Gender Identity is how one identifies himself from within. In many cases, one's gender identity can correlate with their assigned sex at birth, but in some cases, it can differ. Sexual orientation, on the other hand, is your sexual attraction to other people (Human Rights Campaign). Some common sexual orientations can be described as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or asexual.
Within the last few decades, we have seen various changes regarding gender identity and sexual orientation. In 2015 same-sex marriage, which was banned in 1997, was reinstated and was the topic of the year. Ellen DeGeneres who came out in 1997, encountered a lot of hate after she publicly came and her sitcom show was canceled. We have also seen the LGBTQ+ community appear on TV shows like “Modern Family” and more recently “Empire.” More and more LGBT individuals have dared to come out, and more of those announcements have been greeted with acceptance instead of derision.
In 2013, ninety-two percent of the LGBT community said that “society has become more accepting of them in the past decade” (A survey of LGBTQ Americans). Same-sex marriage was legalized in California in 2015. Schools have added sexual orientation to non-discrimination and harassment policies to their student handbooks. In the workforce, Title VII bans sex discrimination by not allowing employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation (EEOC).
As we come into adulthood, we have phases of trying to identify who we are and who we are attracted to, or at least I did. In my junior year of high school I started dating another female, we dated for a little bit over a year, and the experience I had was positive for me. We were both Christians, but we shared two different views on same-sex relationships. I believed that God blessed same-sex relations between Christians, while my then partner thought that it wasn’t compatible with Christianity to have lesbian desires. Every time the topic came up, I would always argue that since who you’re attracted to isn’t a choice that you make, God shouldn’t forbid you for acting on something that you think is natural. She always said that the Bible was very clear that homosexual behavior is a sin and not part of God’s will. I was still trying to reason with my partner and experience what some of my friends had, that I was trying to reason with what I truly believed. I tried to justify my action by using the bible, consciously knowing I was wrong. Although there are many people who believe in God and consider themselves homosexuals, I wasn’t apart of that community.
We should work to take a stand against gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination and harassment in school populations. The United States could learn a lot from France. In 1791 France was the first European country in the west the legalize homosexuality (Khazan, 2013). In 2001 the Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. With a supreme landmark decision, the U.S was the seventeenth country to legalized same-sex marriage.