• 1st Place - IWPA
    1st Place - IWPA
    2nd Place - NFPW Communications Contest.
  • Sex & Sexuality are Social Identity Categories
    Sex & Sexuality are Social Identity Categories
    DIFFERENCE is how ONE varies from...
  • Social Identity Categories:
    Social Identity Categories:
    Age, Gender, Race, Sexuality, Social Class, Profession...
    All developed to communicate with others
  • MANY
    Sexual Social Identities Exist
  • The Scale of Identity is FLUID

Why does Sexual Difference Matter?

Our culture has normalized heterosexuality and constructed a sex-negative attitude.

This MARGINALIZES and OPPRESSES sexual others.

How? I'm glad you asked...Let's Play!

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences. Audre Lorde

Deconstructing Concepts You Might Have Heard or Read


Hierarchical Binaries

Heteronormativity is a group of norms centering on gender roles (male/female) that assumes heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation and that enacting heterosexuality through marriage or opposite sex relationships is the correct and natural path one should take in life. These hierarchical binaries create superiority.

It's Oppressive

Heteronormativity perpetuates an ideology that anyone that deviates from heterosexuality and universal gender norms is not normal. Therefore, anyone who might innately or biologically feel more masculine/feminine than their gender or who might not identify with either gender (intersex/transgender) as well as anyone who sexually identifies as lesbian/gay/bisexual/asexual might have difficulty feeling safe enough to express their true selves.

There is no original or primary gender a drag imitates, but gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original.Judith Butler
Social Construction

Social Construction

Due to our need to communicate with others, much of what is communicated are things we are creating to convey our reality. When others relate, re-affirm, and reciprocate that communication then our reality persists. An example is gender. Our gender influences how people interact with us as children. Girls are not born with a burning desire to play with baby dolls and boys are not born with a sign that says, "blue onesies bring out the chisel in my chin." These ideas are not simply given to us by nature; they are fabricated and reproduced by us constructing a reality.


From the time we are born, we are absorbing messages from parents, family, friends, teachers, and the media about how we are supposed to behave and be in the world. These messages shape our self-perception as well as our perception of others with regards to gender, race, class, sexuality, and religion. Socialization teaches us about the most common occurrences we probably don't think much about such as our vocabulary or amount of eye contact we engage when talking.

Due to socialization, children will accept social identity categories as real and natural. Yet they are not. Brenda J. Allen

It Is What It Is

The belief that differences are not socially influenced; instead differences are innate. Furthermore, those intrinsic characteristics are what make things what they are - different.

Fixed and Unchanging

This is problematic because essentialism sees the differences in men and women or homosexuals and heterosexuals as different from the inside out. Meaning they are born that way and; therefore, unchangeable. This is not always the case. These categories can shift over time and across cultures. Furthermore, it presents a patronizing attitude of, "It's okay because you can't help it," along with suggesting that there is something wrong with choosing to be homosexual or different.

The ability to choose cannot be taken away or even given away - it can only be forgotten. Greg McKeown

Appreciation for Sexual Diversity

There truly is no such thing as “normal” sex. People exercise pleasure in numerous ways; however, we are fed a narrow script that does not represent all the variations of sex and sexuality.

All People Have the Right to Sexual Agency and Education

This pertains to young people’s developing sexualities, older adults, those with disabilities, and any sex or gender identity on the spectrum. Comprehensive sex education for everyone is imperative to promoting sexual health that is consensual and reduces risk, stigma and shame.

The only unnatural sex act is that which you cannot perform. Alfred Kinsey
More About Sex-Positivity Sex-Positive Workshops

Domination by Consent

Let's face it, there is a dominant group that leads and controls the direction of our social lives. We freely consent to this control. We just don't always think of it as control, but this is hegemony.

Who Reinforces these Power Dynamics?

Our organizations, institutions, and media reinforce this control and we blindly go along to receive the benefits even if doing so doesn't serve us. An example would be employees doing all they can to achieve a sales goal or the act of women wearing makeup.

The true focus of revolutionary change is never the oppressive situations which we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within us.Audre Lorde


An egalitarian person is someone that believes in the principle that all people are equal and deserve the same rights and opportunities. Not that we all have to be the same, simply that we all deserve the same opportunities.

Egalitarianism aka Equality

There are typically two avenues to tackle here, the social and the political. Egalitarianism is often thought of as a social philosophy supporting the removal of inequalities among people relating to social affairs. The second is political in nature with the notion that all people should be treated as equals with the same political, economical and civil rights.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men [sic] are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.Thomas Jefferson

Intersecting Social Identities

When various biological, social and cultural categories such as gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, religion, age and other axes of identity interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels one can study the related systems of oppression, domination or discrimination that exists known as Intersectionality.

