It may be the case that healthcare workers don’t feel confident in their knowledge around gender diversity. Uncertainty around the appropriate language to use is often reported and healthcare workers may not have accessed specific training on gender issues.

A person’s sex, as determined by their biology, does not always correspond with their gender. Therefore, the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are not interchangeable.

‘Sex’ refers to physical or physiological differences between male, female and intersex bodies, including both primary sex characteristics (the reproductive system) and secondary sex characteristics (such as breasts and facial hair).

‘Gender’ is a term that refers to social or cultural distinctions associated with a given sex; it is generally considered to be a socially constructed concept.

‘Gender identity’ is the extent to which a person identifies with their sex assigned at birth. In many Western cultures, individuals who identify with a role that is different from their biological sex are called transgender.

‘Sexuality’ refers to a person’s sexual interest in and attraction to others, as well as their capacity to have erotic experiences and responses.

Whether someone is ‘cis’ (someone whose gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth), ‘trans’ (someone who identifies as a different gender to the one they were assigned at birth) or ‘non-binary’ (someone who doesn’t neatly fit into the categories of male or female) – we aim to work with you to understand which tests and advice would be most helpful.

Resources for healthcare professionals who have trans/NB patients:
The Stonewall website provides an up-to-date glossary of current terminology relevant to LGBTQI+ people.

The Laurels is the Specialist Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) based in the southwest of England (although all GICs will accept referrals from throughout England).

The Gender Identity Research and Education Society (Gires) have online e-learning packages on the topic of gender variance written specifically for GPs and also caring for gender nonconforming young people.

The Intercom Trust is a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community resource in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and the wider South West. They run a variety of self referral support groups for patients and also training sessions for healthcare staff.