What are gender identity, gender expression and assigned sex?

We totally get it. These terms can get super confusing when you don’t know what’s what, so here’s the no-nonsense scoop:

  • Gender identity is how you identify yourself in terms of being a man, woman, somewhere in between or maybe a little of both. It may be that you don’t identify with any gender.  Your gender identity comes from how you see yourself fitting into societal gender roles.
  • Gender expression is how you intentionally or unintentionally choose to demonstrate your gender identity through appearance, actions, behavior and social interactions. Your gender expression could change day-to-day or depending on what you’re doing or how you feel.
  • Assigned sex is usually assigned by a doctor when you are born based on the appearance of your genitals and sex organs and may be measured by the hormones and chromosomes in your body. Most people think of biological sex as either male or female, but it’s actually a little more complicated than that. Some people are born with both male and female sex organs, genitalia that is difficult to identify, or chromosomes that do not seem to match their physical appearance. These, along with other presentations, are known as intersex.