Interacting to Form Social Hierarchy

What began with the exploration of the oppression of women of color in society in the 1960's is now applied to all socially constructed categories of differentiation serving as a framework to understand how systemic injustice and social inequality occur on a multidimensional basis. Intersectionality holds that the classical conceptualizations of oppression within society, such as racism, sexism, classism, ableism, biphobia, homophobia, transphobia and belief-based bigotry, do not act independently of one another. Instead, these forms of oppression interrelate; creating a system of oppression that reflects the "intersection" of multiple forms of discrimination. - (according to Wikipedia)

There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not lead single-issue lives.Audre Lorde

The Nature of Being/Existing

Ontology is a branch of metaphysics that deals in philosophical thinking regarding the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality. It begs the questions, "Does this thing exist?" If so, "What is it and how do we define it and group/categorize it in relation to other things?"

What Can We Know & Understand?

How does truth or reality exist? These wooden pieces in front of me are assembled with the purpose of sitting. We will call this thing a chair as well as other items similar chairs. This human being that exists in front of me with a beautiful ambiguously gendered body is not male or female, but simply Intersex.

But what is I that I am? A thinking thing.René Descartes

The Study of Knowledge

Epistemology is the theory of knowledge that describes the many approaches we can choose to understand the world. It deals with the process or strategy of research that seeks to understand how we know the truth or reality?

By What Conduit Do We Know What We Know?

Socrates said that rational knowledge gives us an adequate picture of the world. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion. In other words, it ponders how you know a chair is a chair if you're not sure you know how you know a chair is a chair. So figure out how you know...that's epistemology. The evangelical condemnation of intersex and transgender identity points to a crisis of men and women’s epistemology because it threatens how they know what they know. Regardless of the fact the Bible doesn’t address these identities as a sin, many evangelicals assume so due to the creation story involving only the description of male and female.

How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.Abraham Lincoln

It's Privilege When...

You don't ever have to think about it (whatever the IT may be). You might not think it is a problem because it is not a problem to you personally. Meaning you are privileged. Some things are automatically given to you based on your social identity(ies). Therefore, people might treat you a particular way just based on your social identity(ies).

Coming Out As Straight?

Did you have to come out to your parents as straight? Did you ever think twice about holding hands or kissing your loved one in public? Consider yourself lucky. Most sexual "others" are faced with extreme anxiety and concern for their safety over the thought of simply holding their lovers hand in public. Keep in mind - you are not being oppressed when another group gains rights you've always had.

What is a minority? The chosen heroes of this earth have been in a minority. There is not a social, political, or religious privilege that you enjoy today that was not bought for you by the blood and tears and patient suffering of the minority. It is the minority that have stood in the van of every moral conflict, and achieved all that is noble in the history of the world.John B. Gough
Media Literacy

Media Literacy

We are bombarded with media every second of the day from television and music to new digital and social media like podcasts and Facebook. It is important to take a moment to analyze and evaluate the messages we are receiving to understand the differences between myths and facts about sex as well as the allure of sexualized portrayals in the media that influence our decisions concerning sex.

Questions to Ask

Who created this media? What values are represented? How do other people interpret it? How does it catch my attention? What techniques are the producers using to draw me in? Who is the intended audience? Most importantly, what is omitted or what viewpoints are not represented? Asking these questions can assist in thinking critically before interpreting the complex messages we consume.

Media literacy is not just important, it's absolutely critical. It's going to make the difference between whether kids are a tool of the mass media or whether the mass media is a tool for kids to use. Linda Ellerbee

Learning the Language Related to Sexual Difference

Helpful Terms to Know. A Glossary of sorts...

A gender expression that has elements of both masculinity and femininity. Occasionally used in place of “intersex” to describe a person with both female and male anatomy. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

An asexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. Unlike celibacy, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who we are. Asexuality does not make our lives any worse or any better, we just face a different set of challenges than most sexual people. There is considerable diversity among the asexual community; each asexual person experiences things like relationships, attraction, and arousal somewhat differently. Asexuality is just beginning to be the subject of scientific research. - (according to asexuality.org)

BDSM is a variety of erotic practices or roleplaying involving bondage,
dominance and submission, sadomasochism, and other interpersonal dynamics. Given the
wide range of practices, some of which may be engaged in by people who do not consider
themselves as practicing BDSM, inclusion in the BDSM community or subculture is usually
dependent on self-identification and shared experience. Interest in BDSM can range from
one-time experimentation to a lifestyle.

