Gender consists of two related aspects: 


  • gender identity

  • gender expression 


Gender identity is the way we see ourselves in terms of our gender, for example male, female or non-binary.

Gender expression is the way we live and interact with others based on our gender identity. 


Acquired gender is used to describe someone’s gender role after reassignment.



Gender dysphoria

Gender dysphoria is a medical condition experienced when someone’s gender identity does not match the physical appearance of their body.


Read more about gender dysphoria on the NHS Choices website

Gender reassignment


This is a personal process that may involve medical interventions such as counselling, psychotherapy, hormone therapy and surgery, but does not have to.


Gender reassignment is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.





An intersex individual may at birth have biological characteristics of both the male and the female sexes. That is to say they have both male and female anatomical characteristics, including in varying degrees reproductive organs and secondary sexual characteristics, as a result of the sex chromosomes or a hormonal imbalance during embryogenesis (The transition from embryo to fetus.)


Read more about intersex on the OII-UK – Intersex in the UK website

Transgender (also ‘trans’ or ‘TG’)


This is an umbrella term for people who experience gender dysphoria and express this in some way. Transgender includes transsexual people, but is a wider term including people who do not plan to change their gender permanently, and people who do not identify as being either male or female.



An adjective describing someone who began life as one biological sex, then transitions to the opposite sex through gender reassignment. After transitioning, people may not see and describe themselves as transsexual but as male or female.


The Equality Act 2010 defines transsexual people as having the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.