Gender identity is how a person sees themselves – their own internal sense and personal experience of gender. Only the individual can determine their own gender identity. Gender identity is different from sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is who a person is attracted to on the basis of gender. Some of the words used to describe sexual orientation include gay, bisexual, lesbian, heterosexual or straight.
Gender binary is the problematic assumption that there are only two genders (man/male, woman/female), and that they are distinct and unchanging. There is now more awareness of, and support for, the different ways that people identify outside of the gender binary (ie. Genderqueer / gender non-conforming / gender non-binary). People who do not identify as a man or a woman may identify as both genders, neither gender, between genders, or not gendered at all. Gender does not always match a person’s assigned sex at birth, and gender can change over time.
Some people whose biological sex does not match their gender identity may make physical and social changes to express their identified gender. This may involve using a different name, pronouns, clothing, hair or makeup style. It may also involve medical changes, such as taking hormones or getting gender-affirming surgery. This process is called transition.