A medial term used to refer to the chromosomal, hormonal and anatomical characteristics that are used to classify and individual as female or male or intersex. Often abbreviated to simply “sex”. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

A bi person has the capacity for romantic and/or sexual attraction to more than one gender. For most people, that simply means that you can be attracted to both men and women. If you honestly feel you meet that criteria, then you are bisexual. - (accroding to bisexual.org)

A person whose gender identity and biological sex assigned at birth align (e.g., man and male-assigned). “Cis” is a latin prefix that means “on the same side (as)” or “on the side (of).” – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

A behavior that grants preferential treatment to cisgender people, reinforces the idea that being cisgender is somehow better or more “right” than queerness, or makes other genders invisible. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

An individual who is not open to themselves or others about their (queer) sexuality or gender identity. This may be by choice and/or for other reasons such as fear for one’s safety, peer or family rejection or disapproval and/or loss of housing, job, etc. Also known as being “in the closet.” When someone chooses to break this silence they “come out” of the closet. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

The process by which one accepts and/or comes to identify one’s own sexuality or gender identity (to “come out” to oneself). Or the process by which one shares one’s sexuality or gender identity with others (to “come out” to friends, etc.). This is a continual, life-ling process. Everyday, all the time, one has to evaluate and re-evaluate who they are comfortable coming out to, if it is safe, and what the consequences might be. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

Someone who wears clothes of another gender/sex. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

Disabled bodies are not sexualized even though sexuality certainly exists; we simply refuse to acknowledge its presence. Our culture tends to think people with disabilities are not able to have "real" sex or simply do not need sex. This has led to a history of seclusion, loss of sexual agency, and a lack of sex education within various communities.

Someone who performs masculinity theatrically. A drag queen is someone who performs femininity theatrically.  – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

A term referring to a masculine presenting lesbian. While often used derogatorily, it can be adopted affirmatively by many lesbians (and not necessarily masculine ones) as a positive self-identity term. 

Abbreviation for female-to-male transgender or transsexual person. MTF is an abbreviation for male-to-female transgender or transsexual person. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

Fag(got) is a derogatory term referring to a gay person, or someone perceived as queer. Occasionally used as a self-identifying affirming term by some gay men, at times in the shortened form ‘fag’. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

Femme is someone who identifies themselves as feminine, whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally. Often used to refer to a feminine-presenting lesbian. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

Gay is a term that primarily refers to a homosexual person or the trait of being homosexual (A male who experiences romantic love or sexual attraction to other males). Commonly used when referring to males, but can also be used to refer to females. A lesbian is a female homosexual: a female who experiences romantic love or sexual attraction to other females. The term lesbian is also used to express sexual identity or sexual behavior regardless of sexual orientation, or as an adjective to characterize or associate nouns with female homosexuality or same-sex attraction. - (according to Wikipedia)

The idea that there are only two genders-male/female or man/woman and that a person must be strictly gendered as either/or. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

The external display of one’s gender, through a combination of dress, demeanor, social behavior, and other factors, generally measured on scales of masculinity and femininity. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

Gender fluid is gender identity best described as a dynamic mix of boy and girl. A person who is gender fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel more man. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

The internal perception of one’s gender, and how they label themselves, based on how much they align or don’t align with what they understand their options for gender to be. Gender identity is often confused with biological sex, or sex assigned at birth. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

Most people use gender expression and presentation interchangeably for how you present or express your gender. Some folks say both terms can refer to how others see your gender. These words don’t make since to me in this context so I’m making up my own term of Gender Perception to mean how others might perceive the gender you are expressing and presenting. One might be presenting as female and enter a female restroom only to run into complex issues because other’s perceive her as male. This is why gender neutral restrooms are so important, but also why the differentiation and awareness of the terms as well as one’s own gender expression/presentation versus other’s perceptions of gender expression/presentation is so vital.

