Sex: biologically male/female/intersex based on reproductive organs and genitalia

Gender Identity: one’s own feeling, internal sense of being man, woman or in-between. Can change over time

Gender Expression: external manifestations of gender – person’s name, pronouns, clothing, haircut, etc.

Sexual Orientation: refers to physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction

  • Gay: Describes a person attracted to someone of the same gender
  • Lesbian: Describes a woman attracted to other women
  • Heterosexual/Straight: Describes a person attracted to someone of a different gender
  • Bisexual (bi): Describes a person attracted to people of multiple genders
  • Asexual: Describes an individual who does not experience sexual attraction
  • Queer: Used by some to describe an individual whose sexual orientation is not exclusively straight; also used to describe gender identity. Using this term may be more acceptable but always check with others to see which terms they prefer.

Coming Out: Lifelong process of self-acceptance and disclosure of one’s identity to others. Varying degrees of outness.

Transgender: Individuals whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.

  • Female to male (Transgender Male/Trans Man) - Female at birth, identify as male
  • Male to female (Transgender Female/Trans Woman) - Male at birth, identify as female
  • Nonbinary: individual whose gender identity isn’t exclusively male or female
  • Gender queer: Used by some to describe an individual whose gender isn't exclusively male or female.

Cis-gender: a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth.

Transition: The act of changing one’s gender expression to match their gender identity

  • Changing hairstyle or clothing
  • Changing name and pronoun use
  • Changing name/gender on legal documents
  • Masculinizing and Feminizing Hormones
  • Gender confirmation surgery (avoid the term sex change)