Gender Identity – what is it?
- Gender identity refers to your sense of your own gender. You might feel that your gender is female or male, or you might feel that your gender identity doesn’t fit naturally into either of these two categories.
- Your gender identity may or may not be the same as the sex you were assigned at birth (this is the sex you were given based on your physical body at birth).
- People who feel that the sex they were assigned at birth doesn’t sit comfortably with their sense of self (their self-identified gender) might describe themselves as trans.
- People whose gender is male and who were assigned female at birth might describe themselves as trans men.
- People whose gender is female and who were assigned male at birth might describe themselves as trans women.
- People who feel that their gender identity doesn’t fit comfortably into the categories of either ‘male’ or ‘female’ might describe themselves as non-binary or genderqueer.
- There are lots of non-binary identities. Some non-binary people might feel that their gender identity is a mix of being both male and female, or that it is somewhere in between, moves between the two, or is something completely different.
- People who feel that their gender matches the sex they were assigned at birth may be referred to as cisgender (or cis).
- People who identify as not having a gender might refer to themselves as agender.
The sexual orientations and gender identities described on this page are not new. The language that’s used by people to describe themselves changes over time, but people with many different sexual orientations and gender identities have existed for centuries in many societies around the world.
You can’t choose your sexual orientation or gender identity, just like you can’t choose who you fall in love with.
No one else can tell you what your sexual orientation or gender identity is, only you know how you feel.
Although sexuality and gender identity are important, they are only a part of what makes up a whole person. People of all sexual orientations and gender identities deserve to be accepted and treated with respect.
Other useful terms
Pride – Pride refers to a worldwide movement and philosophy asserting that LGBTQ+ people should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity. June is Pride month and many events are held all over the world to recognise the impact that LGBTQ+ people have had, and to promote equality and tolerance.
Ally – An ally is (usually) a cis and/or straight person who takes action to support members of the LGBTQ+ community.