Page written and resources collated by Jozef Sen, Lead Wellbeing Practitioner
It is important to differentiate between gender identity and sexual orientation.
- Sexual orientation refers to an individual’s sexual attraction to others.
- Gender identity refers to an individual’s internal (non-) gendered sense of self (how that person identifies/ self-defines) and what feels right for them. This might be male, female, non-binary, genderless, or some other gender identity. A trans-person can also be straight, bisexual or gay, or any other sexual identity. It is important to remember that all gender identities and sexual identities are equally valid.
Expressing or describing your gender identity
People’s thoughts and feelings about their gender identity and how they express their gender (gender expression) can be complex, changing, and deeply individual. Having a variety of words and labels to describe the various ways you might think about your gender helps you communicate who you are.
As with most issues relating to individual personal identity, transgender, and gender questioning, people use many different terms to describe their experiences, and not all terms fit all people. You may be familiar with the terms transgender or trans; these are umbrella terms for people who self-define as a gender different to that which they were assigned at birth (that is, what was written on their first birth certificate).
Gender is assigned at birth according to attributes such as chromosomes, hormones and external and internal anatomy. However, this assignment sometimes conflicts with people’s gender identity.
Some trans people feel clear about their gender identity from a young age whereas for others it’s less obvious, and how they feel about their gender may shift over time. Acknowledging how you feel about yourself may sometimes involve overcoming difficult feelings such as shame, guilt, or fear of disapproval.
Whether you have decided that you would rather be referred to by the non-binary pronoun of ‘they’, want to have your title changed, or wish to be known by your preferred gender identity and name, the University is committed to supporting you with this.
Note: we hope that the resources below are useful, we do not endorse the opinions expressed by other parties.