How many genders exist

How Many Genders Are There?

There's a chance you landed here because you may not totally get all the terms and phrases to express gender identity.

“It's understandable that some folks may feel confused or even uncomfortable with all the variations of gender, gender identities, and gender roles,” says Tracy Marsh, PhD, faculty member for Walden University's PhD in Clinical Psychology program, and a licensed psychologist in California who specializes in LGBTQIA issues. Or, you could be exploring your own gender identity and looking for the right words to express yourself and help others understand.

Thankfully, it’s 2022, and many of the terms surrounding gender are becoming more widely recognized in our society. "The language we have around [gender identity] is rapidly expanding to accommodate for the wide variety of gender identities and expressions out there," says Paula Leech, LMFT, an AASECT-certified sex therapist. "The more we can expose ourselves to the diversity of gender identity and expression out in the world, the more likely we are to find ourselves reflected back with greater clarity."

And if you aren't sure about something, the best thing you can do is try to educate yourself. "Reach out and have a respectful dialogue with someone who has more knowledge of these terms and topics. Ask others how they identify and how they prefer to be addressed,” Marsh says.

Meet the experts: Tracy Marsh, PhD, is a faculty member for Walden University's PhD in Clinical Psychology program, and a licensed psychologist in California who specializes in LGBTQIA issues. Paula Leech, LMFT, is an AASECT-certified sex therapist. Jackie Golob, MS, works at a private practice at the Centre for Sexual Wellness in Minnesota

Women's Health spoke to experts on those questions you may want to ask, but don't know exactly where to start: What exactly does gender identity mean? What is biological sex vs. gender? And how do gender identity and sexuality relate? First, Jackie Golob, MS, who works at a private practice at the Centre for Sexual Wellness in Minnesota, provides an overview on some commonly confused ideas surrounding gender identity.

  • Genitalia does not equal gender. “The sex characteristics a person is born with do not signify a person's gender identity. When people have ‘gender reveal parties,’ it really should be called a ‘genital reveal party,’” she offers. The concept of gender is a social construct, adds Golob.
  • Forget about the two-gender binary. “Gender is a term that relates to how we feel about ourselves, the way we choose to express our gender through makeup, dresses, high heels, athletic shorts, sneakers, and more,” she explains. Our society has convinced us that there are just two options for gender identity, "male" and "female," based on biological sex. But in reality, there's more fluidity.
  • Gender identity is on a continuum. It’s not just the male/female gender binary—there's a spectrum of gender identity. “[Most people] lie in between [the binary], with personality traits that relate to gender identity, expression, and biological sex. Gender identity can change over time, and it is not fixed,” says Golob. Just because you identify one way at one point in time, does not mean you will always choose that identity, or that your identity won't shift and evolve.
  • Sexuality and gender identity are not the same thing. “Gender identity is how you feel about yourself and the ways you express your gender and biological sex,” says Golob. Meanwhile, sexuality refers to who you are emotionally, physically, romantically, or sexually attracted to, she says. In summary, “gender is how you feel about yourself, while sexuality is how you feel about others,” says Golob.

Now that you have the basics, let’s do a deep dive into gender identity terms and what they each mean.

1. Anatomical sex

                    In conversations about gender, you may hear this expression used. “Gender identity is about one's psychological sense of self. Anatomical sex is comprised of things like genitals, chromosomes, hormones, body hair, and more,” says Sophie Mona Pagès, relationship expert and founder of LVRSNFRNDS, a social network that fosters connections and conversations about relationships.

                    “You may be familiar with the terms ‘AFAB’ (Assigned Female At Birth) and ‘AMAB ’(Assigned Male At Birth). This is what they are about.” AFAB and AMAB people may not choose to identify with those terms during childhood, or when they become adolescents or adults.

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                    2. Cisgender

                      This term describes a person whose gender identity aligns with or matches their assigned sex at birth. “If a doctor assigns gender based on genitalia, when the baby is born and says, ‘It's a girl,’ and that person aligns with their gender, that's what it means to be cisgender,” says Golob, noting that this term sometimes gets shortened to “Cis.”

                      3. Transgender

                      “Transgender people are folks whose gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth. They can be trans men, trans women, and also non-binary people, meaning they do not identify as men or women,” says Pagès.

                      She adds one quick note: “Do not say ‘a trans’ or ‘a transgender.’ Say instead, ‘a trans person,’ ‘a transgender person,’ ‘a trans man,’ or ‘a trans woman.’”

                      4. Cishet

                      “Cishet refers to people whose gender identity and biological sex are aligned (cisgender), and who are sexually attracted to the opposite sex,” says Marsh. For instance, an individual born with a vagina who identifies as female and is romantically involved with males would be described as Cishet.

