Definitions

  • Gender – denotes the public (and usually legally recognized) lived role as boy or girl, man or woman. Biological factors combined with social and psychological factors contribute to gender development.
  • Assigned gender – refers to a person’s initial assignment as male or female at birth. It is based on the child’s genitalia and other visible physical sex characteristics.
  • Gender-atypical – refers to physical features or behaviors that are not typical of individuals of the same assigned gender in a given society.
  • Gender-nonconforming – refers to behaviors that are not typical of individuals with the same assigned gender in a given society.
  • Gender reassignment – denotes an official (and usually legal) change of gender.
  • Gender identity – is a category of social identity and refers to an individual’s identification as male, female or, occasionally, some category other than male or female. It is one’s deeply held core sense of being male, female, some of both or neither, and does not always correspond to biological sex.
  • Gender dysphoria – as a general descriptive term refers to an individual’s discontent with the assigned gender. It is more specifically defined when used as a diagnosis.
  • Transgender – refers to the broad spectrum of individuals who transiently or persistently identify with a gender different from their gender at birth. (Note: the term transgendered is not generally used.)
  • Transsexual – refers to an individual who seeks, or has undergone, a social transition from male to female or female to male. In many, but not all, cases this also involves a physical transition through cross-sex hormone treatment and genital surgery (sex reassignment surgery).
  • Genderqueer – blurring the lines around gender identity and sexual orientation. Genderqueer individuals typically embrace a fluidity of gender identity and sometimes sexual orientation.
  • Gender fluidity – having different gender identities at different times.
  • Agendered – ‘without gender,’ individuals identifying as having no gender identity.
  • Cisgender – describes individuals whose gender identity or expression aligns with the sex assigned to them at birth.
  • Gender expansiveness – conveys a wider, more flexible range of gender identity and/or expression than typically associated with the binary gender system.
  • Gender expression – the manner in which a person communicates about gender to others through external means such as clothing, appearance, or mannerisms. This communication may be conscious or subconscious and may or may not reflect their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Preferred Gender Pronouns

Some transgender and gender-nonconforming people may prefer gender-neutral or gender-inclusive pronouns when talking to or about them. “They” and “their” are sometimes used as gender-neutral singular pronouns. Singular gender-neutral pronouns also include “ze” (or “zie”) and “hir.”