Get the Facts

Gender Identity

You Have a Right To Be Exactly Who You Are!

People express their sexuality in many different ways; there is no right or wrong way to be. You have the right to identify with the gender and sexual orientation of your choice without fear of discrimination in education, healthcare, social and political participation; and to live free of verbal and/or physical assault.

Gender Identities

At birth, we are assigned one of two genders, usually based on our visible genitals. For many people this gender assignment fits and feels comfortable and they never think about it further. Others do not feel as comfortable with their assigned gender, either because they find the two-gender system too limiting or because they feel more identification with the gender opposite that to which they were assigned at birth. People deal with this discomfort in many ways, sometimes only in personal ways, and sometimes in ways visible to others. Sexual Orientation: Sexual orientation refers to one's sexual and romantic attraction. Those whose sexual orientation is to people of the opposite sex are called "heterosexual", those whose sexual orientation is to people of the same sex are called "homosexual" (or lesbian or gay), and those whose sexual orientation is to people of both sexes are called "bisexual." Sexual orientation is not necessarily the same as sexual behaviour.

GLBTT2IQQ - what does it mean?

  • Gay  - A man who is romantically/sexually attracted to or involved with other men; also used as an umbrella term for everyone who has same-sex romantic/sexual attractions or relations.
  • Lesbian  - A woman who is romantically/sexually attracted to or involved with other women.
  • Bisexual  - A person who is romantically/sexually attracted to or involved with both men and women.
  • Transgender  (or trans) - is an umbrella term that includes people who do not fit traditional male or female roles and expectations, and/or who identify with a gender other than the one assigned at birth (e.g., women who feel like men, or men who feel like women). Transgender does not imply any specific form of sexual orientation. Individuals in the transgender community express themselves in different ways. This can include adopting the clothing and/or behaviours of the opposite or both genders, use of hormones and/or gender reassignment surgery.
  • Transsexual - Individuals whose gender identity is not in keeping with their physical bodies. They may desire to, or have modified their body through hormones and/or surgical procedures in order to bring their body closer to their gender identity.
  • Two-spirited  - is a term for individuals who are considered to be neither women nor men among many First Nations groups. It often implies a masculine spirit and a feminine spirit living in the same body. It is also used by some contemporary gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex First Nations people to describe themselves. There are many indigenous terms for these individuals in the various First Nations languages.
  • Intersex  - A person whose sex chromosomes, genitalia and/or secondary sex characteristics (e.g. facial hair, breasts) are determined to be neither exclusively male nor female. An intersex person may have biological characteristics of both the male and female sexes. The intersex community has generally rejected the term - hermaphodite' as out-dated. Intersex people may or may not identify as part of the transgender community.
  • Queer  - Some people prefer to be called queer rather than gay, lesbian, bisexual, or trans. For some people the term queer is positive and empowering. Questioning - People who are either experimenting with or exploring their sexuality, or who refuse to label their sexual orientation.

Information provide with permission from the  Canadian Federation for Sexual Health

Useful Links

  • Egale Canada 

    Lesbian Gay Bi Trans YouthLine - 1-800-268-YOUTH Copyright (c) 2004 by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario. This Fact Sheet may not be reproduced without written authorization from CMHA Ontario.