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Cheat Sheet: Gender and Sexuality 101 from Professor Jena Curtis

Important Note

In Yes Collective Podcast Ep. 3, Jena mentions: “If your kid tells you that they are trans and you don't believe them and you make them pretend to not be trans, you are threatening their life.”

According to a 2018 study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, attempted suicide rates are alarmingly high in transgender and non-binary teens (50.8% of transgender male teens, 29.9% of transgender female teens, and 41.8% of non-binary teens).

"Being transgender is not a disease, it is not an illness, it is not a life threat, being a trans kid and trying to pretend you're not is life-threatening," Jena explains. "I teach this as suicide prevention."

Acceptance and healthy, safe conversations can be life-saving.

The Cheat Sheet


Here is a list of terms Jena explains in our podcast:

  • Asexual: “A, for asexual people who said, ‘I don't really feel like I'm attracted to anybody very much regardless of their gender.’”
  • Bisexual: “We invented the term bisexual and really popularized it in the ‘70s with the idea that there were two sexes and some people were attracted to both of them. Now that we understand that there are more than two genders that people can be attracted to.”
  • Cisgender: “We call...the 90% of the people whose sex assigned at birth corresponds with or matches their gender identity, their sense of themselves as male or female—cisgender, meaning same-gender.”
  • Gay: “Gay men...are attracted to other men.”
  • Gender: “With gender, there's an entire spectrum… We used to think that people could either be boys or girls, and that sex—our physicality, our biology—had to correspond with our gender… Now, we understand that sex and gender are separate.”
  • Gender Expression: “So my foundation, my mascara, the lipstick, the hair, is all part of my gender expression. How I portray myself as a woman in the outside world.”
  • Gender Identity: “So gender is somebody's a male or a female, and our identity is how we think of ourselves that way. Do I think of myself as a girly girl, or do I think of myself as a strong woman? ...That’s all gender identity: how do we think of ourselves and our gender?"
  • Intersex: “Someone who has the chromosomes, the hormones, or the physical genitals of both male and female sex.”
  • Lesbian: “We think of lesbians as people, women, who are attracted to other women.”
  • Neo-Pronouns: “Again, people who are transgender and genderqueer are still evolving their own language around this, so there are also what we call neo-pronouns, people are coming up with other pronouns like xe, xyr or xem,... instead of she, her, or hers.” See a more descriptive list here.
  • Non-Binary: “Five to 10% of people have a sense of themselves as something other than [male or female]...  Some people feel that their gender box or their gender label is such a bad fit that they want something else, but the other gender label isn't a better fit. People in this non-binary state—not female, not male—are still creating language to talk about that.”
  • Pansexual: “Pansexual people, people said, ‘Well, I used to think I was bisexual, but now I know that I'm attracted to men and women, and sort-of femmy boys, and sort-of really strong women with short crew cut hair... I’m pansexual.’”
  • Queer: “Queer is...for sexual orientation and gender identity. It's this big umbrella as an identity, and a signifier that someone's sexual orientation or gender identity isn't the regular old vanilla.”
  • Sex: “Sex is our biology, it is a combination of our hormones, our chromosomes, and our physical bodies… There's really three things that people can be in regard to sex: [male, female, or intersex]. Most people only know about two.”
  • Sexuality: “Sexual attraction...is about gender. So it doesn't matter if one of the women who's attracted to another woman has a penis, it is all about: do they identify as women.
  • Transgender: “So what we do when we talk about people whose sense of themselves, whose gender is different than the sex that was assigned to them at birth based on their genitals, we call those people transgender, or people who are non-binary, TGNB for short.”
  • Two-Spirited: “Two-spirited people—in native traditions, people whose gender wasn't in the binary, were sometimes identified as having two spirits.”

Cheat Sheet: Gender and Sexuality 101 from Professor Jena Curtis

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Cheat Sheet: Gender and Sexuality 101 from Professor Jena Curtis

Having THE TALK was never easy, but now it might be as challenging as ever. If you're struggling with how to approach the topic of gender and sexuality with your children, here's a helpful cheat sheet from Jena Curtis, E.d.D

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Important Note

In Yes Collective Podcast Ep. 3, Jena mentions: “If your kid tells you that they are trans and you don't believe them and you make them pretend to not be trans, you are threatening their life.”

According to a 2018 study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, attempted suicide rates are alarmingly high in transgender and non-binary teens (50.8% of transgender male teens, 29.9% of transgender female teens, and 41.8% of non-binary teens).

"Being transgender is not a disease, it is not an illness, it is not a life threat, being a trans kid and trying to pretend you're not is life-threatening," Jena explains. "I teach this as suicide prevention."

Acceptance and healthy, safe conversations can be life-saving.

