show that the service is working to welcome everyone, no matter their sex, gender identity, the way they show their gender or their orientation.

Have you ever wondered what the words for LGBTQ2S+ mean? Watch the video to learn about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
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What does LGBTQ2S+ mean?

The letters LGBTQ2S+ are used to help people show their identity with different communities. Each letter means gender or sexual orientation:

L

Lesbian

Female who has attraction and feelings for females

G

Gay

Often used for male who has attraction and feelings for males; also can be for people who are attracted to the same sex

B

Bisexual

Person who has attraction for males and females

T

Transgender

Someone whose sex does not match with their gender

Q

Queer or questioning

A way to describe sexual and gender diverse communities; questioning means a person who is unsure of their sexual orientation or gender identity

2S

Two-spirit

Someone who is Indigenous may use this term to describe their gender identity or orientation

Yes, it’s a lot to know. Don’t worry about all the different words. Just know that you can identify however you want to and that you’re not alone.

Feeling good about you

Growing up can be confusing and exciting. If you have questions about sex and gender, talk to an adult you trust. This might be your parents or family, if you feel safe. It could also be a teacher, support worker or community leader.

There are services in your community that can also help including KidsHelpPhone

Watch the video ‘Felling Good about being You’ as Alex and friends learn that it’s important to be who you want to be and show the world who you really are.
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If you have questions on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, contact kidshelpphone.ca