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My gender and identity

Knowing ourselves and what makes us unique is an important part of growing up.

You might ask yourself:

    Ko wai au? Who am I?

    Me pēhea taku mahu i te kaha? How do I identify?

    How do I want the world to see me?

There’s no one right answer to these questions. Everyone is on their own identity journey, and it’s really common for people to keep questioning who they are as they grow. No one has the right to tell you who you should be. That’s totally up to you, and it's totally okay if that changes throughout your life.

What is gender identity?

Gender identity

Gender identity is a person’s understanding of their gender. Someone could be a girl or boy, woman or man, or both or neither.

When a baby is born, people often say "it's a boy!" or "it's a girl!"––this is what we mean when we say "sex assigned at birth." A person’s gender identity may or may not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Either way, it’s all good! Your physical body doesn’t have to define your gender.

You might have heard that there are only two genders: man or woman. This is known as the gender binary. In reality, there are many genders, all of which are valid. 

Everybody has a gender identity. For some people, their gender identity will stay the same throughout their life. For others, it will change. Check out the following video to learn more.

Message for Young Rainbow People

Gender identity labels

There are many gendered labels that can help people communicate about their identities. It is a person’s choice as to what label they feel best describes them. Some people may be comfortable with certain labels, while others may choose not to have any label at all.

Some gender identity labels are:

  • Cisgender - someone's gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • Trans - someone's gender identity is not the same as the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • Non-binary - describes people whose gender is outside of the 'binary' of man/woman. May be used to describe a person's gender or as an umbrella term for a number of genders that are not binary. As non-binary people have a gender that is different from what was assumed at birth, they fall under the umbrella of ‘trans’, though not every non-binary person will use this term to describe themselves.
  • Agender - someone does not identify with any gender.

While these may be some of the gender labels we hear most often, there are many more. Different cultures have different labels, too. To find more, follow the link below.

Non Binary - More than Four

Gender expression

Gender expression is about how we choose to present ourselves to the world. This could be in the clothing we wear, how we cut and style our hair, the way we walk, and the way we talk.

There is no one way to express your gender.

He iwi tahi tatou - we are one people! You also don’t need to change anything on the outside to signal how you feel on the inside. You don’t have to prove your identity to anyone. How you express yourself is totally up to you, and it’s important that you feel comfortable in your own skin.

Want to know more? Check this out.

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