Sexual orientation, gender identity and biological sex, are independent of each other. Below are some definitions of terms relating to all three concepts. A person may express any variation of each of these in any combination. To discourage the free expression of identity, sex, and orientation by an individual is to impose a damaging burden of conformity.



Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with  the sex to which they were assigned at birth.

Transsexual: Is a medial term referring  to people who wish to undergo gender reassignment therapy to align their bodies to their gender identity

Gender: Is a word for all the things we associate with being a man or a woman. The clothes and behaviors and roles of men and women.

 Gender identity: Is an individual’s self-conception as being either man or woman or neither, regardless of sex assigned at birth.

Gender non conforming: It is a term for  individuals whose gender expression is different from societal expectations related to gender.

Cross dressing:It is the wearing of clothes designed for the opposite gender according to gender stereotype norms.

Stealth: It is when one remains private about the sex assigned at birth.

Reassignment surgery: It refers to having surgery in order to change your primary and secondary sexual characteristics.

FTM: In full, this is ‘Female-To-Male’ and it refers to those individuals biologically born female but identify as male.

MTF: In full,this is ‘Male-To-Female’ and it refers to those individuals biologically born male but identify as female.

Sexual Orientation :Describes to whom a person is sexually attracted. Some people are attracted to people of a particular gender; others are attracted to more than one gender. Some are not attracted to anyone. Sometimes the term “affectional orientation” is used to acknowledge that attraction can be about more than sexual desire. Sometimes people’s sexual desire – who they would like to have sex with, and affectional orientation – who they would like to have relationships with/have a romantic attraction to, are different.


  • Intersex means being born with a mix of anatomical sex traits(chromosomes, genitals and/or reproductive organs) that are traditionally considered to be both “male” and “female”, or a typical for either.
  • Many variations of intersex exist;intersex is not one “single” category.
  • Some intersex variations involve an inconsistency between a persons’s internal and external sexual features. For example, having female-appearing external genitalia, no internal female organs and undescended  testes.
  • Some intersex people may be born with a chromosomal pattern that does not fall into the binary e. g. XX/YY.
  • Some intersex forms involve genitalia that do not appear to be clearly male or female e.g.a girl may be born with a large than average clitoris.
  • Not all intersex variations are apparent at the time of birth, some forms are not evident until a child reaches puberty (e.g the variation may be discovered when a girl reaches puberty and fails to menstruate).


  • The lowest international statistic estimates at 1 in 2000 births.
  • South Africa is said to have the highest prevalence rate of intersex in the world, estimated at 1 in 500 births. Intersex is actually common, stigma and prejudice prevents people from coming out as intersex.


  • If someone is intersex it does not mean that they are born with both complete sets of female and male genitalia.
  • Intersex people are not hermaphrodite the word “hermaphrodite” is misleading as it creates the impression that an interex person is born with both complete sets of female and male genitalia.
  • Intersex is not a disorder, it is a variation in sexual development.
  • Most intersex South Africans do not know that they are intersex, you cannot tell who is intersex and who isn’t just by looking at a person.

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