Youth: Sexual and Gender Awareness and Self-Awareness|
by Staff Writer - July 25, 2022
Can the cat be put back into the bag or is it already to late?
- Sexual and gender awareness is seeking to understanding that there are a variety of sexual and gender differences in other people.
- Sexual and gender self-awareness is seeking to understand your own gender or sexuality and what it means to you.
- Heteronormativity describes the ways in which heterosexuality is normalized through myriad practices, so that it becomes naturalized as the only legitimate form of sexuality.
Over the past 10 years, we have seen a veritable explosion of new sexual and gender identity labels that people, especially young people, are using to describe themselves. Many young people for a verity of reasons including sex education and an almost unlimited and instant access to new information on the internet are finding that they don't neatly fit into the old categories of straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or even what it means to be boy or girl. This is the great chasm that separates the beliefs and behaviors belonging to members of many of today's youth from the political, religious, and educational institutions and belief systems of the older generations. Politicians, religious leaders and parents have begun to accuse educators of trying to "sexualize or groom children" or that teachers are trying to turn children and adolescents into gays, or even worse trying to convince them that they are transgender. There is very little truth to be found in any these accusations and it is more an attempt to "shift blame" i.e. "my kid doesn't really feel that way and it is the teachers that have brainwashed him to say that or thinking that way etc..." The reality is closer to the fact that young people are learning a plethora of information from many sources, not only their school, but also from their peers, and from the internet and then applying what fits to themselves and in some places receiving acceptance from their peer group for their non majoritive identities. The question that still remains is whether this sexual and gender awareness revolution is going to be able to flourish or will it wilt and die in the toxic soil of a reinvigorated heteronormative resurgence?
Over the past year in the United States, there has been significant push-back against allowing the sexual awareness of young people. A number of new state laws have have been purposed and have been passed that target sexual and gender minority youth, and in some cases their parents. As of the beginning of July 2022, ten new laws aimed at sexual minority youth went into effect, all of them related to education. Most of these laws are similar to Florida’s "Parental Rights in Education act" which has been dubbed "The don't say gay law" banning classroom discussions of gender and sexuality, supposedly for grades K-3, but has already been used to prevent seniors from discussing their sexual orientation during their commencement ceremony speech. A number of states have enacted laws preventing transgender girls from playing sports, and in some states outlawing gender affirming care as well as criminalizing both their parents and their doctors. None of these laws are intended to help the kids. They are intended to score votes for the politician, appease parents and the various religious institutions and promote heteronormativity. Sexual awareness and self-awareness in young people frightens adults, especially parents. Many parents are under-educated themselves regarding sexuality and politicians and others happily feed into this by spreading disinformation, such as that young people are being taught that they can "choose" their sexuality or gender. They are being deceived into believing that their heterosexual children are being turned gay or transgender, which is neither true or possible, even in very young children. Because of the increased amount of information young people are receiving what it does do is put them in touch with all the different aspects of their own sexuality. They didn't get "turned this way", it was already there. They simply have learned the language and gained the social freedom/acceptance necessary in order to express it.
The following are some examples of the popular terminology being used to describe sexuality and gender, as well as minor attraction. This list is not inclusive and there are many hundreds of other words and acronyms that are also being used.
- Androsexual - A term used to communicate sexual or romantic attraction to men, males, or masculinity. This term intentionally includes attraction to those who identify as men, male, or masculine, regardless of biology, anatomy, or sex assigned at birth.
- Asexual - Someone who identifies as a member of the asexual community experiences little or no sexual attraction to others of any gender. Asexuality is a broad spectrum. People who identify as asexual may also identify with one or more other terms that can more specifically capture their relationship to sexual attraction. (sometimes referred to as "ace")
- Aromantic - A person who’s sexually attracted to themselves. Someone’s desire to engage in sexual behavior such as masturbation doesn’t determine whether they’re autosexual.
- Autoromatic - A romantic orientation that describes a person who’s romantically attracted to themselves. People who identify as autoromatic often report experiencing the relationship they have with themselves as romantic.
