Transgender Awareness Week | Glossary


A useful glossary of the terms surrounding gender identity and being transgender.

This week is Transgender Awareness Week, helping to increase the visibility of transgender people and address the issues this community faces. Transgender refers to an individual who feels that their gender identity does not match the gender that they were assigned at birth. As many as 1 in 1000 people may question their gender identity, either temporarily or permanently, and children as young as two can feel that they live in the ‘wrong’ body.

The Scout Association is committed to ensuring that we are open to all young people, allowing them to join the adventure and feel comfortable to be themselves. Understanding gender identity and the terms young people may use to describe their identity can be an effective way of ensuring that we create welcoming and inclusive spaces.

The following is a glossary of useful terms from Stonewall, to help Leaders feel equipped to support young people who are transgender, or who have questions about gender identity.


Assigned gender – assigned at birth to a person on the basis of primary sex characteristics and reproductive functions.

Cisgender - someone whose gender identity is the same as the gender they were assigned at birth.

Gender Dysphoria - discomfort or distress caused when a person feels there is a mismatch between the gender they were assigned at birth and their gender identity.

Gender expression – how individuals outwardly express their gender (for example, through their clothes and hairstyle).

Gender identity - a person’s internal sense of their own place on the gender spectrum.

Gender stereotypes - ways we expect people to behave, according to what is commonly accepted as ‘normal’ for someone of their gender. Stereotypes can seem innocuous, but can be very damaging to anyone struggling with their sense of who they are.

Non-binary - an umbrella term for a person who does not identify as male or female.

Pronouns - words used to refer to individuals’ gender in conversation, like ‘he’ or ‘she’. Some people may prefer gender neutral pronouns, such as ‘they’.


There are further resources available for supporting young people and adult volunteers with their gender identity, including tips for making your section more inclusive. More information about gender can be found from The Gender Trust and Mermaids. You can join the conversation by using #Transweek on social media.

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