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Gender Identity: Explained

Gender Identity

What is Gender Identity?

It’s common for people to confuse sex, gender, and gender identity.  But they’re actually all different things. Sex is a label — male or female — that you’re assigned by a doctor at birth based on the genitals you’re born with and the chromosomes you have. It goes on your birth certificate.

Gender is much more complex: It’s a social and legal status, and set of expectations from society, about behaviors, characteristics, and thoughts. Each culture has standards about the way that people should behave based on their gender. This is also generally male or female. But instead of being about body parts, it’s more about how you’re expected to act, because of your sex. Gender identity is how you feel inside and how you express your gender through clothing, behavior, and personal appearance. It’s a feeling that begins very early in life. Continue reading from Planned Parenthood

Understanding The Gender Spectrum

People often use “sex” and “gender” interchangeably, but they are two different things. Sex is a biological term based on body parts, chromosomes, and hormones. Sex is not as binary as many think it is. There are some people (known as intersex) whose sex is not strictly male or female, but instead falls on a spectrum between these. Gender, in comparison to sex, refers to our internal sense and understanding of ourselves relative to the social and cultural associations and roles that we grow up with.

As we grow up and get to know ourselves, each of us tends to develop a personal sense and experience of our gender identity. Some of us fall into a binary gender category (male or female), while others of us are somewhere in between (nonbinary) or don’t feel connected to either gender (agender). Those whose gender identities match their sex assigned at birth are referred to as cisgender, while those whose identities do not match their sex assigned at birth may identity as transgender. Continue reading from The Jed Foundation

What is Congruence?

Gender congruence is the feeling of harmony in our gender:

  • experiencing comfort in our body as it relates to our gender;
  • naming of our gender that adequately corresponds with our internal sense of who we are;
  • expressing ourselves through clothing, mannerisms, interests and activities;
  • being seen consistently by others as we see ourselves.

Finding congruence is an ongoing process throughout each of our lives as we continue to grow and gain insight into ourselves. It is most often found through exploration. For some, finding congruence is fairly simple; for others, it is a much more complex process. But the fundamental need to find gender congruence is true for us all, and any degree to which we don’t experience it can be distressing. Continue reading from Gender Spectrum

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From The Collection

Link to They/Them/Their: A Guide to Nonbinary and Genderqueer Identities by Eris Young in the Catalog
Link to Gender: Your Guide by Lee Airton in the Catalog
Link to Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe in the Catalog
Link to She, He, They, Me: For the Sisters, Misters, and Binary Resisters by Robyn Ryle in the Catalog
Link to What's Your Pronoun?: Beyond He & She by Dennis E Baron in the Catalog
Link to Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia in the Catalog
Link to A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni in the Catalog
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Link to Redefining Realness by Janet Mock in the Catalog
Link to Trans Love edited by Freiya Benson in the Catalog
Link to Between XX and XY by Gerald N Callahan in the Catalog
Link to Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter? by Heath Fogg Davis in the Catalog
Link to Seeing Gender by Iris Gottlieb in the Catalog
Link to Becoming a Man: The Story of a Transition by P Carl in the Catalog
Link to Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin in the Catalog