                      5. Non-binary

                      “Non-binary describes a person who does not identify clearly or exclusively as male or a female, says Alexandra Bausic, M.D., a board-certified OBGYN, and sex educator at Let’s Talk Sex. “They can either feel both gender characteristics or feel different from them.” You may hear non-binary used as an umbrella term for various groups of people that don’t identify as male or female.

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                      6. Intersex

                      A person born with either some combination of both biological sex characteristics (genital organs, hormones, chromosomes) or certain genital variations that don't align with either biological sex is intersex, explains Bausic. “It is a natural variation in human anatomy, and it shouldn’t be perceived as something bad,” she says. Also, it's important to know that being intersex is not uncommon: Planned Parenthood estimates that one to two people out of every 100 in the U.S. are intersex.

                      Bausic adds that some examples of modified anatomic features of intersex people include a clitoris that’s larger than the average, a penis that is smaller than the average, or a closed vagina.

                      7. Genderqueer

                      “Genderqueer people can identify as neither woman nor man, both woman and man, or a combination of these genders,” says Pagès. Sometimes the words “genderqueer” and “non-binary” are used interchangeably.

                      “Genderqueer is often an identity that is also a political statement, and sometimes perceived as a third gender,” adds Marsh.

                      8. Gender-fluid

                      Just like you can be fluid in your sexual orientation of who you’re attracted to, you can also be flexible with your gender. “Gender-fluid typically refers to someone who prefers to express either or both maleness or femaleness, and that can vary, perhaps from day to day,” says Marsh.

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                      “Some people's gender identity varies over time,” adds Pagès, who also recommends looking at the Genderbread Person, a helpful resource on understanding gender, as well as guidelines on explaining gender to others. FYI: The fluid (i.e., transformative) aspect of being gender-fluid can happen at any point in life. You can be super young or a supercentenarian—it doesn’t only occur during a particular time in your lifespan.

                      9. Gender Non-conforming

                      “Gender non-conformity refers to when someone does not conform to their cultural gender norms,” says Marsh. It could be something as minute as an Assigned Male At Birth (AMAB) person wearing nail polish, Marsh explains. That could be considered gender non-conforming, since nail polish is typically attributed to female-presenting people in our society. Or, on a larger scale, the person might not choose to identify with "he/him" or "she/her" pronouns.

                      Since all the specifics of these phrases may start to feel similar, Marsh provides some more useful intel: “The terms gender non-conforming, genderqueer, gender-fluid, and non-binary typically fall under the umbrella of transgender, or those persons who do not identify as cisgender,” says Marsh. But they don't all mean the exact same thing, so it's still important to check in with people to see what labels they prefer.

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                      10. Gender-Expansive

                      You may have heard of “gender non-conforming,” but the phrase “gender-expansive” is coming to be the preferred choice among LGTBQIA+ people.

                      “Gender non-conforming was a term previously used, that still shows up in research and articles today, insinuating something is 'wrong' with a person if they are participating in something in society that is 'non-conforming' of the norm,” says Golob. Essentially, this term is cis-normative, she points out. “Gender-expansive is the term to use instead that allows folks creativity and freedom to not fit into a societal norm,” Golob says.

                      11. Agender

                      “Agender means that one does not identify with any gender,” says Marsh. “They do not feel a sense of male or female,” adds Marsh, noting that like other non-cisgender groups, they may ask to be addressed using the pronouns "they" or "them" rather than "he" or "she."

                      Golob elaborates that “Agender can also mean being gender-free, gender-blank, or genderless,” with no connection to any gender in particular.

                      12. Gendervoid

                      “Gendervoid is a term that is similar to agender, but specifically refers to not only a lack of gender identity, but also a sense of loss or a void in not feeling that gender identity,” explains Marsh. For gendervoid people, they feel like they don’t experience or aren’t able to feel their gender.

                      It may be helpful to remember, in short, that “biological sex is physical, while gender is feeling,” as Golob puts it. There's no pop quiz on these terms, we promise, but becoming familiar with all gender identities is part of being a thoughtful human, no matter where you fall on the gender spectrum.

                      13. Bigender

                      Not to be confused with bisexual, being bigender means "having two gender identities that can be experienced and expressed separately, or that can blend and be experienced simultaneously," says Leech. "Two gender identities can mean identifying as a man and woman, but it can also mean identifying as a man or woman and gender-neutral or agender. "

                      14. Omnigender

                      "Someone who is omnigender identifies with all genders, each gender being experienced as separate with distinct qualities and characteristics," explains Leech. "People who identify as omnigender are often gender-fluid, moving amongst the genders depending on what feels authentic to who they are at a given moment or period in time."

                      15. Pangender

                      According to Leech, omnigender and pangender are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are a few key differences between the two. "Someone who is pangender identifies with, experiences, and 'is' all genders at once," she says. "All genders exist alongside one another simultaneously."

