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Do you know what sexual orientation is? Learn more about the topic and understand its importance

Talking about human sexuality has always been a taboo surrounded by prejudice, especially when it comes to the LGBTQIA+ community. As much as in recent times the subject has gained openness, there are still points that need to be improved. Check here what it is and the types of sexual orientation, as well as other important information to answer your questions about it.

What is the sexual orientation that has been talked about so much lately?

To resolve some doubts and raise important reflections, the psychologist Isabella Crevelaro Bianco (CRP 08/29857), graduated from the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná, comments that, in psychology, the concept around this expression may vary according to the approach studied by the professional.

However, Isabella explains that, most of the time, sexual orientation “is related to sexual, affective and/or emotional attraction to people of a different gender, of more than one gender, of the same gender and/or others”.

In other words, sexual orientation refers to a person’s sexual and/or affective desire for another, regardless of their sex or gender. With this, it is important to know that it is classified into a few types, which will be discussed below.

Types of sexual orientation that demonstrate the plurality of desire and affection

Unlike heteronormativity, which has been socially structured for years, humanity is made up of diversity. Among them are the most varied ways of relating to someone. Thus, in the topic below, the specialist details the most common types of sexual orientation. Look:

  • Heterosexual: One of the most well-known and often seen as the “standard” when thinking about sexual orientation, heterosexuality refers to “romantic, physical, affective and/or sexual attraction between people of a different sex/gender”, he says. the psychologist;
  • Homosexual: this sexual orientation refers to “people who feel sexual, emotional and/or affective attraction to people of the same sex/gender, also defined as gays and lesbians”, he comments;
  • Bisexual: bisexuality refers to “romantic, physical, sexual and/or affective attraction to people of more than one gender/sex”, explains Isabella;
  • Pansexual: Unlike bisexuality, pansexuality “is the attraction to people regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or how people present themselves to the world.” It is more related to personal and unique elements of each individual and not directly to sexual distinction;
  • Asexual: also known as aroace, refers to “people who experience sexual attraction rarely, only under certain circumstances or even never”. The professional points out that “despite not feeling sexual attraction, a person can still have romantic relationships and feel other types of attraction”.

Finally, Isabella points out that the types presented “are just a few examples of sexual orientations, because the human being is complex and, therefore, there are several possibilities”.

Sexual orientation and gender identity: what’s the difference?

It is very common that there is some confusion between these terms, mainly because people can have some difficulty in distinguishing gender and sexuality. Therefore, Isabella elucidates the difference between these two concepts. Follow:

What is gender?

In dictionaries, the word genre is defined as “any grouping of individuals, objects and ideas that have common characters”. Because of this, the word has been misused to define people’s biological sex for years.

However, after numerous researches on human sexuality, it was observed that the expression goes far beyond the biological characteristics of the human being. In fact, gender is linked to the construction of the social roles of men and women.

In a 1995 publication for the Revista do Conselho Federal de Psicologia, researcher Maria Eunice Figueiredo Guedes states that gender “presupposes a whole system of relationships, which may include sex, but which is not directly determined by sex nor directly determines sexuality. ”.

Understanding this, Isabella explains that sexual orientation is the “inclination that each person has to feel sexual, affective and/or emotional attraction for other people”. Meanwhile, gender identity is the way each person, regardless of biological sex, perceives himself in the world, being “the way an individual feels and recognizes himself as part of a gender or not”.

Therefore, while sexual orientation will be classified as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual and asexual; gender identity will be divided into cisgender, transgender and non-binary.

Is sexual orientation an option?

In the past, the term sexual option it was widely used to refer to a person’s sexual or affective attraction. However, the term is no longer used, precisely because of the semantic meaning that the word carries.

According to the psychologist, “sexual orientation is a part of human existence and, therefore, cannot be seen as an option”. Just as a heterosexual does not choose to be attracted to someone of the opposite gender, an individual of any other sexual orientation also does not decide who he will be attracted to.

The expert also emphasizes that using the terms sexual option or sexual choice “ignores diversity as something inherent to human beings and excludes the idea that there are different ways of loving”.

Laws and sexual orientation: how does Brazil deal with the different ways of loving?

Currently, society is moving towards the deconstruction of issues about sexuality. Even so, unfortunately there is much to be done in relation to public and social policies on this topic.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, created in 1948, opens its text with the phrase “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. This means that the law guarantees – or should guarantee – equality for all people, regardless of sex, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, health conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.

In turn, the Federal Constitution of 1988 also recognizes the fundamental rights of all citizens, which includes the LGBTQIA+ population. In article 5, caput and subsection XLI, for example, the text talks about equality and points out that the State has a duty to punish any discriminatory act that violates the freedom and basic rights of human beings.

Following a chronological order, in terms of social change, a milestone occurred in 1990, when at the 43rd World Health Assembly, the WHO disregarded homosexuality as a mental disorder, withdrawing the concept from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and from the Diagnostic Manual. and Statistics of Mental Disorders (DSM).

However, it was only in 1999 that, according to the psychologist Isabella, the Brazilian Federal Council of Psychology (CFP) “prohibited all its professionals from offering or performing treatment aimed at cure of homosexuality”, because not being heterosexual is not a disease.

In addition, over the years, laws and strategies were created in order to defend the rights of the LBGTQIA+ population. In 2013, for example, the National Council of Justice approved same-sex marriage through Resolution No. 175, which was a great advance compared to other countries.

In a more recent action, the STF determined that crimes of homophobia and transphobia would be supported by Law No. that the specific law for the queer community is finally created.

In addition to these national actions, many others were created in separate ways in each state and municipality, in order to combat discrimination related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Still, according to a 2019 survey by Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB), the rate of violence and death by murder of the LGBTQIA+ population in Brazil is one of the highest in the world, which demonstrates the need for emergency development. of public policies and social education in this context.

The importance of talking about the topic in schools

Sex education is another hotly debated subject today, because gender and sexuality should be debated in institutional settings, such as schools.

About this, Isabella explains that “because of the social construction, sexuality is a topic full of myths and taboos. Therefore, children and adolescents may find themselves helpless, especially when the information is false”.

By avoiding the subject and creating a false impression that the subject does not matter, “it only maintains and intensifies the disrespect and resistance on the subject and on the people involved, causing verbal, psychological and even physical violence”.

The psychologist also emphasizes that “sexuality presents itself as something natural to human beings, from birth to death, which influences and receives influence from culture and society”.

In addition, Isabella states that the school has a fundamental role, as it is “a space for the expression of human possibilities in relation to sexuality and gender”. Therefore, it must be “a safe place, where there is respect for differences and the understanding of humanity as multiple, complex and plural”.

As you noticed, society has evolved a lot, but there are still several issues to debate. So, check out the article on homophobia and learn how to combat this prejudice.


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