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Michigan State University

MSU Library Staff Development: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Understanding Gender & Sexuality Identities

Gender identity is the way in which a person conceptualizes themself as a gendered being or the language a person uses to describe their internal understanding of their gender. Also, one’s innate and personal experience of gender. This may or may not align with one’s gender expression or gender attribution.

Sexual identity is the language a person uses to describe themself as a sexual being. This is the preferred term for sexual orientation. One’s sexual identity may or may not align with one’s sexual behavior or sexual attractions. A few common sexual identity terms include bisexual, pansexual, lesbian, gay, and straight. 

LBGT Resource Center. (2019). LGBTQA+ Glossary. Michigan State University: Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender Resource Center. 

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Michigan State University