Gender Identity

Lens: Type: Characteristic
Gender Identity:

A person’s sense of their own gender.

People identify as a gender, based on factors that stretch beyond sex assigned at birth. There are more than two genders, though many societies define people as male or female. People may identify their gender as different than their sex based on their self-concept and how they feel. People can be more or less masculine, feminine, neither, or something else. A person’s gender identification is a more accurate representation of their gender than sex. Visual appearance is not always a clear indicator of a person’s gender identification. Evidence exists that biological factors influence gender identity, so this aspect is positioned in the people: self stack in the AoE4D Framework.

Gender Identity Examples

  • Transgender
  • Two-Spirit
  • Cisgender
  • Non-Binary
  • Genderqueer
  • Gender fluid
  • Gender neutral

Researching Gender Identity

A person’s gender identity is based on how a person feels and perceives themself. Researching gender identity can give designers insights into how a person defines their own identity in their own words, despite their sex. Because gender identification can be viewed differently in some cultures—especially those that only espouse binary gender identities—researching gender identity can require special care. Still, empowering a person to define themselves despite social norms gives the person agency and recognizes their rights to feel like and be who they are.

Questions to Ask About Gender Identity

  • How does this person define their gender?
  • In what ways could this person be marginalized because of who they are?

Look for These When Researching Gender Identity

  • A person shares their gender identification.
  • The way a person dresses (be careful, what a person wears is not always a clear indication of their gender identity)
  • How a person’s gender identification is a source of belonging or possibly a reason why they are shunned.


References and sources that support the inclusion of this Aspects of Experiences for Design component.


Fleischman, J. (2020). Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity Issues, And Worldview. Journal of Unification Studies, 21, 111-119.

Physical Sciences

Clausen, S., Tajadura-Jiménez, A., Janssen, C. P., & Bianchi-Berthouze, N. (2021). Action sounds informing own body perception influence gender identity and social cognition. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 15.

Thompson, H. M., Kronk, C. A., Feasley, K., Pachwicewicz, P., & Karnik, N. S. (2021). Implementation of Gender Identity and Assigned Sex at Birth Data Collection in Electronic Health Records: Where Are We Now. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(12).

Social Sciences

Abed, E. C., Schudson, Z. C., Gunther, O. D., Beischel, W. J., & van Anders, S. M. (2019). Sexual and gender diversity among sexual and gender/sex majorities: Insights via sexual configurations theory. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 48(5), 1423-1441. doi:10.1007/s10508-018-1340-2

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Gender Identity, APA dictionary of psychology. Retrieved October 27, 2019 from

Carpenter, C. S., Eppink, S. T., & Gonzales, G. (2020). Transgender Status, Gender Identity, and Socioeconomic Outcomes in the United States. ILR Review, 73(3), 573-599.


Chau, P.-L., & Herring, J. (2002). Defining, Assigning And Designing Sex. International Journal of Law, Policy & the Family, 16(3), 327-366.

Frye, P. R. (2000). The international bill of gender rights vs. the cider house rules: transgenders struggle with the courts over what clothing they are allowed to wear on the job, which restroom they are allowed to use on the job, their rights to marry, and the very definition of their sex. William & Mary Journal of Women & the Law, 7(1), 133-216.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. (n.d.). Sex, Gender, and Gender Identity. Retrieved October 28, 2019 from

R29 Editors. (2018). Gender Nation Glossary. Retrieved from

Sexuality Education Resource Centre MB, & Klinic Community Health Education. (n.d.). Teen Talk: Gender Identity. Retrieved September 10, 2019 from

The Human Rights Campaign. (n.d.). Glossary of Terms. Retrieved October 27, 2019 from