What is gender identity? What is the difference between gender and sex? Is gender expression the same as sexual orientation? What is transsexuality? What about a non-binary person? 

Gender identity is a fundamental aspect of the human experience, and to understand it we have to look beyond conventional notions associated with birth sex, chromosomes, or romantic or sexual attraction. Most Western societies have a binary concept of gender identity, but human nature is not limited to restrictive binarisms; instead it has a rich diversity of gender identities. In this article, we want to clarify some concepts about gender identity to help eliminate certain labels and stigmas.

Difference between gender identity and sex

Let us begin by clarifying that gender and sex are different concepts. Although a direct connection has often been made, the truth is that there is no reason why they should be related. Sex refers to biological characteristics (a certain sexual anatomy associated with chromosomes), whereas gender is the result of a social, cultural, political, legal and psychological construct that a society assigns to people, and that traditionally described them as male or female. Today, we know that gender encompasses very different identities, roles and expressions.

Gender identity, on the other hand, is the internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned at birth. Gender identity is therefore not predetermined by birth sex or chromosomes. This means that individuals can identify with a gender other than that assigned at birth, highlighting the independence between biology and gender experience.

It is essential to understand that gender identity is diverse and is not limited to traditional, binary expectations of male and female.

Clarifying concepts

In order to build a more respectful and inclusive society, it is crucial to have clear information to help us understand the richness of human diversity. Here we take a closer look at certain concepts that can help us.


Transsexuality is an integral part of the spectrum of gender identities and an undeniable part of human diversity. It refers to individuals whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned at birth. It is crucial to disassociate transsexuality from the misconception of it being a “sex change” and to understand it as an authentic expression of gender identity. Furthermore, we must be clear that not all transsexual people wish to undergo gender affirmation surgery and that each person should make the transition in the way they feel most comfortable and identified.

Trans Person

A trans person is a person whose gender identity does not match the sex assigned at birth. Acceptance of and respect for trans people are fundamental to building an inclusive society in which different gender identities are normalised.

Non-Binary Person

There are people who identify as non-binary or trans non-binary, challenging traditional gender categories. Their identity may lie outside the binary male/female spectrum.

Gender Expression

This is the way we present ourselves to the world and we want to be recognised by the way we look, speak, dress, talk, play, and so on.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation is the romantic or sexual attraction we feel towards other people; it is not related to gender identity or gender expression.

Respect, inclusion and normalisation for all gender identities

Each person has a unique experience of their gender identity. Some people identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, while others explore and discover identities that do not conform to those expectations. Speaking in a safe and supportive environment enables us to better understand those around us and ourselves.

Promoting understanding of these diverse identities is fundamental to building an inclusive and respectful society that normalises different gender identities and sexual orientation. By recognising and accepting the multiplicity of genders, we help create environments where everyone can express themselves authentically, freely and without fear of being misunderstood. 

The key to fostering a society that celebrates diversity in all its forms lies in education and awareness-raising. Accurate and accessible information helps to debunk misconceptions and build bridges of understanding.

Do you have a clearer understanding of what gender identity is? If you still have questions, you can consult more resources about gender, as well as better understand the reality of transgender people and their families on our website.

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Do you have a clearer understanding of what gender identity is? If you still have questions, you can consult more resources about gender, as well as better understand the reality of transgender people and their families on our website.