What is Gender Identity?

It seems like gender is talked about more today than ever before. With a host of people coming out as transgender, or identifying with even lesser understood terms such as "gender binary" and "gender fluid," many in the mainstream are left trying to figure out how to delicately and wholeheartedly accept and address their friends and family members.

Understanding gender identity today can be a bit confusing if you’re used to a simple gender binary. But we're here to break it down for you in three main points.

First, let's cover the biggest issue that comes up for most people: gender versus sex.

What's the Difference Between Gender and Sex?

Simply put, sex is related to female and male anatomy, and gender is how a person identifies with himself, themself, or herself.

Your gender may or may not correspond to your sex that was given to you at birth. For example, a transgender woman's gender is female, but her birth sex is male.

When people undergo gender-affirming surgery, they are having their sexual characteristics changed to reflect their chosen gender. It's incredibly important for a person to be comfortable in their own skin regardless of their gender. And while some trans people want gender-reaffirming surgery, others don't feel it's necessary, and both choices are completely valid.

Gender in Society

Some might argue that you can't change your gender because you're born male or female; this is incorrect. As mentioned above, your sex is biological, but your gender is shaped by your life experiences and culture.

Every society has norms and values that shape our perceptions of both genders. There are qualities and characteristics we identify as "masculine" and "feminine," and we are generally taught that our sex is intrinsically linked with our gender.

Gender expression and identity are not the same as our sex; a person who identifies as trans, gender binary, or agender may choose to dress, act, or behave in a manner that's reflective of one gender or both.

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Just as gender roles carry connotations and expectations, so does gender identity and sexual orientation.

Our gender development and sexual development do not take place at the same time and are not intrinsically bound; a person can identify as one gender, both, or none and also identify as heterosexual, gay, bisexual, asexual or pansexual.

Finding Support

We're here to help you care for yourself no matter how you identify. Our primary concern is your wellness as a human being. But we also understand that it can be difficult to find affirmative, sensitive medical care at more traditional practices.

Our clinic offers specialized health care services to LGBT patients, as well as testing for STIs and treatment for diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C. We also specialize in pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) against HIV.

We also offer mental health services for anyone who needs to talk about their own gender or sexual identity. Reach out to us today and start receiving the type of support and care you deserve.