Diverse gender identity, expression, and sex

People are often confused by the differences between gender identity, expression, and assigned sex. These are not easily categorised and some people tend to find that how they feel do not neatly fit into categories of woman or man, female or male. This can be difficult to navigate, and some people may feel confused and overwhelmed.

Gender identity is the way a person feels in their mind and body. Identity is diverse and is a person’s internal sense of being a woman, man, both, neither, another gender or a mix of genders. Other gender identities include androgyne, agender, non-binary, neutrois, demigirl, demiboy, genderqueer, and many others.

Gender expression is the manifestation of a person’s gender identity. It can be about the way they dress, move, speak, or style their hair. It can also be about the language they use, and the name and pronouns they prefer. Some typical expressions can be androgynous, feminine, and masculine.

Assigned sex refers to labels intersex, female, or male. Sex is typically identified by a person’s genitals but can also be indicated by their chromosomes. Many people do not feel that their gender expression easily aligns with the gender roles or stereotypes associated with their assigned sex.

Transgender is an umbrella term. It is generally taken to indicate a person who feels that their gender is wholly or partially different from the sex they were assigned at birth. Although it is an umbrella term, some people may not be comfortable with it being used to describe them. While they may fit the definition of transgender, it should only be used for them if they want it to be.

Language is always changing, and different people can have different meanings for the same word. It is always best to ask the person what words they want to be used to describe them, rather than assuming.

Diversity in gender identity, expression, and sex is normal, and variations have been seen throughout the ages and in different cultures. Someone who has a gender identity or expression that is different from what is expected of them may also have to manage and process the reactions of other people. These could come from a parent, partner, family member, child or friend. This can add further complexity at a time when they may need support.

Experiences related to your gender identity can have an impact on your mental health and functioning that can be positive or negative.

At Tillver Counselling & Wellness when working on navigating gender identity and any social, medical, and legal transitions there can be many factors to discuss. These may include exploring how you feel in your body and your experiences of gender roles and behaviours associated with different genders. You can also discuss what feels most comfortable for you and any changes you would like to see in your gender expression. You know your body, mind, and lived reality best, the therapist will be able to provide theory, information, and support as you explore what gender identity and expression can look like for you.

At Tillver Counselling & Wellness we offer psychology and counselling services that value all forms of an authentic expression of self. Our practitioners work in an inclusive manner and judgement free. Drawing on a client centred approach, you will be seen as an expert in your own life. Our practitioners are experienced in working with people with diverse gender identity and expression. Our services can be for individuals, partners, and family members seeking support, and are provided in a safe and confidential environment.

For further information please Logan Ward, Suzanne Calver or Matt Tilley.

If you’d like to talk to someone please contact Logan Ward via the Contact Page, Matt Tilley on 0411 253 165 or email him at m.tilley@tillvercounselling.com OR Suzanne Calver on 0409 080 295 or email her at s.callver@tillvercounselling.com

P.J. Matt Tillver