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)