                      16. Two-spirit

                      This term is used by some Indigenous communities to refer to someone who "identifies as having a third gender, encompassing both a masculine and feminine spirit or essence," Leech explains, adding that non-Indigenous people should not use this term.

                        Perri O. Blumberg

                        Perri is a New York City-born-and-based writer; she holds a bachelor's in psychology from Columbia University and is also a culinary school graduate of the plant-based Natural Gourmet Institute, which is now the Natural Gourmet Center at Institute Of Culinary Education. Her work has appeared in the New York Post, Men's Journal, Rolling Stone, Oprah Daily,, Architectural Digest, Southern Living, and more. She's probably seen Dave Matthews Band in your hometown, and she'll never turn down a bloody mary. Learn more at

                        How Many Genders Are There? A Full Identity & Expression List

                        Many people use the terms “gender” and “sex” interchangeably. However, gender and sex actually refer to two separate things.

                        Gender is an identity — your personal sense of who you are. The term can also refer to socially constructed categories that relate to what it means to be a man or a woman.

                        Sex refers to biological and physiological characteristics. Your genitals, hormones, and chromosomes all relate to your sex.

                        Although many are taught that there are only two sexes — male and female — that isn’t true. Some people are intersex or have a difference of sexual development (DSD).

                        Many people grew up with a simplistic idea of gender and sex: that there are two sexes, male and female, that “match” with two genders, man and woman.

                        In reality, neither gender nor sex is binary.

                        The categories used for sex and gender are socially constructed.

                        This doesn’t mean that sex and gender aren’t real, but that the way people conceptualize them isn’t set into the fabric of the universe — it can, and does, change.

                        Your gender identity is your personal sense of self. It’s how you, as an individual, conceptualize your own gender.

                        Gender expression, on the other hand, is how you express your gender identity. Many do this through clothing, behavior, gesticulations — anything people might associate with gender. Your gender expression might match what society expects of your gender, or it might subvert it.

                        Gender presentation is often used interchangeably with “gender expression” in the sense that it’s how you present your gender (whether you intend to or not) externally.

                        Somebody might “present” as one gender when they actually identify with another. For example, a transgender woman might present as masculine, or a nonbinary person might present as feminine. The outside world might assume that they’re one gender, even when they’re not.

                        That’s why it’s important not to make assumptions about someone’s gender based on how they look.

                        Why it matters

                        Language and labels are important parts of understanding your gender and knowing how to be affirming and supportive of other people’s genders — but they can also be confusing.

                        There are so many gender terms out there, many of which overlap. Some also have definitions that shift over time or across different sources of information.

                        Thanks to the internet, we have more access to information, education, and visual representations of diverse genders — but comprehensive and inclusive resources about gender as a concept and this aspect of identity are still lacking.

                        Here, we attempt to bridge this gap by breaking down what many of these terms mean and how to use them.

                        Having language that helps demonstrate the many ways people experience, express, or identify their gender allows us all to more clearly see and understand the entire gender spectrum — including and beyond the traditional binary gender categories of man and woman.

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                        Acronym meaning “assigned female at birth.”


                        Someone who doesn’t identify with the idea or experience of having a gender.


                        A nonbinary gender identity that doesn’t fit into existing gender schemas or constructs.


                        Acronym meaning “assigned male at birth.”


                        Someone who has a gender presentation or identity that’s gender-neutral, androgynous, or has both masculine and feminine characteristics.


                        Both an umbrella term and nonbinary gender identity describing the experience of having a specific gender that’s different from man, woman, or any combination of the two.


                        This term describes someone who identifies with two distinct genders.

                        Bigender indicates the number of gender identities someone has.

                        It doesn’t indicate which genders someone identifies with or the level of identification they have with a particular gender (such as 50 percent male, 50 percent demigirl).


                        Generally, binarism refers to the gender systems and schemas that are based on the existence of two opposing parts, such as man/woman or masculine/feminine.

                        More specifically, binarism is a type of sexism that erases ethnic or culture-specific nonbinary gender roles and identities.

                        Body dysphoria

                        Body dysphoria is different from body dysmorphic disorder.

                        It refers to a specific type of gender dysphoria that manifests as distress or discomfort with aspects of the body.

                        This may include anatomy, shape, size, chromosomes, secondary sex characteristics, or internal reproductive structures.


                        A term, primarily used in LGBTQIA+ Communities of Color, that typically describes someone who has a presentation, sexuality, or gender that’s considered “boyish.”


                        Primarily used in LGBTQIA+ communities, this term typically describes someone with a presentation, sexuality, or gender that’s considered masculine.

                        Butch doesn’t necessarily indicate the other terms that someone might use to describe their presentation, sexuality, or gender.


