Sexuality & Gender

Student Services - Five students walking over the road outside the GCW library.

What’s the difference between sex, gender and sexuality?

Sex, gender and sexuality are more complex concepts than people might think:

  • Sex: Refers to the legal status that was initially determined by sex characteristics observed at birth.
  • Sex characteristics: A person’s physical sex features, such as their chromosomes, hormones and reproductive organs.
  • Gender: When talking about gender, it’s practical to break this out into gender identity and gender expression.
    • Gender identity: How someone inherently knows what their gender is in their brain and body, despite what their sex assigned at birth might be.
    • Gender expression: How someone expresses their gender externally through things like hairstyle, clothing, mannerisms, name and pronouns.
  • Sexuality: Relates to who people are attracted to. It’s good to know that people can experience attraction in ways that are physical, sexual and romantic – and those attractions may be with people of different genders and/or sexualities.

We understand university may be a place to explore your gender and sexuality. We want students to feel safe and supported and have a dedicated wellbeing advisor in the Student Wellbeing Centre who you can talk to. We also have a counselling service which all students can access if you want to explore and understand things more. You may also want to speak to your GP about how you are feeling. Please do contact us for more information.

Telephone drop-in appointments available Monday to Friday 12-2pm or Thursday 5-7pm (term time)

Please call 01522 885400 or email

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