Cisgender: a term used to describe people whose gender identity corresponds solely with their sex assigned at birth.
Gender expression: the way an individual expresses themselves that is perceived as masculine or feminine (e.g., in the way they dress, the length and style of their hair, the way they act or speak, the volume of their voice, and in their choice of whether or not to wear makeup). Understandings of gender expression are culturally specific and will change over time.
Gender identity: an individual’s intrinsic sense of self and their sense of having or not having any gender, regardless of their sex assigned at birth.
Gender nonconforming: refers to individuals who do not follow other people’s ideas or stereotypes about how they should look or act based on their sex assigned at birth (also called gender expansive or gender variant).
Gender Support Plan: a document that creates shared understanding about the ways in which a student’s gender identity will be accounted for and supported at school.
Gender Support Team: a team of people convened to support individual transgender students, gender nonconforming students, or students questioning their gender.
Intersex: a general term for a person born with sex characteristics that do not fit the typical definitions of either male or female. People who are intersex are usually assigned male or female sexes at birth. Some, but by no means all, students who are intersex may identify their gender or express their gender in ways that are captured here by definitions for transgender or gender nonconforming.
LGBTQ+: an acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and other identities.
Nonbinary: an umbrella term that reflects gender identities that don’t fit within the “expected” binary of male and female. Individuals may feel they are both genders, neither, or some mixture thereof. (Identities that might fall under this umbrella: genderqueer, gender fluid, agender, bigender, etc.)
Questioning: being unsure of your gender identity, being unsure of your sexual orientation, or both. Many people go through a stage of questioning during their lives, sometimes several times. This can be because they learn new words that fit them better, or it can be that their actual feelings of gender or attraction change over time.
Sex assigned at birth: often based solely on external genitalia but also includes internal reproductive structures, chromosomes, hormone levels, and secondary sex characteristics. This is typically the sex reflected on one’s original birth certificate.
Sexual orientation: a person’s emotional and sexual attraction to other people based on the gender of the other person. Sexual orientation is not the same as gender identity. Not all transgender people identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and not all gay, lesbian, and bisexual people display gender nonconforming characteristics.
Transgender: refers to individuals whose gender identity is different from what is assumed based on their sex assigned at birth, and/or whose gender expression is different from the way certain genders are stereotypically expected to look or behave. This is an umbrella term for a variety of gender identities and expressions with which an individual may self-identify.
Transition: the process whereby people may change their gender expression, bodies and/or identity documents to match their internal gender identity. Transition can be social, emotional, and/or medical and is different for every individual. In children, adolescents, and adults, it is increasingly common for gender transition to be fluid.