Sexual orientation describes one’s sexual attraction, and there are multiple labels that one can use in order to describe it. There are an infinite number of identities, and it should be noted that the meanings of these labels often change due to social or cultural shifts. Our sexuality is not fixed, but rather, it is fluid; people may identify with different labels at different points in their life. Some people will figure out what term they identify as, and identify that way their whole life, while for others, the labels they use to express their identity may shift. As new definitions and understanding emerge with regard to sexual orientation, people may then redefine themselves.
For individuals going through this discovery, there are many forums, groups, and organizations out there that support inquiry around one’s sexual orientations. Many are organized around specific identities, such as groups that support lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, queer, asexual, etc. In addition to sexual orientation, monogamy and polyqueer identities are other terms to consider in this conversation, as they relate to the expression of sexual orientation.
There is no question that progress has been made in the United States surrounding sexuality and gender equity; however, local, state, and federal governments continue to legislate policy that disadvantages LGBTQIA+ people, while hate crimes and other forms of discrimination persist. This is why LGBTQIA+ is still considered a protected category.