Sex, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexuality

People often mix up sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexuality, thinking they are the same.

Sexual Orientation


This refers to biological characteristics like chromosomes, hormones, and genitals used to categorise individuals as male, female, or intersex. Remember, gender (man and woman) is separate from biological sex (male and female).

Gender Identity

Gender is a social and emotional construct that influences a person’s internal sense of self, including their experience of masculinity and femininity. While some people have a clear gender experience, others may not. Gender identity is separate from biological sex and sexual attraction, even though they are often confused.

Gender Expression

Gender expression is how we show our gender to others, such as our name, pronouns, appearance, clothing, and mannerisms.


Sexuality refers to the physical or romantic attraction we may feel towards another person based on their sex or gender.


When someone is attracted to individuals of the opposite gender, often called “straight.”


When someone is attracted to those of the same gender. For example, men who are attracted to men or women who are attracted to woman.


When someone experiences little to no sexual attraction, though they may still have romantic feelings.


When someone is attracted to more than one gender.


When someone’s attraction is not limited by gender and can include individuals of any gender identity.

Gender Identities


When someone’s gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, if someone was assigned male and birth and identify as a man, they are a cisgender man.


When someone’s gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, if someone was assigned male at birth and identify as a woman, they are a transgender woman.


When someone is born with anatomical, chromosomal, or hormonal characteristics that differ from typical male or female categorisations.

Gender Non-Binary

When someone’s gender identity is outside the man-woman binary. Someone who is non-binary may use gender-neutral pronouns such as they/them, or other pronouns like she/her or he/him.


An umbrella term for different sexual orientations and gender identities. Some use ‘queer’ to replace the LGBTIQA+ acronym. While it used to be, and is sometimes still is used negatively, it has been reclaimed by some to reflect pride and inclusivity.

Primary Care

Primary Care Service

This is the first place you can go to for help if you’re going through a tough time, like IPV. It’s a service that’s available in your community, and you can talk to them in person or even over the phone or online. It could be a clinic, health center, helpline, or shelter.

Primary Care Provider

These are the people who give you the first care and support when you need help. They can be doctors, nurses, counsellors, and other professionals who are there to assist you.