Identity is not a part of your life; in many ways, it is your life. Each person's experiences, cradle to grave, will differ depending on factors including race, class, religion, nationality, sexuality and gender. These differences between us make life interesting and exciting, but they can also become stumbling blocks, making room for difficulties, discrimination and prejudice.

In the course of your life, you will meet people vastly different from you. How you relate to others and how you interact with them depends on your knowledge of their experiences, but also, more important, your ability and willingness to empathize with those who identify differently than you do. You can get a head start on making these interactions easier, more pleasant and more beneficial for everyone involved by doing some preemptive research.

Gender identity

Two factors of identity that inarguably dictate much of a person's life are sex and gender. But how are they different? At delivery, a child's birth certificate will reflect the genitalia the child was born with: male or female. But not everyone's body is so easily categorized as that