We've debunked some common gender identity and sexuality myths and revealed the truth behind them!
The myth: Being gay is a choice
The truth: Just like those famous Lady Gaga lyrics, studies have shown that gay people are ‘born this way’. A study in the 1990s found that genetic variations in a region on the X chromosome were linked to whether men were straight or gay. A study from 2017 even found individual genes that may influence how sexual orientation develops in boys and men, both in the womb and during life. Although not as much research has been done about women’s sexuality, these studies go to show that biology does indeed play a part in who you’re attracted to.
The myth: All people who are transgender need to undergo surgery to truly be the gender they identify as
The truth: Not every trans person wants to undergo surgery and that’s doesn’t make them any less of a man or woman. Surgery is a very personal choice and some people may not want an invasive procedure and some people may just love their body the way it is. You don’t need a penis to identify as a man and you don’t need a vagina to identify as a woman.
The myth: There are only two genders; male and female
The truth: Many people get biological sex and gender confused. Biological sex is what your chromosomes dictate you are and gender is a social construct of roles and behaviours. When someone is born, they are assigned male, female or intersex (biological characteristics of both male and female). However, as people grow and their personality and identity develops, they may feel that they are more male, female or somewhere in between these two binaries.
Gender is a spectrum and people don’t always fit neatly either side. One of the amazing things about humans is that we’re all totally unique and this applies to our gender identity too!
The myth: Bisexual people are gay but just won’t admit it
The truth: The clue is in the name bisexual – bi people are attracted to males and females! If people are coming out as bisexual, respect that and don’t assume they’re just saying it to ‘test the waters’ before coming out as gay. Bisexuality is a legitimate sexuality and just because some people may not understand that you can be attracted to both males and females, doesn’t mean bisexuality doesn’t exist.
The myth: Trans people are gay
The truth: Gender identity and sexuality are two separate things. Some trans people are gay, some are straight, some are bisexual, some are pansexual… you can see where this is going! Gender identity doesn’t determine who you’re attracted to.
The myth: If you are a cross-dresser or gender queer you want to change gender
The truth: Just because someone enjoys dressing up as the opposite sex or dress in a non-tradition male/female way doesn’t mean they want to change their gender. People enjoy expressing themselves in loads of different ways and clothing and appearance is one of them.
The myth: All gay men have anal sex
The truth: Anal sex is just one sexual activity that gay guys may engage in, but there are lots of other intimate things you can do that aren’t anal. It’s up to each person involved to decide what they want to do and what they feel comfortable doing. Some gay men don’t enjoy anal sex and that’s fine! Your sexuality doesn’t need to dictate what kind of intimate activities you enjoy! Find some anal alternatives on www.thedicktionary.co.uk.
The myth: Lesbians can’t get sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
The truth: As a sexual health team, we come across a lot of people who mistakenly believe that you can get an STI through sex between women. You can! If you’re a woman who has sex with women, you should still get a full check-up between each sexual partner and take measures to prevent STI transmission with new partners. Use dental dams for oral sex and use wash sex toys between each partner or pop a condom on it.