Gender, Sex, and How we Identify

Within the past few years, the distinction between gender, sex, and sexuality have blurred and confused people. The complication comes with the confusion between identity, social norms, and sex assigned at birth. While there are distinct differences, the lines can be blurred and people get confused and frustrated. The confusion and complication cause people to be missed labeled.




Sex has come to be known as what is assigned at birth.  Historically and by standard there are two dominate sex assignment or gender assignment categories, male and female.  There is also a third and fourth sex that can be assigned at birth which is called intersex. A person labeled intersex are born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that "do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies". Some who is born a hermaphrodite is born with both sex organs of a male and female.   Intersex is more complicated of the latter two because it involves more variations.


So, at birth you can be assigned as a male, female, or intersex and to a lesser extent be diagnosed with hermaphroditism.




Sexuality is they way people experience and express themselves sexually. This can involve and include biological, erotic, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual feelings and behaviors. Sexuality is how you express yourself.


Sexual orientation is romantic or sexual attraction (or a combination of these) to a person (or people) who are of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or to both sexes or more than one gender. Orientation, at one time, was divided up into 3 basic categories of straight, gay, or bisexual.   Today sexual orientation now covers the aforementioned three, but now include asexual and pansexual. The term gay which was once though as an umbrella term for the entire LGBTQ+ community now is associated to gay men, with lesbians become a self-identified group that sounds out on its own right.




Gender are a set of behaviors or traits that is publicly associated with your sex assignment. It is a cultural standard that is based on a person being either male or female.  Gender has less to do with your sex (ie; male, female, or intersex) and more how a person is expected to act. While gender is how society expects you to act, gender identity is how you feel and how express those feeling regardless of what sex was assigned to you at birth.  For men, masculinity and femininity play a part in gender identity or the expression of oneself.




As was just discusses in very basic terms, the lines between sex, sexuality, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity often are blurred and confusion.  It boils down to how society and culture expects you to act verses how you see yourself and express that view of yourself.

Terms to Know

Here is a list of definition to some of the words used in this article.


At birth a person is assigned one of two primary sexes: male or female.  This can be determined by appearance of the physical genitalia.

There is a third lesser known sex that can be assigned at birth and that is Intersex.

Intersex: relating to or denoting a person that has both male and female sex organs or other sexual characteristics.

Sex Charactheristics

Are physical or behavioral traits of a person which are indicative of the sex assigned at birth.

Primary & Secondary Sex Charactherics

P: XY chromosomes, testes, testosterone

S: Facial and Body hair, triangular body, higher heigth


P: XX Chromosomes, overies, estrogen, vagina, utereus

S: larger breast, menstrual cycle, “hourglass’ body from,

Sexual identity

Is how one thinks of oneself in terms of to whom one is romantically or sexually attracted. Sexual identity may also refer to sexual orientation identity, which is when people identify or dis-identify with a sexual orientation or choose not to identify with a sexual orientation.

Sexual Orientation

Is about who  you’re attract ed to and want to have relationships with.


Gay, Straight, Lesbian, Pansexual, Bisexual, etc


The behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically, associated with one sex (a social construct).

Social Construct: an idea that has been created and accepted by the people in a society

Gender Identity

Is how you feel on the inside, how you express your thoughts, behavior, and personal appearance.

Where Does Transgender Fall?

Is it a Gender Identity or a Sexual Orientation?

Transgender is a term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. A transgender man may have been born with the anatomy of a woman but identifies as a man, and may have medical assistance in transition in order to fully live as a man. To better understand what a transgender person feels, how they feel on the inside is different from what is seen outside.

Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation. Therefore, transgender people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc. So, you can be a straight trans man who is sexually attracted to woman, because you express your gender identity as male.