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Some common terms used to describe sexual orientation:
- Bisexual – attracted to both sexes
- Heterosexual/straight – attracted to a different sex
- Homosexual – attracted to the same sex
- Lesbian – women attracted to women
- Gay – generally, men attracted to men, although some women attracted to women also identify as gay
- Pansexual – someone attracted to all sexes/genders, including transgender
- Asexual – someone who does not experience sexual attraction, but may feel other types of attraction
- Questioning – someone who isn’t sure who they are attracted to
Sexual orientation is often an important part of someone’s identity. When we identify as a certain sexual orientation, we may feel that we belong to a particular community, such as the gay community or the bisexual community.
Sexual orientation may change over the course of a person’s lifetime. A person may identify with a sexual orientation that is different from who they actually have sex with. For example, a person may identify as bisexual, but have sex mainly with people of the opposite sex. Or, a person may identify as gay, but sometimes have sex with someone of a different gender.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.