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Someone asked us: I’m non-binary but also a lesbian. Does this mean I'm straight or does my sexuality have nothing to do with my actual gender, which is a girl?

Gender identity — like nonbinary or girl — is what gender you feel like and identify with. And sexual orientation — like lesbian and straight — is about who you’re attracted to.

Sexual orientation has to do with both your gender and the type of people who turn you on or who you’d prefer to be sexual partners with. Sexual orientation labels say whether you’re attracted to your same gender, different genders than yours, both your and different genders, and other variations.

Being “straight” usually means that you’re only attracted to people of the opposite gender. In our culture, straight usually means boys who are only attracted to girls, and girls who are only attracted to boys.

A lesbian is usually a girl who’s sexually and/or romantically attracted to other girls. But some nonbinary people also identify as lesbians. So, use “lesbian” if that resonates with you.

Only you get to decide which labels make the most sense for you, and there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to be.

There are also lots of different sexual orientation labels people use beyond lesbian and straight, like: queer, gay, bisexual, pansexual, and skoliosexual. Some people may also use questioning or fluid if they’re not sure of their sexual orientation, or if it changes from time to time. Many people who have a sexual orientation other than “straight” use the umbrella term “queer” to describe their sexual orientation.

It’s totally normal to question how to describe your sexual orientation, or to feel like none of the labels fit right now. It’s also normal to try out different labels before deciding which one fits you best. Understanding your sexual orientation and gender identity can take a long time.

Learn more about sex, gender, and gender identity.

Tags: LGBTQ, sexuality, gender identity, nonbinary