In today’s society sex and gender seem to have two separate connotative meanings. Sex is a more scientific term that explains physical traits and sexual preferences. Gender carries a more social tone. Meaning that it refers to the different clothing, activities, career choices, and positions people hold in society. A person’s social status helps separate or classify the two sexes. Gender identity can be defined as, "an individual's self-conception as being male or female, as distinguished from actual biological sex." If a person's self-conception differs from their actual biological sex then they are said to be transgendered.
Sexual orientation is, "an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, or both sexes." According to the American Psychological Association "it also refers to an individual’s sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them."
Gender identity and sexual orientation are therefore similar in the fact that both reflect an individual's self-conception.
The difference is that sexual orientation also includes sexual behaviors. It is therefore a more empirical (observable) trait.
Sex is the total sum of physical characteristics that distinguish males and females from each other. The most distinctive difference in characteristics is that man and women have different reproductive organs. This is pretty obvious and so are other traits like facial hair, deep voices, and muscular builds. It is not often that you see a six foot five inch bearded lady who sounds like Barry White walking around. Women are smaller and feminine. They normally walk with a switch and speak with soft voices. These descriptions may not apply to all men and women but they are pretty good examples of what to look for if confused.
That brings me to my other definition of sex. Sex is also known as the preference of sexual partner or mate that one desires. A person’s preference determines their sexual identity. There are three types of preferences. First there are heterosexual people who like people of the opposite sex. There are homosexual people who prefer partners of the same sex. And then there are bisexual people who like to have partners who are either male or female.
The environments that some people are raised in contribute to confusion about their sexual identity. Some people say that these preferences were present the day that they were born. I feel that it is one’s own choice what preference they choose. No person is born straight or gay. Certain traits may get mixed up when dealing with people who like to cross dress. Those are people who like to dress like the opposite sex. Some people get sex change operations and become transsexuals. There are even people who are born with both a male organ and female organs. They are called hermaphrodites. I feel sorry for them because they didn’t ask to be born with such a deformity.
Gender consists of social classifications that help determine sex. With the rapid changes in gender equality it is not as easy to separate sex by what a person does for a living. What position they hold in society or a household is not a good indication either. Years ago I could have said