Sexual Identity Guide - Gender, Gender Identity, sex, etc.



Gender, gender identity, sex, the process of constructing sexual and gender identity are concepts that are increasingly present in our lives. But we don't always have a clear and correct vision of the theme itself. And, because the defence of freedom, equality and acceptance starts with us, we must inform ourselves with reliable sources.

Here is a small glimpse of this theme, which has as its main objective to promote a reflection free from preconceptions, to free ourselves from ideas and words that can be barriers to Individual Freedom.

  • Sex (commonly known as biological sex) is attributed at birth through the observation of the genital organs of the baby. Depending on the anatomy or shape of the genitals (penis and testicles or vulva, or more ambiguous forms), a gender (male or female) is immediately assigned, making sex and gender as equivalent categories.

  • Gender (commonly known as cultural or social sex) is a social construction resulting from the expectations created around sexual belonging. Thus, being female or male seems to presuppose, from a social point of view, an association with a certain set of predetermined characteristics, roles and norms. Being a social construction, gender varies from culture to culture.

  • The Gender Roles are the roles, behaviours, activities and other attributes that are socially constructed in a given society and are perceived as feminine, masculine, or androgynous.

  • Gender Expression is any form of expression through which one expresses his/her gender belonging, for example, through his/her aesthetics (e.g., clothing hairstyle, beard) or the language they use to refer to themselves (e.g., pronouns and names).

  • Gender Identity refers to the personal and profound self-recognition as man or woman, as both, or as trans. It is also possible that there is no identification with any gender.

  • Sexual Orientation is a component of identity which includes a person's sexual and emotional attraction to another person and behaviour. It corresponds to an involvement in emotional, loving and/or sexual attraction towards men, women or both sexes.

  • Gender dysphoria: according to the DSM 5 (American Psychiatric Association), it is the perception that the body (biological sex) does not correspond to the gender. In other words, the subject, with a male body does not feel male, or, having a female body, does not feel female: this implies a persistent discomfort with the sex at birth and the feeling of inadequacy to the social role that corresponds to it, causing anguish and personal and social discomfort, with a persistent desire to change body (transsexuality). Until the 1970s the DSM considered sexual dysphoria as a serious psychopathology, called gender identity disorder. But DSM 5 depathologised gender dysphoria, recognising it as a possible identity of minority groups, thus focusing on a stance more respectful of fundamental rights and promoting inclusion.

  • Transsexual: "gender identity 'opposite' to that typically associated with biological sex, with these people mostly wishing to adapt their bodies to their gender identity through hormonal and surgical or other interventions".

  • Cisgender: individual who identifies with the biological sex she/he was born with.

Although gender dysphoria is not a mental health disorder, it is characterised by clinically significant mental distress. People with gender dysphoria often have impaired social and occupational functioning due to the marked difference between their expressed gender and their gender at birth. As transgender individuals, people with gender dysphoria have a strong belief that their feelings and actions are typical of the opposite gender, and they wish to live and be perceived as that gender.


Gender dysphoria in children can be marked by repeated verbalisation of their desire to be the other gender, as well as by behaviours that indicate a strong preference to be/identify with the other gender, such as persistent cross-gender roles in make-believe games or a deep dislike of their sexual anatomy. In both children and adults, feelings of dysphoria must continue for at least six months before a diagnosis can be made. For adolescents with gender dysphoria, there is considerable clinical evidence that it often interferes with general social adjustment, including general psychiatric disorders such as depression or anxiety, family relationships can be conflictual, and they are at increased risk of substance abuse and dropping out of school.


It is up to us, to keep ourselves informed, to get away from preconceived ideals that can foster a stance of non-acceptance and non-validation. The right to equality is a fundamental right of the Human Being, regardless of our gender, race, sexual orientation, religion.

Foster a spirit of compassion and acceptance of others.

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