Gender Identity Terms

Our gender identity is how we feel in relation to being male or female – and there are different terms, descriptions and labels for different types of gender identities. We describe some of these terms.


Not having a gender or identifying with a gender. They may describe themselves as being gender-neutral or genderless.  


A person who fluctuates between traditionally “male” and “female” gender-based behaviours and identities. 


A person whose gender identity and biological sex assigned at birth are the same. For example they were born biologically as a male, and express their gender as male. Often used in the shortened form ‘cis’. 

Gender Expression

The external display of one’s gender, through a combination of how they dress, how they act and other factors. This is generally within the context of what society expectations of gender are.

Gender Fluid

A person who is gender fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders but may feel more man some days, and more woman other days. 


A gender identity label often used by people who do not identify with being a man or a woman, or as an umbrella term for many gender non-conforming or non-binary identities. 

Gender Variant

Someone who either by nature or by choice does not conform to gender-based expectations of society.


Is a title (e.g. Mr., Ms., etc.) that is gender neutral. Pronounced miks, (similar to Ms) it is often the option of choice for folks who do not identify as cisgender. 


A gender identity and an umbrella term for people whose identity falls outside of the binary of male and female. Some people don’t identify fully, or at all, with the gender they were assigned at birth and some people have no gender at all.


When someone who is gender variant is regarded to be, or ‘passes’ as a cisgender man or cisgender woman.

Third Gender

A term for a person who does not identify with either man or woman, but identifies with another gender. This gender category is used by societies that recognise three or more genders, both contemporary and historical, and is also a conceptual term meaning different things to different people who use it. 


A person who lives as a member of a gender other than that expected based on sex assigned at birth. Trans people may describe themselves using a range of different terms.

Transgender man

A term used to describe someone who is assigned female at birth but identifies and lives as a man. This may be shortened to trans man, or FTM, an abbreviation for female-to-male.

Transgender woman

A term used to describe someone who is assigned male at birth but identifies and lives as a woman. This may be shortened to trans woman, or MTF, an abbreviation for male-to-female.


Is an umbrella term traditionally used by Native American people to recognise individuals who possess qualities of both genders 

Ze / Hir 

Alternate pronouns that are gender-neutral. Pronounced “zee” and “here” they replace “he” and “she” and “his” and “hers” respectively. Alternatively, some people who are not comfortable/do not embrace he/she use the plural pronoun “they/their” as a gender neutral singular pronoun.

Find out more about what gender identity is.

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