LGBTQ+ @ Williams: Genders, Sexuality and Pronouns

Gender Identity

  • Gender Identity describes one’s internal experience and understanding of one's gender.

Gender Expression

  • Gender Expression describes the external expression of gender and potential visual interpretation of their gender identity.

Sex Assigned at Birth

  • Sex is different from gender. Sex is a categorization of biological sex, often assigned or designated at the time of birth based on the superficial appearance of an infant’s genitals. Sex, however, contains many more variables than the external construction of one’s genitals at infancy. One’s biological sex is composed of multiple variables, including individual hormone production, internal organs, and external genitalia.

Physical attraction and sexual orientation

  • Physical attraction describes who you find yourself physically attracted to, or who you feel intimate desire for.

  • Sexual orientation is a way to describe one's tendencies, preferences, or identity within the realm of physical attraction and intimate behavior. Some people identify with experiencing sexual attraction while others do not, and may instead identify with asexual experiences of identity. 

      • Asexual, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer are all examples of sexual orientations. 

Romantic attraction and romantic orientation

  • Romantic attraction describes a desire for romantic relationships with another, different from physical attraction.

    • While romantic attraction can correlate with physical attraction, the two do not have to overlap.

  • Romantic orientation describes how one identifies with regard to their romantic tendencies, preferences, and identity. 

    • Panromantic, aromantic, and heteroromantic are all examples of romantic orientations.


A gender-neutral or gender-inclusive pronoun is a pronoun that does not associate a gender with the individual who is being discussed.

Some languages, such as English, do not have a gender-neutral or third gender pronoun available, and this has been criticized, since, in many instances, writers, speakers, etc. use “he/his” when referring to a generic individual in the third person. Also, the dichotomy of “he and she” in English does not leave room for other gender identities, which is a source of frustration to the transgender and genderqueer communities.

People who are limited by languages that do not include gender-neutral pronouns have attempted to create them, in the interest of greater equality.