- Bisexual - A sexual orientation that describes people who experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attractions to people of more than one gender.
- Biromantic - People who experience romantic attraction, but not sexual attraction, to people of more than one gender.
- Cupiosexual - Cupiosexual describes asexual people who don’t experience sexual attraction but still have the desire to engage in sexual behavior or a sexual relationship.
- Demisexual - This romantic orientation describes people who experience romantic attraction only under specific circumstances, such as after building an emotional relationship with a person.
- Gay - A term that describes people who experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to people of the same or a similar gender.
- Graysexual - is used to acknowledge the gray area on the sexuality spectrum for people who don’t explicitly and exclusively identify as asexual or aromantic.
- Grayromantic - A romantic orientation that describes individuals whose romantic attraction exists in the gray area between romantic and aromantic.
- Gynesexual - A term used to communicate sexual or romantic attraction to women, females, or femininity.
- Heterosexual - A term that describes people who experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to people of the “opposite” gender (e.g., male vs. female, man vs. woman) or a different gender.
- Homosexual - people who experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to people of the same or a similar gender.
- Lesbian - A woman or female-identified person who experiences sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to people of the same or a similar gender. However, it’s important to note that not all lesbians are female-identified; some define their identity as more nonmale or femme than female or feminine.
- Libidoist asexual - A term used to describe an asexual person who experiences sexual feelings that are satisfied through self-stimulation or masturbation.
- Non-libidoist asexual - Referring to an identity on the asexuality spectrum, a non-libidoist asexual is someone who doesn’t experience any sexual feelings or has an active sex drive.
- Omnisexual - s similar to pansexual and can be used to describe people whose sexuality isn’t limited to those of a particular gender, sex, or sexual orientation.
- Pansexual - A term that describes people who can experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to any person, regardless of that person’s gender, sex, or sexuality.
- Panromantic - A term that describes people who can experience romantic, or emotional (but not sexual) attraction to any person, regardless of that person’s gender, sex, or sexuality.
- Polysexual - A term that describes people with a sexual orientation that involves sexual or romantic attraction to people with varying genders. Polysexual orientations include bisexuality, pansexuality, omnisexuality, and queer, among many others.
- Queer - An umbrella term that describes people who aren’t exclusively heterosexual. The term “queer” (the Q in LBGTQIA+) acknowledges that sexuality is a spectrum as opposed to a collection of independent and mutually exclusive categories. Use of the word opens up options beyond lesbian, gay, and bisexual to people who don’t fit neatly into these categories or prefer a category that isn’t dependent on sex and gender.
- Sapiosexual - A word used to describe those who experience attraction based on intelligence, rather than sex or gender.
- Skoliosexual - A sexual orientation that describes people who are sexually attracted to those with non-cisgender gender identities, such as people who are nonbinary, genderqueer, or trans.
- Spectrasexual - A term that describes people who are sexually or romantically attracted to multiple or varied sexes, genders, and gender identities, but not necessarily all or any.
- Straight - Also known as heterosexual, straight describes people who experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to people of the “opposite” gender (e.g., male vs. female, man vs. woman) or a different gender.
- Agender – having no gender or being genderless
- Androgyne – identifying somewhere in between man and woman
- Bigender – having two gender identities, either at the same time or interchangeably
- Demiboy – partially, but not completely, identifying as a man, boy, or masculine person
- Demigender – having partial connection with one gender (male, female, or other)
- Demigirl – partially, but not completely, identifying as a woman, girl, or feminine person
- Enby – a slang term to refer to a non-binary person, not all non-binary people identify with this term
- Genderfluid – moving between two or more gender identities at different times, in different circumstances, etc.
