When we talked about the basics of biology, we talked about people as being male or female based on their genitals. This is called biological sex. Our society and culture make a lot of assumptions about how we are going to act based on our biological sex. But there is more to being male or female than just biology.
People also have an internal sense that they are female, male, or a variation of these. This is called gender identity.
For most people, their biological sex and their gender identity are the same. Some people are transgender which means that their gender identity doesn’t match their biological sex. You may hear terms like “transsexual,” “drag king,” “drag queen,” “crossdresser,” “genderqueer,” or “tranny” to describe transgender people.
Whether your biological sex and gender identity match or not, you probably express a gender identity every day and may not even realize it. You might do this through the clothes that you wear, your hairstyle and make-up, your accessories, the way you move, and how you speak. You should know that people may misread these signals and make assumptions about who you are that may not really be true. As hard as it may be, it’s really important to be yourself and not let others define you.
Your understanding of who you are may change over the course of your lifetime. And how people treat you based on their understanding of who you are may also change. Sometimes this can be confusing. There are many organizations that can help you learn more about gender identity. You might want to start by checking out www.youthresource.com. It might also be helpful to find resources near you. To find out if your school has a Gay-Straight Alliance check on www.glsen.org or to find other local support programs log on to the Trevor Project at www.thetrevorproject.org.