Definitions and distinctions

This group is an alliance between two distinct groups of people: transgender writers and writers with intersex variations. Some people may be both.

Transgender is a term that covers a wide range of people whose common experience is that the sex they were assigned at birth differs from their inner sense of gender (their sense of being female, male, something other or ‘in between’).1, 2, 3

Intersex people are born with physical or biological sex characteristics (such as sexual anatomy, reproductive organs, hormonal patterns and/or chromosomal patterns) that do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies. For some intersex people these traits are apparent at birth, while for others they emerge later in life, often at puberty. Intersex traits are also often evident prenatally.4

Intersex people are diverse. Most intersex people are women or men, and most identify with binary sex assigned at birth. Some intersex people have other ways of understanding their identities.5, 6, 7


  1. GQ: Gender Questioning
  2. GLAAD Media Reference Guide – Transgender Issues
  3. ‘Transgender Oppression Definitions’, Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice
  4. United Nations – Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, ‘Intersex Awareness Day – Wednesday 26 October’
  5. United Nations – Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, ‘Free & Equal Campaign Fact Sheet: Intersex’
  6. United Nations for Intersex Awareness
  7. Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions, ‘Promoting and Protecting Human Rights: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Sex Characteristics’