Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation

*Click here for Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation Charts and Stats

Sexual orientation is an identity based on whether someone is attracted to people of a sex different than their own, the same sex, or both sexes (i.e., heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual). Gender identity is a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or somewhere else along the gender spectrum,” according to

The sourced articles below should provide more information on the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity.

Footnote: 1. “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity,”, accessed 5/26/2018

  1. Answers To Your Questions For A Better Understanding Of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality

    A brochure from the Office of Public Communication, in collaboration with the Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, answering basic questions about sexual orientation, homosexuality, and listing some of the available resources. Available in Arabic, Chinese (simplified and traditional), English, Russian and Spanish.

    American Psychological Association,, accessed on 3/25/2019

  2. Methods And Measurement In Sexual & Gender Minority Health Research

    “The NIH Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office (SGMRO) recognizes the growing need to develop better measures and methods to accurately capture and understand the health of sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations. The information provided highlights work within the field of SGM methods and measurement. These resources are not exhaustive. They may be useful for those looking to better understand how to capture SGM populations in research and clinical settings but do not represent standards required by NIH.”

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health,, 3/15/2019; (Broken link removed 10/2023)

  3. Sexual-Minority Patients Prefer Nonverbal Data Collection

    “Sexual- or gender-minority (SGM) patients report greater comfort and improved communication with nonverbal collection of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) information in the emergency department, according to a study published online Dec. 28 in JAMA Network Open.”

    HealthDay News,, 1/4/2019

  4. Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity Definitions

    “Sexual orientation: An inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people.
    Gender identity: One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.”

    Online Resource,, accessed on 5/26/2018

  5. The Lies And Dangers Of Efforts To Change Sexual Orientation Or Gender Identity

    “Some right-wing religious groups promote the concept that an individual can change their sexual orientation or gender identity, either through prayer or other religious efforts, or through so-called ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy. The research on such efforts has disproven their efficacy, and also has indicated that they can be affirmatively harmful.”

    Online Resource,, accessed on 5/26/2018

  6. What It Means To Be Asexual, Bicurious — & Other Sexualities You Need To Know

    “When we think about sexual orientation, what probably comes to mind for most people are the three listed in the well-known acronym: LGBT. That’s lesbian, gay, and bisexual (the T stands for transgender, which is a gender identity, not a sexual orientation). Some might even think of the Q that’s sometimes tacked on to the end of that acronym and most often stands for queer.”

    Kasandra Brabaw,, 5/18/2018

  7. Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity: General Information

    “What’s the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation? Many people confuse the two, but here is a simple way to understand the difference: gender identity is more about ‘who you are’ (boy, girl, both, or neither) and sexual orientation is about ‘who you have a crush on.'”

    Online Resource,, 5/18/2018

  8. U.S. Census To Leave Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Questions Off New Surveys

    “In a written statement, a Census Bureau spokesperson says the report ‘inadvertently listed sexual orientation and gender identity as a proposed topic in the appendix. This topic is not being proposed to Congress for the 2020 Census or American Community Survey.’ … Many LGBT rights groups were disappointed to see the topic disappear from that list. Reliable data about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are hard to come by, and advocates say policymakers need that information to make informed decisions.”

    Hansi Lo Wang,, 3/29/2017

  9. Affirming Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity

    “As I describe in the post ‘When Sex and Gender Don’t Match,’ psychologists use the term ‘sex’ to refer to male or female attributes of the body, and they use the term ‘gender’ to refer to the psychological experience of feeling masculine or feminine. For the vast majority of people, biological sex and psychological gender more or less line up.”

    David Ludden PhD,, 12/6/2016

  10. Why Heteronormativity Is A Bad Thing

    “It’s about time we kicked heteronormativity to the curb. Never heard of the term before? It’s the idea that binary gender identity and heterosexual orientation (meaning, there are only two sexual orientations and genders) are the norm. Gender identity is where you see yourself on the continuum of gender (if you identify with the sex you were born with at birth, you are considered cisgender). Meanwhile, sexual orientation is who you are attracted to, and can range from being straight/heterosexual, to being gay or anything on the spectrum between.”

    Kristen Cochrane,, 9/1/2016

  11. Practice Guidelines For LGB Clients: Guidelines For Psychological Practice With Lesbian, Gay, And Bisexual Clients

    “Each of the 21 new guidelines provide an update of the psychological literature supporting them, include a section on ‘Rationale’ and ‘Application,’ and expand upon the original guidelines to provide assistance to psychologists in areas such as religion and spirituality, the differentiation of gender identity and sexual orientation, socioeconomic and workplace issues, and the use and dissemination of research on LGB issues. The guidelines are intended to inform the practice of psychologists and to provide information for the education and training of psychologists regarding LGB issues.”

    American Psychological Association,, 1/2012