Ask Self Serve – Gender Identity

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Question: I’m not sure about my gender. Where do I get more info?

Answer: Thanks for reaching out to us. It can be daunting to find accurate and positive information about gender variance. Unfortunately, our culture still lacks  common knowledge around the differences between gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth and sexual orientation. To put it simply, gender is between your ears (your brain) and sex is between your legs (your genitals).

Here are some basic definitions for readers: Sex and gender are assigned at birth and typically correspond with apparent genitalia. Gender identity is the internal sense of who you are and it may or may not match your assigned sex at birth. Gender expression is the external presentation of gender identity, often expressed through clothing, hairstyles, voice and body characteristics. Sexual orientation relates to who one is attracted to. It’s actually kinda complex when you think about it. This is an elementary explanation of the immense diversity found in human sexuality and gender. Many folks don’t figure out their gender identity until adolescence or adulthood. Remember that no matter what your identity, there are communities that welcome and support you for who you are. Self Serve can help you find that community here in Albuquerque, and Self Serve is always a safe space to explore and talk about it.

We have a few great books in the store about discovering gender identity and sexual orientation. One of our favorites is Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman. Another book we carry is Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity edited by Mattilda.

In case you want more information and support, we suggest checking out the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico . They are a fantastic local organization that holds support groups, social functions and provides general awesomeness for trans people and their partners and allies in New Mexico.

Getting to know all the layers of  your gender identity can be a lifelong process and your answers may change over time. That’s perfectly normal. If you want to read some inspiring work on the subject of gender identity and other related topics, check out any of Kate Bornstein’s work at

Email your questions to

Questions are answered by Self Serve Staff and edited by Hunter Riley.

Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider for any medical condition.

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