Here at Livewire, we’re a pretty accepting bunch. We know that people come in all types, shapes and sizes. We get that people have different tastes, likes and dislikes. And we understand that people have a wide variety of different identities and different ways of seeing themselves and their bodies.
One of the things that people often use to identify themselves is their gender. It might seem pretty simple- you are born a male or a female, and you stay that way. But that’s not always the way it works.
Sometimes, a person is born into a body that doesn’t fit the gender they feel they are. Someone might be identified as a male when they are born. But as they get older, they realise that the label of male, or boy, or man, just didn’t fit them at all. They know in their heart that their correct gender is female. It’s just that their physical body doesn’t fit that the gender they feel themselves to be.
Identifying as a gender different to the one you were born is called ‘gender diversity’, and it’s probably much more common than you think. There’s a few terms that fall under gender diversity, all of them slightly different. Some of the terms that you might come across are…
Gender Diverse- People who are gender diverse might be transgender, or agender, or non-binary, or might just be thinking and questioning how gender applies to them.
Transgender, or trans – This is where your physical body doesn’t represent the gender you know yourself to be. So, someone might be assigned a female gender at birth, but they know that inside, they identify as male.
Agender – This one applies to a people who feel that gender doesn’t actually apply to them at all. They don’t feel male or female. They just feel like themselves, and the gender label doesn’t mean anything.
Non-binary – A bit like agender, people who identify as non-binary don’t feel like male or female specifically applies to them. They identify as neither male nor female, but another gender entirely.
Gender Fluid – A person who is gender fluid feels their gender may change from day to day. Some days they might be male, some days female, and some days neither.
Cisgender – Cisgender people are those that do identify with the gender they are assigned a birth. If you were assigned as a female at birth, and you feel like a female all the time- you’re cisgender.
All these terms are totally okay and can be great tools to use to tell other people how you see yourself. It’s up to individuals to decide what words they want to use to identify themselves. It’s okay for people to change their mind about how they identify as well. They might identify as transgender, and then a day, a week, a month or a year later, they will identify as something else. We’re all fluid, and our identity changes often.
If someone you know does identify as transgender or non-binary, they might ask you to change the way you refer to them. Changing your pronouns can be very important for some people, and often a difficult thing to express.
A pronoun is what you call someone when you’re not using their name. The most common pronouns are he/his/him and she/hers/her. Some people feel these don’t correctly apply to them, so they might ask that you use the pronouns they/theirs/them instead. They/them/theirs are pronouns that mean the same thing as he/his/him, or she/hers/her, but are gender neutral.
Using the pronouns people prefer can be tricky sometimes- it can be difficult to remember to use the right pronoun when you’re used to referring to a person in a particular way. If you do slip up and use the wrong pronoun, just apologise, correct yourself and move on. It gets easier with practice!
That’s just some basics on gender and pronouns. Gender can be a pretty complex thing, and the way people identify can be fluid and changeable. What’s important is the person and what they mean to you. At Livewire, everyone’s welcome and we want everyone to feel comfortable. Recognising people’s different genders and the way they identify is just one small thing we can do to make sure everyone is accepted here, and that Livewire remains the safe, awesome space you all know and love.