Gender Identity Terms

There are many different terms, descriptions and labels for types of gender identities. Here we describe some of these terms in case you were unsure what they mean.

Don’t make assumptions about someone’s gender based on the way they dress as it might not reflect their gender identity.


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 a man.  

Coming Out

When a person tells someone about their LGBTQI+ identity.

Cross Dresser

Is someone who dresses in clothes typically associated with another gender. Many cross-dressers dress in clothes not typically associated with their gender but may not identify with a different gender.


A term usually associated with transgender people who have changed their name. Deadnaming is when someone is referred to using the name they were given at birth rather than using their new name.

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’s 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.


A pronoun is a word we use to refer to someone’s gender in a conversation, for example, ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘they’. Don’t assume a person’s pronouns based on their appearance.

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. 


The process of exploring your sexual and/or gender identity.

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.

LGBT Youth Scotland is Scotland’s national charity for LGBTQI+ young people aged 13-25. Find out more about the work they do here.

Head back to the LGBTQI+ campaign page.

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