- Genderqueer – a non-normative or queer gender, having no exclusive connection to any gender
- Multigender – having more than one gender
- Neutrois – neutral or null gender, similar to agender
- Non-binary – an umbrella term to describe people whose gender is neither man or woman; can also be used as an individual gender identity for someone who is neither a woman nor a man, but does not identify further
- Pangender- having many or all genders within one’s culture
- Transfeminine or Transfem – a person assigned male at birth (AMAB) who identifies with a feminine gender, but does not necessarily identify as a woman
- Transmasculine or Transmasc – a person assigned female at birth (AFAB) who identifies with a masculine gender, but does not necessarily identify as a man
Minor attraction and Identities
- Boylove - is an umbrella term used to describe a sexual attraction to boys.
- Little boy lover - A person who is attracted solely or primarily to prepubescent boys.
- Teen boy lover - a person who is attracted to pubescent or post-pubescent boys.
- Pederast/Pederasty - A form of Boylove modeled after the Greek tradition, typically between an adolescent male and an adult male.
- Minor attracted person/people (abr. MAP) - is an umbrella term used to describe someone who experiences sexual, romantic, or emotional attractions towards people under the local age of majority. Often used to replace the clinical and pejorative term pedophile.
- Childlove - a sexual attraction for both boys and girls.
- Girllove - a sexual attraction for prepubescent and adolescent girls.
- Note: There is a great deal of fluidity in age of attraction and very few people fit neatly into any of the following clinical descriptions.
- Nepiophile - a sexual attraction for children less than 5 years old.
- Pedophile - a sexual attraction for prepubescent children.
- Hebephile - a sexual attraction for adolescents, typically ages 11–14
- Ephebophile - a sexual attraction for mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19.
Other attractions by age
- Teleiophile - is the word used to describe a person who is attracted primarily to mature adults.
- Mesophile - is a sexual attraction for middle-aged adults.
- Gerontophile - is a sexual attraction for the elderly.
With all these different terms is it any wonder that there is enormous confusion within our society and that even the lawmakers at the highest levels of government are repeatably asking people, "what is a women?" or "define women". It is partly because the definitions are in flux. How people, especially young people are thinking about it is evolving and changing. As a result, parents and politicians are pointing their fingers at the schools and asking, "what are they teaching our children?"
Sexual education in many places throughout the United States instead of providing accurate information to students has become an indoctrination tool of the various social ideologies, and religious, and political factions. The curriculum has become a virtual tug of war between the competing dogmas and agendas, with each side striving to control the dialog and accusing the other of improprieties, including accusations of "sexualizing children", grooming children for sex, and using schools as "laboratories of social engineering". The upshot of this is that young people are turning more and more to other sources of information such as the internet and social media, chat sites, and pornography sites, their peers, and to other information resources for their sexual education available to them. Instead of getting the simple mechanics of sex and STD prevention that sexual education once provided, many young people are learning from a much larger and more diverse landscape. Of course, many adults question whether young people are receiving accurate information? But anyone who can do a basic search of the internet can see what is available and decide for themselves whether or not it is accurate. It is almost certainly a different perspective than their parents and people of the older generations have on gender and sexuality.
Though sexual and gender awareness and self-awareness has increased among young people, it is not assured that this trend will continue. Religious and political institutions, radical right-wing groups, and conservative individuals have mounted a campaign and sustained attack against sexual and gender minority youth to ensure that heterosexuality remains the only legitimate form of sexuality and that male and female remain defined as, "the gender assigned at birth". New laws have been enacted directed at schools preventing educators from discussing issues regarding sexual orientation and gender issues with students. Anyone who dares to challenge these efforts are being accused of being pedophiles and grooming children for sex. Disinformation is being directed at parents that sexual orientation and gender identity is a choice and that homosexuals are trying to recruit their children. But can the flow of of sexual and gender information actually be stopped at this point? Probably not. But these attempts to do succeed in cutting off gender and sexual minority youth from supportive adults and often the support of their peers as well. "50 percent of LGBTQ teens (ages 13–17) seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. And 18 percent actually made a suicide attempt."  "The Trevor Project estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth (13-24) seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S. — and at least one attempts suicide every 45 seconds." These are the causalities in the battle to maintain heteronormativity.