What is Gender Identity?

If you’ve never thought twice about the body you were born in, gender identity may seem a little confusing at first. Gender isn’t black and white (or pink and blue) it’s actually a spectrum that can be fluid at times.

Gender identity is not the same as sexual orientation, which just sums up if you are attracted to people who are the same sex (gay) or opposite sex (straight), or both (bisexual). Gender identity isn’t about the biological sex you were born with, it’s about how you feel inside. Some males identity as males, some as females. Some females identity as females, some as males. You get the picture.

Gender expression is the way someone expresses his or her gender on the outside, from masculine to feminine and everywhere in between. Someone born as a male may identify as a female and express his or her gender as female. Some people have reassignment surgeries so they can be the same biological gender that they identify with and want to express to the world.

Transgender, the T in LGBTQ, is the term that describes anyone whose gender identity or expression is different from what they were assigned at birth. 

Is it normal?

It’s estimated that 2% to 5% Americans are transgender, but because there is still a lot of stigma around, it’s difficult to know for sure. In part because of this stigma, almost 50% all trans young adults have seriously considered suicide.

It may be hard for people to understand, and that’s OK, but it’s not OK to disrespect people for who they are.

How can I get support?

Anytime you are in crisis you can call or chat with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

The Trevor Project was created specifically to support LGBTQ young adults who are struggling and need support. Call them at 1-866-488-7386 or chat online for support.




  • Alek

    I really appreciate that the gender identity section is included here, however, the description is incorrect and uses problematic language. Gender isn’t a spectrum of everything in-between two binary points. Transgender people weren’t born a different biological sex. Not everyone is a he or she. There’s no such thing as “both genders”, nor “the opposite sex” because there are infinitely more than just two. It’s not a reassignment surgery, it’s a confirmation; hormones and surgery aren’t about changing gender.

    I am both the gender and sex that I am, regardless of genitals or whether I was misidentified at birth. It’s not how I “identify”. It’s what I AM. End transgender erasure. <3

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