Helping Shape Your Future

Since 1986

Helping Shape Your Future

Since 1986

Personal Development theme of the month:

Sexual Orientation, Gender Reassignment & Gender Identity

What Is Sexual Orientation?

Sexual orientation is a term used to refer to a person’s pattern of emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction to people of a particular gender (male or female).

Sexuality is an important part of who we are as humans. Beyond the ability to reproduce, sexuality also defines how we see ourselves and how we physically relate to others.

Sexual orientation is usually divided into these categories:

  • Heterosexual: Attracted to people of the opposite gender
  • Bisexual: Attracted to genders the same as themselves or different than themselves”.
  • Homosexual: Attracted to people of one’s own gender
  • Pansexual: Attracted to people of any gender identity
  • Asexual: Not sexually attracted to other people
Sexual orientation involves a person’s feelings and sense of identity; it’s not necessarily something that’s noticeable to others. People may or may not act on the attractions they feel.

What is gender reassignment?

Gender reassignment is a protected characteristic and the term refers to someone who is transgendered. It includes anyone who has proposed, started or completed a process to change his or her sex.

What is the difference between gender reassignment and gender identity?

The internet defines gender identity as a person’s innate sense of their own gender, whether male, female or something else, which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned at birth. Gender reassignment discrimination is when someone is treated less favourably because of being trans

What is it called when you have a gender change?

Transgender: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender people may identify as straight, gay, bisexual or some other sexual orientation

How common is gender reassignment?

It is estimated that 0.56% of Uk adults (560 per 100,000) identify as transgender. A decision to undertake gender reassignment is made when an individual feels that his or her gender at birth does not match their gender identity. This is called ‘gender dysphoria’ and is a recognised medical condition.

What is gender reassignment discrimination?

This is when you are treated differently because you are transsexual, in one of the situations covered by the Equality Act.

The treatment could be a one-off action or as a result of a rule or policy. It doesn’t have to be intentional to be unlawful.

There are some circumstances when being treated differently due to gender reassignment is lawful, explained below within the YouTube clip.

Different types of gender reassignment discrimination

  • Direct discrimination – This happens when someone treats you worse than another person in a similar situation because you are transsexual
  • Indirect discrimination – Indirect discrimination happens when an organisation has a particular policy or way of working that puts transsexual people at a disadvantage
  • Harassment – Harassment is when someone makes you feel humiliated, offended or degraded because you are transsexual
  • Victimisation – This is when you are treated badly because you have made a complaint of gender reassignment related discrimination under the Equality Act. It can also occur if you are supporting someone who has made a complaint of gender reassignment related discrimination

What is the relationship between gender and identity?

Gender identity is each person’s internal and individual experience of gender. It is a person’s sense of being a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. A person’s gender identity may be the same as or different from their birth-assigned sex.

Useful links

CIPD logo

CIPD: Sexual orientation, gender identity and gender reassignment

Explore the CIPD’s point of view on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender reassignment, including actions for Government and recommendations for employers

EASS logo

Equality Advisory & Support Service

The helpline advises and assists individuals on issues relating to equality and human rights, across England, Scotland and Wales.

University of Cambridge logo

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

The University of Cambridge has more than 20,000 students, from 140 countries. 

Support groups

Supportline ogo

SupportLine provides a confidential helpline offering emotional support to any individual on any issue.

beaumont logo


The largest and longest established transgender support group in the UK

Discovery learning platform

Through February NWCS are celebrating Sexual Orientation, Gender Reassignment & Gender Identity. Relevant to all British Values, also the Equality Act 2010. A further learning opportunity in relation to Emotional Intelligence has been set up for you via the Discovery learning platform.

Please ensure to speak with your Training Officer about this.