Understand Gender-Related Terminology

  • Sex – a biological construct, sex is designated at birth, e.g. female, male, intersex. (Typically only female and male are available to choose.) Intersex means born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit with definitions of male or female.
    •  AFAB, abbreviates, assigned female at birth
    •  AMAB, abbreviates, assigned male at birth
  • Gendera social construct of cultural expectations based on sex. Expectations differ across time and culture. Examples of gender include transgender, feminine, masculine, androgynous, and non-binary. Not everyone is ‘gender conforming’.
Gender is better thought of as a spectrum rather than a binary construct.

I’ve always felt as masculine as I do feminine. I can’t really choose a gender. The world doesn’t know what gender I am.

Sara Kelly Keenan
  • Gender Identity – innermost self-concept of gender, as male, female, a blend of both or neither. Gender identity cannot be seen.
  • Gender Expression – external presentation of gender identity, including mannerisms and clothing.
  • Androgynous – a person whose gender expression appear (to you!) of indeterminate, blended or ambiguous sex.
  • Cisgender a human whose gender identity is the same as sex (assigned) at birth.

  • Transgender a person whose gender identity differs from their sex (assigned) at birth. e.g. trans man (assigned female at birth).
    • Trans man  a person who was assigned female at birth and whose gender identity is male.
    • Trans woman a person who was assigned male at birth whose gender identity is female.

Not Gender-related But Often Confused with Gender

  • Sexual Orientation –  inherent pattern of emotional, romantic and sexual attraction towards another person. For example homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual.

Learn More About Experiences of Transgender

An eclectic mix of writing on non-binary sex and gender experiences.