Thanks for chiming in Amby!
I wasn't initially clear enough it seems. What I am saying or trying to emphasize it that sexuality and sexual orientation should not be looked at as being synonomous. One has a choice component while the other seems to be derived by more natural means.
Your topic is a bit confusing to me but regardless, are you stating that in order for one to claim themselves of a certain sexuality, they would have to engage in sexual acts?
For clarification purposes, I quickly consulted dictionary.com;
sexual character; possession of the structural and functional traits of sex.
recognition of or emphasis upon sexual matters.
involvement in sexual activity.
an organism's preparedness for engaging in sexual activity.
one's natural preference in sexual partners; predilection for homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.
It would seem that even the dictionary lumps these two together. I believe I somewhat comprehend what you are trying to say. Somewhat. And judging from your response, you seem to strongly oppose labels. But if one has a natural tendency to "crush" on a same-sex member, what does the sex component matter?
Because of this, I am saying that it is the act of sex that determines whether one is gay, straight, etc.
There are people that have had crushes on members of both sexes at young ages who have never acted upon the feelings generated by said crushes and those individuals grew up to then choose one over and lived happy lives without ever acting on their pre-adolecent bisexual impulse. Should such a person be considered bisexual, and if so, why?
If they were really crushing then I should assume technically, yes. Regardless of if they desired acting on it or not. Sexuality can include sex, but it doesn't have to. I understand that many homosexual/bisexual people use sex as a means to promote their orientation. (The gay pride parade.) There are many who do not and shy away from such things. Even if someone was say, straight, but engaged in the act of sex with say a same sex member - I wouldn't sum them up as homosexual or bisexual.
Perhaps sexual orientation has SOME similarities with race, but the two are hardly long line parallels. Race cannot be hidden or controlled while one's sexuality can be controlled and one's sexual orientation can be veiled.
Sexuality CAN be controlled, but in a love context not really; as sex in general seems to be a huge part of being a human being both culturally and biologically. And ones race can technically be veiled as well. But people with a race aren't expected to veil themselves anymore -- why should someone choose to veil themselves? I doubt that choice would even exist if society's views were different.
For those reasons alone, the race comparison is not a good one.
I do disagree, but would a reference to left-handed people be a good comparison? Here is something in which sexuality has quite a bit in common with. Left handedness was not a choice. People were forced to 'hide' it when it was considered 'evil'. In some cases, people were harmed for simply being left handed. (And again, much of this discrimination was because of religion.) One could CHOOSE to engage in right handedness but we eventually learned no such choice is needed. Left handedness has actually become sort of a 'label' in itself, where some people will even place up magnets or signs detailing their pride in being left handed or listing off famous left handed people.
What does two-spirited refer to?
Sorry, perhaps this is used more in Canada? It's a description of Indigenous North Americans/ Canadian First Nations who use any of the many mixed gender roles found in these groups originally. There has been many two spirited people in many Native tribes. I guess it roughly reflects (for example) believing a male spirit resided in a female body. (One example, there are many more!)
Is it fair to lump transgender in with gay and lesbian?
Again, similar to a gay or lesbian and many stand by them. (Not all.) They are equally as discriminated against and are known to form 'alliances' with the homosexual/bisexual/two spirited communities. I'd say it's somewhat fair.