Issues Of Sexual Identity

Perhaps the most important identity issue to be recognized by a young person today is that of sexual identity. In today's increasingly cognizant society, while there is still stigma attached to those pursuing lifestyles other than heterosexuality, those who realize and honor the fact that their sexual orientation isn't mainstream do receive more acceptance than in the past. This ever increasing awareness and acceptance of differences in lifestyle facilitates increased mental and physical health for those who realize that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

During their formative years every individual undergoes the process of recognizing and accepting their sexual identity. In the case of those who deem themselves to be unequivocally of a heterosexual nature this poses no problem in a society, such as ours, where such a predilection is the prevailing accepted orientation.

For those who determine that their sexual identity falls into a category considered with less than of a positive nature their life road may be a bit harder to travel on. Fortunately the biases and prejudices of the past are, every so slowly, being eroded away and it's becoming more commonplace to hear about people who are openly pursuing gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender lifestyles. And sexual identity is not causing them to suffer derogatory treatment.

And sexual identity has been determined to be preordained and not the choice that so many felt it was in less enlightened times. These days being able to find support groups and others of like minds has made it much easier to be true to one's sexual identity and live happier, healthier lives, both mentally and physically. Since a fundamental aspect of sexual identity is sexual orientation being confused and torn about which sex one is attracted to can be devastating. Some equate sexual orientation with sexual preference which insinuates that one decides which gender, male or female, one will be attracted to. We know that to be an incorrect concept. While the origins of sexual orientation aren't fully understood it has been determined that it is established before the age of five and is the result of factors such as genetics and hormones.

The integration of your sexual identity is imperative in facilitating a healthy adult development. As mentioned already heterosexuality is the predominant and most widely accepted form of expressing sexual identity in the US. The great preponderance of media driven role models, images and messages, as well as those coming from peers, family members and friends touts the attributes stereotypically associated with being heterosexual. Unless one has firmly announced or "come out" to declare a different life style it's assumed that one is heterosexual. For those coming to grips with the realities of being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender it can be a very lonely, frustrating time without some positive role models and others of like mind to talk to.

True sexual identity is the result of personal feelings and desires regarding which gender one is attracted to, sexual thought, fantasies and behavior, what gender one is able to achieve sexual satisfaction with and which lifestyle one chooses to follow. Because many people still live in areas filled with bias towards anything other than heterosexuality many decide to forgo their true feelings and adopt, at least publicly, a sexual identity considered socially acceptable. An accepting society enables one to figure out and pursue a sexual identity comfortable to each and individual and sexual identity crisis can be avoided.

Occasionally violently aberrant behavior results when an individual is mistreated and becomes frustrated and overwhelmed. Much emphasis is placed on a person's sexual identity by our culture and those not able to express theirs in a healthy manner may at the very least live unhappy, repressed, confused lives at worst they may become the social deviants of the next newscast.

Fortunately more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of being open  minded and sexual identity as a means of judging ones worth if becoming an antiquated notion.

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