What is gender identity?
Updated: May 21, 2020
Gender identity is what an person perceives their gender to be. This can be the same as the sex they were born - male or female - or it can differ from it.
A person's gender identity is usually expressed through behaviour and appearance and may typically reflect a person's gender identity. However sometimes a person's gender expression may be different from socially defined behaviours associated with being male or being female.
A transgender person is a person who perceives their gender as different to the sex they were born. They have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from their sex. For example, if a transgender person was born a girl and they perceive themselves as a boy, they may identify as being a boy and express themselves as a boy.
A transsexual person is a person who perceives their gender as different to the sex they were born and they desire or may be undergoing medical assistance to transition from one sex to the other sex.
A person may struggle with identifying with their birth gender and this could cause them significant distress. They may need to speak to their GP and be diagnosed with gender dysphoria. The GP will then be able to advise on the appropriate support needed for the person.