Sex and Gender

When a couple has a baby, the first question often asked is, 'Is it a boy or a girl'? People are labelled as either 'male' or 'female' at birth, but sex and gender aren't always that black and white.

Sex (or biological sex) is our biology, including our genes, hormones and reproductive organs. Basically, the sex that is defined at our birth is usually based on what people see externally or between our legs. Someone’s sex can be male, female or intersexed.

Gender is generally defined as "the state of being male or female". It’s also about the way we think and act - the space between our ears as opposed to between our legs. Someone’s gender can be masculine, feminine, androgynous or a mixture of these.

Three different aspects to gender are:

  • Gender expression is how we express our gender through our clothing, behaviour, music, speech, the way we walk, etc.
  • Gender identity is the label or name we use to describe our gender eg. man, woman, transgender.
  • Gender roles are the expectations and assumptions society has based on our sex.

Remember, someone's gender and biological sex can be the same but also may be different. Trans and gender diverse people's sense of their gender and sex may be different from the sex assigned to them at birth.

The media often portray gender stereotypes, suggesting girls wear pink dresses and play with dolls while guys love sport and play with cars. It is important to be the person you want to be, and not to act or dress in a certain way just because you feel it how you should be.

If you would like some more information about gender diversity, contact the Freedom Centre on (08) 9228 0354 or info@freedom.org.au or go to the Freedom Centre website (external site)

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