Gender identity refers to each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender as male, female, another gender, or no gender. This identity may or may not correspond with the sex/gender assigned at birth. Gender identity isn’t about who you’re attracted to, but about who you are — male, female, genderqueer, etc.
Gender identity has nothing to do with sexual orientation. Therefore, homosexual, or bisexual people, like heterosexual people, can be cisgender or transgender.
A traditionally Western concept classifying gender into two distinct, supposedly “opposite” forms, labelled men/boys and women/girls. While many cultures have historically recognized a variety of gender identities with corresponding roles in society, these identities may have been suppressed with the spread of Western colonisation. As these traditions are rediscovered and Western understanding evolves, it is clear the gender binary fails to capture the nuances of lived gender experiences. The gender binary has also historically been used to oppress women and people with diverse gender identities, preventing them from exercising their human rights and participating as equals in the society. Adherence to the gender binary in language (for example, by exclusively using male/female pronouns or only referencing men, boys, women and girls), in data collection and in services excludes other genders and limits our ability to provide appropriate and respectful assistance.
Someone whose gender matches the sex/gender they were assigned at birth. Being cisgender is the opposite of being transgender.
Man/male: Person of the male gender and/or the male social role, regardless of their sexed characteristics.
Woman/female: Person of the female gender and/or the female social role, regardless of sexed characteristics.
Transgender is an inclusive term referring to people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differ from the sex/gender they were assigned at birth.
Transgender citizens can decide to make different forms of transitions, physical or not, to reach their point of comfort (a feeling of adequation between their gender expression and their identity). Transgender people, like cisgender people, can be homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, …
The assigned name or birthname is the first name a child receives at birth. Some trans people choose to go by another name than the one they were assigned. This can lead to their birthname becoming a “deadname”. In this case, it is very important to no longer use this name, and instead refer to the person using the first name they chose for themself.
A person who does not identify with a particular gender or who does not identify with any gender identity.
An agender person may or may not identify as a transgender person. Some people consider that being agender means that they don't have gender, they don’t identify with the concept of gender at all. In contrast, others feel that being agender is a gender identity.
Intersex people are born with sex characteristics that don’t fit typical definitions of male and female bodies. Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural bodily variations. Some of these variations may be apparent before or at birth, while others are not apparent until after puberty or later or may not be physically apparent at all.
There are more than 40 intersex variations; experts estimate between 0.5% and 1.7% of the population is born with intersex traits. Intersex people use many different terms with different people to avoid stigma, misconceptions, discrimination and violence. Common language includes “being” intersex, “having” an intersex variation, difference or trait, clinical diagnostic terms, “differences of sex development,” and innate “variations of sex characteristics.” The outdated and stigmatizing term “hermaphrodite” is generally rejected by intersex people today, however some have chosen to reclaim it. Intersex people may have any sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Refers to a person whose sex characteristics are clearly identifiable as either "male" or "female."
Queer refers to a person whose sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression differs from society's expectations, or is considered "non-compliant, non-traditional, out of category."
This word, therefore, is sometimes used as an umbrella term for all the letters of the acronym LGBTQIA+ or the diversity of SOGIESC (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression and Sex Characteristics). The term “queer” was originally an insult in the English language but was then reused under the principle of "reappropriation of stigma." Today, the word can be used with positive connotations, sometimes associated with artistic and academic cultures.
Genderqueer people are individuals who don't conform to society's ideas of how they should act or express themselves based on the gender they were assigned at birth. According to Psychology Today, "This may be in terms of their thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and, most importantly, their gender identity."
To gender identity of someone who is non-binary does not fit within the binary "masculine-feminine" gender scheme. It is an umbrella term that includes, among others, people who identify with both men and women, or with neither.
A person who identifies as non-binary can therefore also use a more specific term to describe their identity. Some non-binary people also identify as transgender, while others do not. These people often prefer for neutral pronouns to be used when addressing them, but that is not always the case. It is always better to ask what a person’s preference is to know which pronouns to use.
Gender fluid is an expression that refers to a person who does not have only one fixed gender, but whose gender evolves with time and might change during their lifetime. A gender fluid person can, therefore, "sway" through their gender(s). How often someone's identity shifts depends on the individual.