What is gender identity?

Gender identity is how someone feels inside about what their gender is — which can be different from their sex assigned at birth. It’s about how much they feel like a man, woman, or another gender inside. People’s gender identities can change over time.

 

What is sex assigned at birth?

When every person is born, a medical provider looks at their genitals and decides what their sex is, male, female, or intersex. When someone’s gender matches what they were assigned at birth - for example, someone who identifies as a woman and was assigned female at birth - they are cisgender. When someone’s gender does not match what they were assigned at birth, they may identify as transgender, two-spirit, gender fluid, or gender non-conforming.

 

What is gender expression?

Gender expression is how someone shows their gender to other people through how they dress, walk, talk, and act. Sometimes someone’s gender expression might be different from their gender identity. This could be because it is safer to express their gender a particular way or they are not sure how to express their gender identity. People’s gender expressions can change over time. It can also change depending on who they are with or where they are at.

 

What are common gender terms?

The wonderful thing about gender is that people can identify and describe themselves in so many different ways! The list below defines some of the ways that people describe themselves as a starting point.

 

Agender

Someone with little or no affiliation with traditional gender roles, does not see themselves as either male or female, and/or someone who sees themselves as existing without a gender. This is also sometimes called gender neutral, genderless, or gender neutrois.

Androgyny

Having characteristics of maleness and femaleness; being neither completely male nor completely female. It can refer to appearance or be used to identify one’s gender.

Cisgender

Someone who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth.

 

Drag King

Someone who performs masculinity theatrically. They may or may not be transgender.

Drag Queen

Someone who performs femininity theatrically. They may or may not be transgender.

Gender fluid

Someone whose gender identity is not fixed but can fluctuate between maleness and femaleness.

 

Gender Non-conforming

Someone whose gender expression is not strictly male or female.

 

Intersex

A term that describes people who do not fit neatly into the male or female box for how medical providers assign sex at birth. This could be because of their chromosomes and anatomy.

Transgender

Someone who identifies as a gender that is not the one they were assigned at birth.

 

Two-Spirit

A term used only by Native American communities that refers to people who possess qualities of multiple genders or fill multiple gender roles.

 

Queer

An umbrella term that refers to anyone who does not identify as straight and/or cisgendered.

Questioning

Someone who is unsure of or exploring their sexual and gender identity.