The Gender Unicorn is a visual representation of the different aspects of one’s gender identity and sexuality. It illustrates the concepts of Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sex Assigned at Birth in an accessible way as well as show their distinction from Sexual and Romantic Orientation.

Language is ever evolving and while there are dozens, maybe even hundreds of words used to described transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people’s experiences and identities, we are only going to list a few here – the ones most commonly used throughout this site.


Refers to a person whose sex at birth is different than who they know they are on the inside.

Sex Assigned at Birth

The designation by a doctor at the time of your birth as male, female, intersex, or another sex based on your physical anatomy.

Gender Identity

One’s internal, deeply held sense of one’s gender. For transgender people, their own internal gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth.

Gender Expression

Refers to the ways in which people externally communicate their gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, haircut, voice, and other forms of presentation. Gender expression also works in the other direction, as people assign gender to others based on their appearance, mannerisms, and other characteristics often assigned a gender.

Gender Non-Conforming (GNC)

Refers to people who do not follow society’s ideas or stereotypes about how they should appear or act based on the sex they were assigned at birth.


An umbrella term for all (a)genders other than woman/man; Not all trans people are nonbinary and not all nonbinary people are trans.

Cisgender (cis)

An adjective used to describe someone who identifies with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Gender Expansive or Gender Creative

These terms are used to describe people, oftentimes youth, whose gender identity and/or expression go beyond the rigid norms and expectations our society puts on gender, e.g., blue is for boys, pink is for girls.

The Gender Binary

This is a very common system of thought, referring to certain ideas many people hold about gender and sex. The gender binary presumes that everyone is either male of female and relies on three principles:

  1. There are two sexes: man and woman.
  2. Every human is either a boy/man or girl/woman.
  3. Humans born with XY chromosomes, penises, testicles, etc. are always men; humans born with XX chromosomes, vaginas, ovaries, etc. are always women.


An umbrella term for people whose gender identity is outside of, not included within, or beyond the binary of female and male.


When talking about people in general, we will use the pronoun they. Increasingly, people who do not identify with society’s rigid gender norms are identifying with the pronoun they. Therefore, they does not necessarily mean more than one person.

Coming Out

In reference to trans people, coming out can have two separate meanings:

  1. For a person who has not started their transition, coming out can mean telling someone or several people that you are trans and that your true and authentic gender is not the one you were assigned at birth.
  2. For a transitioned person coming out can mean disclosing to someone that you transitioned at some point in the past, and were assigned a different sex at birth than the one in which you currently live.
Pronouns are the words we use to refer to a person without using their name.


She spoke to the class.
We all listened to her.
The pencil was hers.

He spoke to the class.
We all listened to him.
The pencil was his.

They spoke to the class.
We all listened to them.
The pencil was theirs.

“They” can be used in the singular sense (referring to one particular person) – not just plural (referring to two people).

Gender Neutral Pronouns

Gender neutral pronouns (or a person’s name) can be used to refer to someone until you ask for their proper pronouns.





And many more!

Gender Binary

A socially constructed system of viewing gender as consisting of only male and female. In this system, the sex one is assigned at birth determines their upbringing. At TRUTH, we try to work away from the gender binary and encourage those around us to expand their perspectives of gender. We want to create a world where young people are not limited by the sex they are assigned at birth, a world where we actually can be whoever we feel is right.

  • Men’s/Women’s Restrooms/Sports Teams
  • Sex and Gender used interchangeably on documents
  • Media Representation (hypermasculine and hyperfeminine)
  • “Ladies and Gentlemen”
  • People use gender expression to assume gender identity which often leads to the misgendering of many trans folx
  • Gender is one of the first things people use to classify each other when they first meet
  • Those who don’t fit perfectly into binary gender molds (like trans and GNC folx) are often subjected to erasure and misrepresentation, and oppression and violence

Gender Roles

The cultural and societal expectations of a person’s behavior, skills, and characteristics based on their actual or perceived gender. Deeply rooted in sexism and gender binarism.

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