Is a catch-all term for gender identities other than man and woman, thus outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity (sometimes referred to as non-binary). People who identify as genderqueer may think of themselves as one or more of the following:

Both man and woman (bigender, pangender);
Neither man nor woman (genderless, agender);
Moving between genders (genderfluid);
Third gender or other-gendered; includes those who do not place a name to their gender;
Having an overlap of, or blurred lines between, gender identity and sexual and romantic orientation. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

Behavior that grants preferential treatment to heterosexual people, reinforces the idea that heterosexuality is somehow better or more “right” than queerness, or makes others sexualities invisible. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

A person primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex. Aka Straight. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

A (medical) term used to describe a person primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex. This term is considered stigmatizing due to its history as a category of mental illness, and is discouraged for common use (use gay or lesbian instead).
Until 1973 “Homosexuality” was classified as a mental disorder in the DSM Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This is just one of the reasons that there are such heavy negative and clinical connotations with this term. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

“Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. For example, a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside. Or a person may be born with genitals that seem to be in-between the usual male and female types—for example, a girl may be born with a noticeably large clitoris, or lacking a vaginal opening, or a boy may be born with a notably small penis, or with a scrotum that is divided so that it has formed more like labia. Or a person may be born with mosaic genetics, so that some of her cells have XX chromosomes and some of them have XY. The total number of people whose bodies differ from standard male or female is approximately one in one hundred births. - (according to Intersex Society of North America)

Kinkiness or kinky, is a colloquial term used to describe unconventional sexual practices,
concepts or fantasies. The term derives from the idea of a "bend" (cf. a "kink") in one's
sexual behaviour, to contrast such behaviour with "straight" or "vanilla" sexual mores
and proclivities. The term "kink" has been claimed by some who practice sexual fetishism
as a term or synonym for their practices, indicating a range of sexual and sexualistic
practices from playful to sexual objectification and certain
paraphilias. - (according to Wikipedia)

The hatred or dislike of women and girls. Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination belittling of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women. Misogyny can be found occasionally within ancient texts relating to various mythologies.
Misogynoir is a term referring to misogyny directed towards Black women, where race and gender both play roles in bias. It was coined by queer Black feminist scholar Moya Bailey, who created the term to address misogyny directed toward black women in American visual and popular culture. Trudy of Gradient Lair, a womanist blog about Black women and art, media, social media, socio-politics and culture, has also been credited in developing the lexical definition of the term.

The concept is grounded in the theory of intersectionality which analyzes how various social identities such as race, gender, class, and sexual orientation interrelate in systems of oppression.

Transmisogyny is the intersection of transphobia and misogyny. It was coined by Julia Serano in her 2007 book Whipping Girl and is used to describe the unique discrimination faced by transwomen because of "the assumption that femaleness and femininity are inferior to, and exist primarily for the benefit of, maleness and masculinity, and the way that transphobia intensifies the misogyny faced by trans women (and vice versa). Transmisogyny is a central concept in transfeminism and is commonly seen in intersectional feminist theory. The suggestion that transwomen's femaleness (rather than their femininity) is a source of transmisogyny is rejected by some feminists, who believe that trans women are not female. - (according to wikipedia.org)

Transmisogynoir is the oppression of transwomen of color, and trans feminine people of color, more generally. It exists at the intersection between transphobia, misogyny, and antiblackness. This oppressive force is caused by a combination of cisnormativity, the gender binary, shite supremacy, and other kyriarchal forces. Importantly, cis Whiteness, a chiefly Western concept, is at the root of this form of transmisogynoir. - (according to sjwiki.org)

Our culture perceives older adults as non-sexual beings as if everyone’s sex drive simply stops at some magical age. As a result we limit and discourage their ability to be sexual as they enter assisted living facilities and forget that sex education is still important to prevent STIs and foster safe sexual agency.

Pansexuality, or omnisexuality,is sexual attraction, romantic love, or emotional attraction toward people of any sex or gender identity. Pansexual people may refer to themselves as gender-blind, asserting that gender and sex are insignificant or irrelevant in determining whether they will be sexually attracted to others. Pansexuality may be considered a sexual orientation in its own right or a subset of bisexuality, to indicate an alternative sexual identity. Because pansexual people are open to relationships with people who do not identify as strictly men or women, and pansexuality therefore rejects the gender binary, the "notion of two genders and indeed of specific sexual orientations." - (according to Wikipedia)

Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of intimate relationships that are not exclusive with respect to other sexual or intimate relationships, with knowledge and consent of everyone involved. It has been described as "consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy",and may or may not include polysexuality (attraction towards multiple genders or sexes). - (according to Wikipedia)

A phrase used as an affirmative way of asking someone how they would like to be referred to (common examples: she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs, ze/zir/zirs). – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

Think of queer as an umbrella term. It includes anyone who a) wants to identify as queer and b) who feels somehow outside of the societal norms in regards to gender or sexuality. This, therefore, could include the person who highly values queer theory concepts and would rather not identify with any particular label, the gender fluid bisexual, the gender fluid heterosexual, the questioning LGBT person, and the person who just doesn’t feel like they quite fit in to societal norms and wants to bond with a community over that. It is a fluid label as opposed to a solid label, one that only requires us to acknowledge that we’re different without specifying how or in what context. - (according to pflag.org)

