Gender identity is often confused with sexual orientation. However, these two concepts are distinct. Sexual orientation is an individual’s physical, romantic, and emotional attraction to another person, while gender identity is an individual’s internal sense of being a man, woman, or something other than or in between.
Gender identity starts to form in early childhood and is typically established by age two. Children who experience an incongruence between their gender identity and the gender they were assigned at birth may face challenges in their socialization and development. They may be subjected to teasing, bullying, and discrimination, which can have a negative impact on their physical and mental health.
Gender identity is complex and can vary from person to person. Some individuals identify as a man, woman, or gender non-binary (neither man nor woman). Others may identify as gender fluid, meaning their gender identity changes over time. Others may identify as genderqueer, meaning their gender identity does not fit into either traditional male or female roles.
As more people become aware of gender identity and express their gender in a variety of ways, society is beginning to recognize and accept gender diversity. In many countries, laws exist to protect people from discrimination based on gender identity or expression.
The way we express our gender is an important part of our identity, and it can have a profound impact on our lives. It is important to recognize and respect people’s gender identities, and to foster an environment of acceptance and inclusion.