Sexual identity labels and meanings have been expanding. We explore how sexual identities are taking shape, intertwining, and emerging in new forms among a growing number of LGBTQ+ people (i.e., lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning, or people whose identities are outside the historically privileged or dominant groups of heterosexual sexual identities). We situate contemporary sexual identities in theories of the social construction of identity, intersectionality, and the life course. We review recent research that illuminates identity complexity and intersectionality, the increasingly intertwined understandings and experiences of sexuality and gender, and intersections of sexuality and gender with identities embedded in race and social class. Finally, we consider new work that situates sexual identities in the context of life course development, including life stage, developmental processes, and relationships.
- Meg D. Bishop
- Jessica N. Fish