A phrase used to intentionally recognize a person’s assigned sex, often abbreviated SAAB (or FAAB, “female assigned at birth”; and MAAB, “male assigned at birth”). – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

A term used by some medical professional to refer to a group of surgical options that alter a person’s biological sex. In most cases, one or multiple surgeries are required to achieve legal recognition of gender variance. “Gender confirmation surgery” is considered to be a more affirmative term. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

Sex workers include men and women and transgendered persons who offer sexual services in exchange for money. The services may include prostitution (sexual intercourse) and other services such as phone sex. Sex workers engage in this for many reasons, but the key distinction here is that they do it voluntarily. They are not coerced or tricked into staying in the business but have chosen this from among the options available to them.

Sex work is often confused with sex trafficking, but they are very different. The trafficking of women and children into sexual slavery is undeniably a gross abuse of human rights. Like all trafficking, it involves coercion or trickery or both. Sex trafficking is an odious forms of trafficking, but it is far from the only one. Men, women and children are also — and more commonly — trafficked routinely for purposes of household and farm labor as well as sweatshop manufacturing. Their lives may be less media-genic than those of sex trafficking victims, but they are no less brutal, dangerous and degraded. - (according to rhrealitycheck.org)

The type of sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction one feels for others, often labeled based on the gender relationship between the person and the people they are attracted to (often mistakenly referred to as sexual preference). – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

The types of sexual intercourse, stimulation, and gratification one likes to receive and participate in. Generally when this term is used, it is being mistakenly interchanged with “sexual orientation,” creating an illusion that one has a choice (or “preference”) in who they are attracted to. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

Swinging is a non-monogamous behavior in which both singles and partners in a committed relationship engage in sexual activities with others as a recreational or social activity. The swinger community sometimes refers to itself as "the lifestyle", or as "the alternative lifestyle". - (according to Wikipedia)

An umbrella term covering a range of identities that transgress socially defined gender norms. Or a person who lives as a member of a gender other than that expected based on anatomical sex.

Because sexuality labels (e.g., gay, straight, bi) are generally based on the relationship between the person's gender and the genders they are attracted to, trans* sexuality can be defined in a couple of ways. Some people may choose to self-identify as straight, gay, bi, lesbian or pansexual (or others, using their gender identity as a basis), or they might describe their sexuality using other-focused terms like gynesexual, androsexual, or skoliosexual.

So a Trans person (Trans is often shortened for identities or descriptive terms like transexual, transgender, genderqueer, FTM-Female to Male or MTF-Male to Female) might choose the identity label of Transman, Transwoman, Transvestite-aka cross-dresser, Transexual-someone who has altered their body hormonally and surgically, or Transitioning-speaking to the process). – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

This term is primarily used to refer to the process a trans person undergoes when changing their bodily appearance either to be more congruent with the gender/sex they feel themselves to be and/or to be in harmony with their preferred gender expression. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

An identity label sometimes adopted by female-to-male transgender people or transsexuals to signify that they are men while still affirming their history as females.

Transwoman is an identity label sometimes adopted by male-to-female transgender people or transsexuals to signify that they are women while still affirming their history as males. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

A person who identifies psychologically as a gender/sex other than the one to which they were assigned at birth. Transsexuals often wish to transform their bodies hormonally and surgically to match their inner sense of gender/sex. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

A person who dresses as the binary opposite gender expression (“cross-dresses”) for any one of the many reasons, including relaxation, fun, and sexual gratification (often called a “cross-dresser”, and should not be confused with transsexual). – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

Is a term traditionally used by Native American people to recognize individuals who possess qualities or fulfill roles of both women and men. Being “two-spirit” was traditionally considered an honor, and a mark of wisdom, instead of being viewed as a stigma that it is in other cultures. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

As children grow into young adults they are fed mixed messages as well as a vast amount of misinformation about sex and sexuality through the media, peers, parents, and educational institutions due to fear of simply having an open conversation about sex and sexuality. Our youth are often treated as nonsexual beings even as they become sexualized. To prevent sexual repression and shame, it is important to acknowledge their developing sexual bodies and sexuality.

Alternate pronouns that are gender neutral and preferred by some trans people. Pronounced /zee/ and /here/ they replace “he” and “she” and “his” and “hers” respectively. Alternatively some people who are not comfortable or do not embrace he/she use the plural pronoun “they/their” as a gender neutral singular pronoun. – (according to SJAH: A Guide To Gender)

Hear Personal Stories of sexual "others" by visiting the BLACK SHEEP BLEAT page.