Gender means social and cultural expectations of roles and how we present ourselves in society.
For most people, their gender matches the sex they were assigned at birth (cisgender). Others identify as being transgender or gender-diverse.
Gender identity means a person’s internal sense of whether they’re male or female, both, or neither. It’s a person’s internal, deeply-held sense of one’s gender. Gender identity is not visible to others.
Gender identity may be the same as the sex they were assigned at birth (cisgender) or not (transgender). A transgender person’s internal gender identity doesn’t match the sex they were assigned at birth.
Some people have a gender identity as a man (or boy) or a woman (or girl). Some people’s gender identity doesn’t fit into one of these genders. They may identify as agender, which means they don’t identify with a gender at all.
A person’s gender is expressed outwardly through their name, preferred pronouns, clothing, haircut, behaviour, voice, or body characteristics.
Gender expression includes using facilities (like bathrooms and change rooms) that are right for a person’s own sense of gender. Society thinks of these cues as masculine and feminine, although what‘s considered masculine and feminine changes over time and within different cultures.
Current as of: August 1, 2016
Author: Sexual and Reproductive Health, Alberta Health Services
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