Gender Identity and Sexuality

Gender and sexuality are often used interchangeably but in reality, they are separate and distinct.

Gender Identity is understood to refer to each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth, including the personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech, and mannerisms.” (WHO, 2016)

Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles, and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors”. (WHO, 2006a)

‘The Genderbread Person’

The Genderbread Person is a cute, approachable model for understanding the social construction of gender, based on the input of thousands of voices over several decades.

This graphic has been developed by Its Pronounced Metrosexual

The Gingerbread person

Useful Articles/Leaflets

Learn more about sexuality, gender identity and gender expression. Source: Spunout

This leaflet explains how you can improve your mental health, particularly when you might feel very low due to challenges related to being lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex (LGBTI+).

Source: HSE

Gender, sex and sexuality are all pretty complicated ideas – and definitely not as black and white as some people might think. The most important thing to realise is that you’re not defined by your sexuality or gender. Source:

Sexuality covers a broad spectrum and is also deeply personal. It’s about understanding the sexual feelings and attractions we feel towards others, not who we happen to have sex with. There are different types of sexuality, and it can take time to figure out what fits right with you. Source:

An ally is someone who stands up for, supports and encourages the people around them. Source:

10 Sexualities To Know About

Greenbow is a Facebook organisation for deaf LGBTQIA+ adults in Ireland.

HeForShe is a UN campaign for the advancement for gender equality.

It’s Pronounced Metrosexual provides resources for individuals, groups, schools, and advocates about gender, social justice, and sexuality. have libraries of information, personal stories and advice for LGBT people and their families. have libraries of information, personal stories and advice for LGBT people and their families.

Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) aim to improve conditions and advance rights and equality of trans people and their families.

BelonG To                       

01 670 6223 (Mon-Fri: 9am-1pm & 2pm-5pm)

Offer support to LGBTI+ young people (14-24 years). They advocate and campaign on behalf of young LGBTI+ people and offer a specialised LGBTI+ youth service with a focus on mental and sexual health, alongside drug and alcohol support.

ATU Sligo Counselling Service 

071 9305463  (Mon to Fri: 9am to 4pm)

Aims to provide a confidential support service that is free of charge to all registered ATU Sligo students residing in the Republic of Ireland. The service offers students the opportunity to explore any issue which may be impacting on their mental health and general well-being in a confidential setting.

LGBT Helpline              

1890 929 539 or online chat at (Mon to Thurs: 6:30pm to 10:00pm, Fri: 4:00pm to 10:00pm, Sat and Sun: 4:00pm to 6:00pm)

The LGBT Helpline is a non-judgmental and confidential service providing listening, support, and information to LGBT+ people, their family and friends, and to those who are questioning if they might be LGBT+.

Pieta House                 1800 247 247 or Text HELP to 51444

Provides a free therapeutic approach to people who are experiencing suicidal ideation, engaging in self-harm, or have been bereaved by suicide.  

Rape Crisis Help           1800 778888 (24 hours)

A free and confidential listening and support service for anyone who has been raped, sexually assaulted, sexually harassed, or sexually abused at any time in their lives.

SAGA Sligo                     

083 843 3461   

SAGA Sligo is a group representing sexuality and gender acceptance in the North-West of the country.

Transgender Family Support Line       

01 907 3707 (Sun: 6pm to 9pm, Tues: 10am to 12pm)

A volunteer-led listening and support service for family members of trans and gender non-conforming people in Ireland.