The Cheat Sheet


Here is a list of terms Jena explains in our podcast:

  • Asexual: “A, for asexual people who said, ‘I don't really feel like I'm attracted to anybody very much regardless of their gender.’”
  • Bisexual: “We invented the term bisexual and really popularized it in the ‘70s with the idea that there were two sexes and some people were attracted to both of them. Now that we understand that there are more than two genders that people can be attracted to.”
  • Cisgender: “We call...the 90% of the people whose sex assigned at birth corresponds with or matches their gender identity, their sense of themselves as male or female—cisgender, meaning same-gender.”
  • Gay: “Gay men...are attracted to other men.”
  • Gender: “With gender, there's an entire spectrum… We used to think that people could either be boys or girls, and that sex—our physicality, our biology—had to correspond with our gender… Now, we understand that sex and gender are separate.”
  • Gender Expression: “So my foundation, my mascara, the lipstick, the hair, is all part of my gender expression. How I portray myself as a woman in the outside world.”
  • Gender Identity: “So gender is somebody's a male or a female, and our identity is how we think of ourselves that way. Do I think of myself as a girly girl, or do I think of myself as a strong woman? ...That’s all gender identity: how do we think of ourselves and our gender?"
  • Intersex: “Someone who has the chromosomes, the hormones, or the physical genitals of both male and female sex.”
  • Lesbian: “We think of lesbians as people, women, who are attracted to other women.”
  • Neo-Pronouns: “Again, people who are transgender and genderqueer are still evolving their own language around this, so there are also what we call neo-pronouns, people are coming up with other pronouns like xe, xyr or xem,... instead of she, her, or hers.” See a more descriptive list here.
  • Non-Binary: “Five to 10% of people have a sense of themselves as something other than [male or female]...  Some people feel that their gender box or their gender label is such a bad fit that they want something else, but the other gender label isn't a better fit. People in this non-binary state—not female, not male—are still creating language to talk about that.”
  • Pansexual: “Pansexual people, people said, ‘Well, I used to think I was bisexual, but now I know that I'm attracted to men and women, and sort-of femmy boys, and sort-of really strong women with short crew cut hair... I’m pansexual.’”
  • Queer: “Queer is...for sexual orientation and gender identity. It's this big umbrella as an identity, and a signifier that someone's sexual orientation or gender identity isn't the regular old vanilla.”
  • Sex: “Sex is our biology, it is a combination of our hormones, our chromosomes, and our physical bodies… There's really three things that people can be in regard to sex: [male, female, or intersex]. Most people only know about two.”
  • Sexuality: “Sexual attraction...is about gender. So it doesn't matter if one of the women who's attracted to another woman has a penis, it is all about: do they identify as women.
  • Transgender: “So what we do when we talk about people whose sense of themselves, whose gender is different than the sex that was assigned to them at birth based on their genitals, we call those people transgender, or people who are non-binary, TGNB for short.”
  • Two-Spirited: “Two-spirited people—in native traditions, people whose gender wasn't in the binary, were sometimes identified as having two spirits.”

Important Note

In Yes Collective Podcast Ep. 3, Jena mentions: “If your kid tells you that they are trans and you don't believe them and you make them pretend to not be trans, you are threatening their life.”

According to a 2018 study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, attempted suicide rates are alarmingly high in transgender and non-binary teens (50.8% of transgender male teens, 29.9% of transgender female teens, and 41.8% of non-binary teens).

"Being transgender is not a disease, it is not an illness, it is not a life threat, being a trans kid and trying to pretend you're not is life-threatening," Jena explains. "I teach this as suicide prevention."

Acceptance and healthy, safe conversations can be life-saving.

The Cheat Sheet


Here is a list of terms Jena explains in our podcast:

  • Asexual: “A, for asexual people who said, ‘I don't really feel like I'm attracted to anybody very much regardless of their gender.’”
  • Bisexual: “We invented the term bisexual and really popularized it in the ‘70s with the idea that there were two sexes and some people were attracted to both of them. Now that we understand that there are more than two genders that people can be attracted to.”
  • Cisgender: “We call...the 90% of the people whose sex assigned at birth corresponds with or matches their gender identity, their sense of themselves as male or female—cisgender, meaning same-gender.”
  • Gay: “Gay men...are attracted to other men.”
  • Gender: “With gender, there's an entire spectrum… We used to think that people could either be boys or girls, and that sex—our physicality, our biology—had to correspond with our gender… Now, we understand that sex and gender are separate.”
  • Gender Expression: “So my foundation, my mascara, the lipstick, the hair, is all part of my gender expression. How I portray myself as a woman in the outside world.”
  • Gender Identity: “So gender is somebody's a male or a female, and our identity is how we think of ourselves that way. Do I think of myself as a girly girl, or do I think of myself as a strong woman? ...That’s all gender identity: how do we think of ourselves and our gender?"
  • Intersex: “Someone who has the chromosomes, the hormones, or the physical genitals of both male and female sex.”
  • Lesbian: “We think of lesbians as people, women, who are attracted to other women.”
  • Neo-Pronouns: “Again, people who are transgender and genderqueer are still evolving their own language around this, so there are also what we call neo-pronouns, people are coming up with other pronouns like xe, xyr or xem,... instead of she, her, or hers.” See a more descriptive list here.
  • Non-Binary: “Five to 10% of people have a sense of themselves as something other than [male or female]...  Some people feel that their gender box or their gender label is such a bad fit that they want something else, but the other gender label isn't a better fit. People in this non-binary state—not female, not male—are still creating language to talk about that.”
  • Pansexual: “Pansexual people, people said, ‘Well, I used to think I was bisexual, but now I know that I'm attracted to men and women, and sort-of femmy boys, and sort-of really strong women with short crew cut hair... I’m pansexual.’”
  • Queer: “Queer is...for sexual orientation and gender identity. It's this big umbrella as an identity, and a signifier that someone's sexual orientation or gender identity isn't the regular old vanilla.”
  • Sex: “Sex is our biology, it is a combination of our hormones, our chromosomes, and our physical bodies… There's really three things that people can be in regard to sex: [male, female, or intersex]. Most people only know about two.”
  • Sexuality: “Sexual attraction...is about gender. So it doesn't matter if one of the women who's attracted to another woman has a penis, it is all about: do they identify as women.
  • Transgender: “So what we do when we talk about people whose sense of themselves, whose gender is different than the sex that was assigned to them at birth based on their genitals, we call those people transgender, or people who are non-binary, TGNB for short.”
  • Two-Spirited: “Two-spirited people—in native traditions, people whose gender wasn't in the binary, were sometimes identified as having two spirits.”

