Common Transgender Care Questions

What is the difference between sex and gender?

Sex refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.

What is gender identity?

Gender identity is a person’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. A person’s gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.

What is gender expression?

Gender expression is the external presentation of one's gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.

What does it mean to be transgender?

Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth.  Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation.  Therefore, transgender people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, and so forth.

What does gender transition mean?

Gender transition is the process by which some people strive to more closely align their outward appearance with their internal experience of gender. Some people socially transition which means they begin dressing, using names and pronouns and/or being socially recognized as another gender. Some people undergo physical transitions in which they modify their bodies through hormone therapy and/or surgery.