It can be confusing differentiating between the definitions of Gender and Sexuality.
This is the first in a three part Gender & Sexuality series that will equip you with the facts to understand your peers, family, friends and of course - yourself!
Gender, sexuality and your identity relate to your physical, mental and emotional state.
Check out the Genderbread Person below for a handy visual.
Assigned Gender At Birth
Traditionally we are assigned a gender at birth, which is an assumption based off the external appearance of genitalia.
This does not actually determine our gender identity though. For some of us, there is incongruence with this assigned gender, where they do not associate with their assigned gender.
which do you identify with?
This is the gender which we identify with, the one that we feel comfortable with and want to live as. For some of us, this is the assigned gender at birth. While for others, they do not identify with that which was assigned to them at their birth.
Some people prefer to be more fluid in their gender identity, changing from male to female throughout their lives. Some of us do not to identify as either male or female, but as gender neutral or gender queer.
Gender Identity = cisgender
This is a term for someone who identifies as the gender they were assigned at birth. A cis-male is someone who was assigned male at birth and whose gender identity is male. While a cis-female is someone who was assigned female at birth and whose gender identity is that of female.
This is how we express ourselves in our lives, how we dress, the way we style our hair, our social interests, personal interests, activities and roles we take on.
Often, roles and activities are assigned as either masculine or feminine which we may use to express different aspects of ourselves as either masculine or feminine depending on who we are with and what we are doing.
This is who we are sexually attracted to, which could be stronger for one and be non-existent for another. Each of us who feels sexual attraction will feel it differently to others. It is also normal for someone not to feel any sexual attraction towards others.
Romantic attraction is about forming relationships with that special someone, this may correspond with who we find sexually attractive. It is rather common for us to feel a romantic attraction towards someone without having a sexual attraction to them.
Were you surprised by any of the definitions above? Do you think these definitions are widely understood? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Has this article raised questions you want answers to? Book an appointment with Mitch, SHOC's qualified gender & sexuality counsellor. We also recommend visiting It's Pronounced Metro-Sexual an online resource full of great resources relating to gender identity.