Gender identity is your personal sense of your own gender, there’s lots of different terms, so let’s explore them together
Gender identity is how you might describe your gender and reflects how you feel about who you are. It relates to your sense of self and how you feel in your head, rather than anything physical. This means that your gender identity is different from your biological sex, which is related to your reproductive organs and secondary sex characteristics (like hormones). As gender identity and sex are separate things, this means that, for some people, they don’t match up.
What Does Cisgender And Transgender Mean?
A cisgender person is someone who feels that the gender that they were assigned when they were born (based on their biological sex) matches their gender identity. Transgender people often feel their gender identity doesn’t match up with the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans is an umbrella term that can include non-binary and genderqueer people, as well as binary trans people.
Non-binary or genderqueer people may feel as though they do not fit into either of the binary genders, male or female. They could instead identify as all genders, none at all or anywhere else on the wider gender spectrum. Gender is a fluid thing and can change, for some people this could be everyday or over the course of their lifetime. Some people may always identify as the gender they were assigned at birth and some may realise they don’t. There’s always plenty of time to explore and think about your gender.
What Is Gender Dysphoria?
Gender dysphoria is different for everyone, but for many trans people it means they feel uncomfortable in their bodies or with how other people may perceive them. They may feel that due to their sex assigned at birth, they are not viewed or treated as the gender they identify as. Some trans people feel this so strongly they may want to undergo hormone therapy or surgery to feel more comfortable. It’s worth noting that not all trans people experience dysphoria and that you don’t need to feel dysphoric to be transgender.
What Is Gender Expression?
Everyone has their own gender expression, including transgender and cisgender people. You can convey your gender identity by expressing yourself as you choose. For example, through your dress, tone, mannerisms, or actions. It’s just a way of communicating your gender to the outside world. Some trans people process their gender dysphoria by altering their gender expression, but this isn’t true for all trans people
Is Gender Identity The Same As Sexuality?
It can sometimes be confusing when thinking about your gender identity and sexuality. But sexuality and gender identity are different. Your sexuality is who you’re attracted to, both romantically and sexually. Whereas, your gender identity is how you feel about yourself, not your attraction to others. If you’re still a bit confused, we love The Genderbread Person for visualising all these terms.
Genderbread Person v4.0, created by Sam Killerman
What Are Pronouns?
Our pronouns can also reflect our gender identity. There are some that are associated with binary genders, such as male (“He/Him”) or female (“She/Her”) and some that are gender neutral (such as “They/Them”). Some people may choose to use any pronouns or, a combination of their choosing, even though they may not necessarily portray their gender identity. For example, some women may choose to use “He/Him” pronouns, simply because it is their preference, and they feel it’s the right fit for them. At Fumble we believe it’s up to the individual to choose their pronouns, no questions asked.
For some people they know their gender identity right away, but for others it can take time to figure it out. If you’re a bit confused, you’re not alone. If you feel uncomfortable about your gender identity, you may want to talk to someone you trust. There’s also tons of advice online that can help you feel more comfortable and know what to do next. Remember, your gender identity is for you to decide, and no-one else.
Last reviewed: 2 February 2021 | Image credit: Zackary Drucker via The Gender Spectrum Collection