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Nicole Else-Quest

In: 21st Century Psychology: A Reference Handbook

Chapter 100: Gender and Sexual Orientation

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Gender and Sexual Orientation
Gender and sexual orientation

Many cultures perceive gender and sexual orientation as major defining characteristics of an individual. Psychologists also find gender and sexual orientation to be important and interesting aspects of human psychology, and they have developed theories to explain how these aspects shape our lives. Yet, gender and sexual orientation are characteristics not just of the individual but also of the culture; others perceive and act toward us depending on whether they believe we are male or female and gay or straight. Each of us has stereotypes and beliefs about how males differ from females and how gays and lesbians differ from straight individuals. How accurate are these stereotypes? How different are we, really? Are these differences important? How did ...

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