Important Note

In Yes Collective Podcast Ep. 3, Jena mentions: “If your kid tells you that they are trans and you don't believe them and you make them pretend to not be trans, you are threatening their life.”

According to a 2018 study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, attempted suicide rates are alarmingly high in transgender and non-binary teens (50.8% of transgender male teens, 29.9% of transgender female teens, and 41.8% of non-binary teens).

"Being transgender is not a disease, it is not an illness, it is not a life threat, being a trans kid and trying to pretend you're not is life-threatening," Jena explains. "I teach this as suicide prevention."

Acceptance and healthy, safe conversations can be life-saving.

The Cheat Sheet


Here is a list of terms Jena explains in our podcast:

  • Asexual: “A, for asexual people who said, ‘I don't really feel like I'm attracted to anybody very much regardless of their gender.’”
  • Bisexual: “We invented the term bisexual and really popularized it in the ‘70s with the idea that there were two sexes and some people were attracted to both of them. Now that we understand that there are more than two genders that people can be attracted to.”
  • Cisgender: “We call...the 90% of the people whose sex assigned at birth corresponds with or matches their gender identity, their sense of themselves as male or female—cisgender, meaning same-gender.”
  • Gay: “Gay men...are attracted to other men.”
  • Gender: “With gender, there's an entire spectrum… We used to think that people could either be boys or girls, and that sex—our physicality, our biology—had to correspond with our gender… Now, we understand that sex and gender are separate.”
  • Gender Expression: “So my foundation, my mascara, the lipstick, the hair, is all part of my gender expression. How I portray myself as a woman in the outside world.”
  • Gender Identity: “So gender is somebody's a male or a female, and our identity is how we think of ourselves that way. Do I think of myself as a girly girl, or do I think of myself as a strong woman? ...That’s all gender identity: how do we think of ourselves and our gender?"
  • Intersex: “Someone who has the chromosomes, the hormones, or the physical genitals of both male and female sex.”
  • Lesbian: “We think of lesbians as people, women, who are attracted to other women.”
  • Neo-Pronouns: “Again, people who are transgender and genderqueer are still evolving their own language around this, so there are also what we call neo-pronouns, people are coming up with other pronouns like xe, xyr or xem,... instead of she, her, or hers.” See a more descriptive list here.
  • Non-Binary: “Five to 10% of people have a sense of themselves as something other than [male or female]...  Some people feel that their gender box or their gender label is such a bad fit that they want something else, but the other gender label isn't a better fit. People in this non-binary state—not female, not male—are still creating language to talk about that.”
  • Pansexual: “Pansexual people, people said, ‘Well, I used to think I was bisexual, but now I know that I'm attracted to men and women, and sort-of femmy boys, and sort-of really strong women with short crew cut hair... I’m pansexual.’”
  • Queer: “Queer is...for sexual orientation and gender identity. It's this big umbrella as an identity, and a signifier that someone's sexual orientation or gender identity isn't the regular old vanilla.”
  • Sex: “Sex is our biology, it is a combination of our hormones, our chromosomes, and our physical bodies… There's really three things that people can be in regard to sex: [male, female, or intersex]. Most people only know about two.”
  • Sexuality: “Sexual attraction...is about gender. So it doesn't matter if one of the women who's attracted to another woman has a penis, it is all about: do they identify as women.
  • Transgender: “So what we do when we talk about people whose sense of themselves, whose gender is different than the sex that was assigned to them at birth based on their genitals, we call those people transgender, or people who are non-binary, TGNB for short.”
  • Two-Spirited: “Two-spirited people—in native traditions, people whose gender wasn't in the binary, were sometimes identified as having two spirits.”

Enjoying this article? Subscribe to the Yes Collective for more expert emotional wellness just for parents.

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