We at the William James College INTERFACE Referral Service are keenly aware of the shortage of mental health providers of color and how racial inequities exist in medical and mental health care. The College’s Black Mental Health Academy, Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health, and other programs and academic offerings are playing a critical role in reversing this trend. We invite you to read a statement from our Black Mental Health Graduate Academy Scholars, and to stand with us as allies to drive change and address systemic racism.

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

At INTERFACE Referral Service, we focus on connecting members of our communities with mental health providers. We also value the importance of learning about the mental health conditions that may be affecting your thinking, feeling, behavior, or mood.

Therefore, we have created "Mental Health Topic Pages". The majority of our topic pages will direct you to Network of Care Massachusetts! Network of Care Massachusetts has a library database of over 30,000 fact sheets and articles. Topics on behavioral health issues are written by leading experts and organizations in their fields.

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Sexual orientation and gender identity are broad identity terms that are often confused and used in reference to a community of individuals with diverse identities.  Individuals who belong to a minority sexual orientation or gender identity groups are often lumped together despite the fact that these are very different identities. Sometimes, this community is referred to as the LGBTQ community, although this acronym excludes many identities and is thus controversial for some. For the purposes of this article, the term queer community will be used to refer to this broad group of people. Below are listed some foundational terms to be familiar with:

Sexual orientation: An individual’s identity in relation to the gender to which they are sexually or romantically attracted. Most contemporary theorists view sexual orientation as occurring on a continuum (not categorical, but rather an issue of degree) and as fluid (it may or may not change over time).

Biological Sex: A person’s biological sex refers to an individual’s anatomy as male, female or intersex. Characteristics of biological sex include sex organs (such as the penis, ovaries, vagina), chromosomes and hormones. Most individuals are assigned to one of the biological sex categories at birth based on their external sex organs.

Gender Identity: A person’s inner concept as male, female, both or neither. It refers to individuals’ internal experience of their own gender. Gender identity can be the same or different than biological sex and is also thought of as occurring on a continuum and fluid by most contemporary theorists.

Gender Expression: The external appearance of one’s gender, usually through clothing, haircut, voice or behavior. A person’s gender expression may or may not be in line with broader social expectations typically associated with masculinity or femininity and may or may not be congruent with their gender identity.


To learn more, visit these Network of Care Resources:

Gender Dysphoria

Your Teen's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity