Sexuality and gender diversity: Overview

This module aims to offer information and debunk dangerous myths around sexuality and gender. It explains how gender and sexuality can be understood along a spectrum.

  • In every society there are dominant ideas about sex, gender and sexuality. The dominant idea about gender is usually that there are only two genders (the way we identify, or are told to behave), linked to only two sexes (the physical characteristics of our bodies) – male and female. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘gender binary system’.  
  • But there are many more than two genders, and many more than two sexes. People have different gender and sexual identities that can change over the course of their lives. 
  • This two-gender system not only insists that there are only two genders, but it also harmful because it often promotes a gender hierarchy in which women are viewed as subordinate to men.
  • The gender and sexuality binary systems reinforce stereotypes that harm everyone in society. In understanding gender and sexuality along a spectrum, faith leaders can explore opportunities to challenge harmful stereotypes and better reflect the full nature of human experience.  

This diagram, of the Genderbread Person, explains the spectrum of human experience linked to:

  • Gender identity 
  • Gender expression
  • Biological sex
  • Sexual orientation