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LGBT is shorthand for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.The “LGB” in this term refers to sexual orientation.Sexual orientation is defined as an often enduring pattern of emotional, romantic and/or sexual attractions of men to women or women to men (heterosexual), of women to women or men to men (homosexual), or by men or women to both sexes (bisexual).

Some people who have same-sex attractions or relationships may identify as “queer,” or, for a range of personal, social or political reasons, may choose not to self-identify with these or any labels.

The "T" in LGBT stands for transgender or gender non-conforming, and is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity or gender expression does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.

Some who do not identify as either male or female prefer the term “genderqueer.” While it is important to understand that sexual orientation and gender identity are not the same thing, they do both reflect differing forms of gender norm transgression and share an intertwined social and political history.

Joe Kort has been treating and writing about gender and sexual orientation issues for nearly three decades.

In his Royal Oaks, MI practice, Joe specializes in Gay Affirmative Psychotherapy and IMAGO Relationship Therapy, often treating men who are questioning their sexual orientation.

This population is the focus of his new and much needed book: .I am pleased that Joe has written this book, as I have had to deal with these questions in my own practice relatively often, as have many other therapists. Number one is the high incidence of male-female couples entering my office because the woman thinks her man might be gay. He’s actually straight, but for whatever reason he’s been looking at gay porn or he’s been having sex with men. I should probably state up-front that these questions are based on my clinical experience, not on any scientific research, but I’ve been doing this for a very long time and I can assure you that these questions are definitely on-point. I also use what I call the “beach test.” I always joke with clients that for me, as a gay man, when I’m walking on the beach and checking people out, the women are in the way.I recently spoke with Joe about the book, and I wanted to share a few of his thoughts below. Number two is that I wanted to write this book for the men themselves, because they’re usually very confused. And I think it’s very important to state right here that I’m a gay man, yet here I am saying that most of the time these men who are being sexual with other men aren’t gay. First off, I want to know if the man had any “youthful noticing.” Was he noticing other males in a sexual way when he was young? A lot of the time they didn’t know what to call it, but they knew that they had an attraction to men – the locker room, the boy scouts or wherever. I’m looking at your boyfriend, so get out of the way. When a man is in a long-term relationship with a woman but being sexual with men, either looking at porn or having actual sex, he either will or won’t be homophobic.A lot of the time these men come in on their own and they’re holding my book about coming out as gay, and they want to know, “Is this me? That’s unusual, because most gay men, even most gay therapists, believe that if a guy is having gay sex, he’s gay. With gay clients, they say they feel the same way; with bisexual clients, they say they’re looking at both the men and the women; with straight clients, they say they’re looking only at the women. Interestingly, it’s the gay men who are homophobic.The straight men have no homophobia at all – to the point where they’re willing to seek counseling from me, an openly gay therapist. Who does the man want to go to dinner and a show with, who does he want to spend the holidays with, who does he want to wake up next to in the morning? What are the psychological underpinnings for this behavior?A lot of times the gay men never even make it to me (without prompting from their wife, anyway) because they’re riddled with homophobia and I’m too gay for them. So if a client is struggling with his sexual orientation and he’s got a lot of homophobia, he’s probably gay. A gay guy wants to do all of that with a man, a bisexual guy might want a man or a woman, and the straight guy wants to only be with a woman in that way. And does that differ depending on the man’s true sexual orientation? The gay man is doing this because it’s his sexual identity.

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