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What is Gender Identity?

What is Gender Identity?

Gender identity refers to your internal knowledge of your own gender (knowing you’re a man, woman or neither). For example, an adult or young person could be:

  • transgender or trans: people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth
  • transitioning: the steps a trans person may take to live in the gender with which they identify
  • non-binary: people who feel their gender cannot be defined within the margins of gender binary, therefore they do not identify as male or female
  • intersex: a person who may, at birth, have the biological attributes of both sexes or whose biological attributes do not fit with societal assumptions about what constitutes male or female
  • questioning: someone questioning their gender identity

Take the time to research these so you feel comfortable in your knowledge of them should a young person or adult want to discuss their gender with you. 

Scouting is open to all and welcomes young people and adults, regardless of their gender. This guidance has information on supporting young people, adult volunteers and external organisations who can provide more information.

A person’s gender identity is their inner sense of their own gender. This is different from their assigned ‘sex’. We are all assigned a sex at birth (male or female) based on the physical attributes we are born with. Be aware too that a person’s gender identity is separate from their sexual orientation – more information on sexual orientation.

It's important that in Scouts all young people and adults feel welcome, included and valued for who they are. Be aware that someone who is LGBT+ may have experienced discrimination or bullying in other areas of their life. Therefore it is ever more important that scouting creates a positive, supportive environment which actively celebrates difference.