Let’s sit down together and converse about gender, gender identity, and gender expression. Gender is inherently different from sex. Sex assigned at birth is based on biology, while gender identity and expression are complex and personal.
Listed below are 43 gender identity and expression terms with definitions, in alphabetical order. If you are looking to broaden your understanding and knowledge when it comes to talking and speaking about gender, this is a good place to start.
However, it is important to understand these by no means are all the terms that you need to know or all of the terms out there! Also, there are many different perspectives and thoughts about how to define these individual terms. Additionally, many of the meanings and definitions for these terms are always evolving and often overlap at times.
With that being said, here we go:
Abigender is a gender experience that involves identifying as two distinct gender identities, while simultaneously experiencing an agender identity. Therefore, an individual that is abigender is bigender and agender.
AFAB is an acronym that means “assigned female at birth”.
3. Affirmed Gender
Affirmed Gender is a person’s confirmed gender identity.
Agender translates to “without gender.” People who identify as agender do not identify with any particular gender. People also use agender when referring to themselves as gender-neutral or having an undefinable gender.
AMAB is an acronym that means assigned male at birth.
Ambigender is a gender identity that is under the umbrella of bigender. It is when a person experiences two static gender identities simultaneously and those identities are not fluid.
Androgyne is a non-binary gender identity. An androgynous individual is a person whose gender identity has “masculine” and “feminine” elements or qualities simultaneously. An androgyne individual can identify as more “masculine” or “feminine,” it does not have to be equal or stagnant.
Bigender individuals have two distinct gender identities at the same or different times. These distinct identities are fluid meaning that their distinct gender identities can be present at the same or at different times.
Cassgender is a gender identity that refers to feeling that one’s gender is not important or indifferent towards gender. In other words, indifferent to their gender. However, this does not mean that a cassgender individual lacks gender.
Cisgender refers to a person whose gender identity corresponds with their assigned sex at birth.
Cisnormativity is the assumption that all individuals are cisgender and their gender identity matches their biological sex.
Demigender is a gender identity that derives from the French prefix “demi,” which means half. Demigender means an individual feels partially connected to a certain gender identity or multiple gender identities. It is also used as an umbrella term for demi-identities such as demiboy, demigirl, demifluid, deminonbinary, and more.
Feminine-of-center is a phrase that describes people who understand their gender expression and gender identity as more feminine. However, this does not mean that they identify as a woman and does not mean that those that are feminine-of-center will present or represent themselves in a feminine way. It is an inclusive term that includes a number of identities.
Feminine-presenting is a term that describes a person who expresses or presents gender physically in a more feminine way. This can be through style, clothing, hair, appearance, behavior, etc.
Masculine-of-center is a term that was coined by B. Cole of the Brown Boi Project. It is used to describe people who understand their gender expression and gender identity as more masculine. Similarly, to feminine-of-center, this does not mean that they identify as a man. It also does not mean that those that masculine-of-center will present or represent themselves in a masculine way. It is an inclusive term that includes a number of identities.
Masculine-presenting is a term that describes a person who expresses or presents gender physically in a more masculine way. This can be through style, clothing, hair, appearance, behavior, etc.
Gender is on a spectrum, and it is not related to sexual orientation. Gender refers to a person’s identity and is independent of a person’s physical body.
18. Gender apathetic
Gender apathetic is when an individual does not care for or specifically identify as a certain gender. Those how are gender apathetic are typically flexible and do not necessarily care how other people gender them.
19. Gender Binarism
Gender binarism is the belief that the classification of gender is two distinct, opposing categories. The classifications, masculine/male and feminine/female, are determined by an individual’s sex. The gender binary model enforces social structures, ideologies, and stereotypes that dictate gender roles and norms within our society. Gender binarism supports actions and thoughts that promote the gender binary while simultaneously excluding, harming, and perpetuating the eraser of individuals who identify as nonbinary.
20. Gender identity
A person’s gender identity is based on how a person feels, not by their sex or biological makeup. One’s gender identity is based on their own understanding of themselves. Gender is personal and can be complex. There are numerous gender identities. All gender identities deserve to be respected, supported, and valued.
21. Gender expression
Gender expression is how a person outwardly expresses their gender identity. This includes appearances, behaviors, and interests. Gender expression can also be referred to as gender presentation.
Gender-neutral does not fit within the gender binary and is non-binary. Gender-neutral refers to language, spaces, objects, and other aspects of our society.
23. Gender non-conforming
Gender non-conforming is not adhering to the ideological systems within our society that dictates and influences gender roles. This term refers to gender expression and presentation. Gender non-conforming can be used to describe roles, preferences, actions, and behaviors that do not align with perceived gender norms.
24. Gender normative
Gender normative refers to behaviors and ideals that align or are compatible with cultural-expectations and norms associated with binary gender roles.
25. Gender questioning
Gender questioning is the process of actively questioning and exploring one’s gender identity or gender expression.
26. Gender Transitioning
Gender transitioning is a personal process to change one’s gender presentation to match their gender identity.
Genderfluid individuals have gender identities that change over time and are dynamic instead of static. Their gender identity can change over long and short periods of time.
28. Gender Dysphoria
Gender dysphoria is discomfort or distress related or associated with an individual’s relationship with their gender identity.
Genderqueer and nonbinary often overlap. Genderqueer refers to a spectrum of gender identities and can be considered an umbrella term for non-normative gender identities and forms of gender expression. This includes nonbinary gender identities, a combination of genders, experiencing multiple gender identities, those who do not identify as a certain gender, and those who experience other non-normative gender experiences.
Greygender is a gender identity for those who possess mixed feelings about gender expression and identifies outside the gender binary.
Intergender is a nonbinary gender identity that falls in between the binary genders, female and male.
Intersex is an umbrella term that is used for a variety of conditions when a person is born with sex and biological characteristics such as chromosomes, genetics, genitalia, hormones, and organs that do not fit or match the conventional definitions of female and male.
Misgendering is when a person intentionally or unintentionally makes an assumption about a person’s gender identity or refers to a person using language that does not align with a person’s gender identity.
Multi-gender is an umbrella that is used for a person who experiences multiple genders. A person can experience two genders or more at a time. A person can also shift between gender identities. It is also used as a gender identity.
Neutrois refers to an individual who identifies as genderless. However, neutrois is often defined and experienced differently from person to person.
Nonbinary individuals’ gender identities do not fall into the binary categories of female and male.
Novigender is a gender identity when a person’s gender experience is too complex to label or give a singular word.
Pangender is a gender identity that is a nonbinary experience that encompasses a wide multiplicity of genders, which can be infinite.
Polygender is a gender identity that is used when individual experiences multiple gender identity at the same time or at different times. Polygender typically can identify with four or more gender identities.
Sex and gender are often used interchangeably; however, they are not the same. Sex refers to the biological makeup of an individual.
41. Sex assigned at birth
Sex assigned at birth is the label that an individual receives when they are born that is indicative of their biology. This includes your hormones, chromosomes, and genitalia.
Transgender is when a person’s gender identity does not align or match with their sex assigned at birth.
Trigender is a gender identity that means “three genders.” An individual who identifies as trigender experiences three genders. The three genders can be experienced simultaneously or fluidly.
Before you go, let me remind you one more time to remember that these terms and phrases that describe gender identity and expression are not set-in-stone. The meanings are constantly evolving, and new terminology for gender expression is often being created.
Also, this list is certainly not all the terms used to describe gender identity and expression! Most importantly, these terms and gender experiences can differ based on an individual’s perspective with their own gender identity and expression.
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