                        A term used to describe people who exclusively identify with the sex and gender they were assigned at birth.


                        A term that refers to someone who is both cisgender and heterosexual.


                        The assumption that a person identifies with the sex or gender they were assigned at birth, or that having a cisgender gender identity is the norm.


                        A form of oppression that discriminates against those who aren’t cisgender.


                        This nonbinary gender identity describes someone who partially identifies with being a boy, man, or masculine.

                        The term demiboy tells you about someone’s gender identity but doesn’t convey any information about the sex or gender assigned to someone at birth.

                        A demiboy can be cisgender or trans.


                        This umbrella term typically includes nonbinary gender identities and uses the prefix “demi-” to indicate the experience of having a partial identification or connection to a particular gender.

                        This may include:

                        • demigirl
                        • demiboy
                        • demienby
                        • demitrans


                        This nonbinary gender identity describes someone who partially identifies with being a girl, woman, womxn, or feminine.

                        The term demigirl tells you about someone’s gender identity but doesn’t convey any information about the sex or gender assigned to someone at birth.

                        A demigirl can be cisgender or trans.


                        This describes people who have sex characteristics — such as chromosomes, hormones, internal organs, or anatomy — that can be easily categorized into the binary sex framework of male or female.

                        Dyadic conveys information about someone’s sex characteristics but doesn’t indicate anything about their gender.

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                        This describes people who experience their gender as feminine or femme.

                        Some feminine-of-center people also identify with the word “woman,” but others don’t.

                        The term feminine-of-center tells you about someone’s gender identity but doesn’t convey any information about the sex or gender assigned to them at birth.


                        This describes people who have a gender expression or presentation that they or others categorize as feminine.

                        Feminine-presenting is a term that captures the part of someone’s gender that’s shown externally, either through aspects of their style, appearance, physical traits, mannerisms, or body language.

                        This term doesn’t necessarily indicate anything about the way someone identifies their gender or the gender or sex assigned to them at birth.


                        This is a label for a gender identity or expression that describes someone with a gender that is or leans toward feminine.

                        Some femmes also identify with the term “woman,” while many others don’t.

                        Femme indicates the way someone experiences or expresses their gender and doesn’t provide any information about the gender or sex assigned to them at birth.

                        Female-to-male (FTM)

                        This term is most commonly used to refer to trans males, trans men, and some transmasculine people who were assigned female at birth.

                        It’s important to only use this term if someone wants to be referred to this way, as some trans men and transmasculine people use terms that don’t include or indicate the sex they were assigned at birth.

                        Gender apathetic

                        This term describes someone who doesn’t strongly identify with any gender or with any gender labels.

                        Some gender apathetic people also use terms that indicate their relationship with the sex or gender assigned to them at birth — such as cis apathetic or trans apathetic — while others don’t.

                        Generally, people who are gender apathetic display an attitude of flexibility, openness, and “not caring” about how gender identity or presentation is perceived and labeled by others.

                        Gender binary

                        Also known as gender binarism, this term refers to gender classification systems — whether cultural, legal, structural, or social — that organize gender or sex into two mutually exclusive categories such man/woman or masculine/feminine.

                        Gender dysphoria

                        This is both a medical diagnosis and an informal term used to communicate challenging feelings or distress people experience in relation to gender.

                        The medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria refers to a conflict between someone’s assigned sex (as male, female, or intersex) and their gender identity.

                        When used informally, gender dysphoria describes interactions, assumptions, physical traits, or body parts that don’t feel affirming or inclusive of someone’s expressed or experienced gender.

                        Gender expansive

                        An umbrella term that’s used to refer to people who subvert or don’t conform to society’s dominant view of gender.

                        This could include trans people, nonbinary people, people who are gender nonconforming, and more.

                        Gender expression

                        Gender expression is the way someone expresses gender through behavior, mannerisms, interests, physical characteristics, or appearance.

                        It’s often but not always described using terms such as masculine, feminine, neutral, androgynous, conforming, or nonconforming.

                        The words used to describe someone’s gender expression are dependent upon social or cultural norms and stereotypes and may change over time.

                        Gender identity

                        This is the way someone experiences gender internally as part of their core sense of self.

                        Gender identity can’t be assumed based on appearance, anatomy, social norms, or stereotypes.

                        Gender identity isn’t determined by assigned gender or sex, and often develops or changes over time.

                        Gender-neutral pronouns

                        These pronouns aren’t stereotypically or culturally categorized as masculine or feminine or for men or women.

                        Gender-neutral pronouns are used by both cisgender and transgender individuals as a way to affirm and convey important information about who they are and how they want to be referred to.

                        Examples include:

                        • they/them/theirs
                        • ze/hir/hirs
                        • ze/zir/zirs
                        • xe/xem/xyrs

                        Gender nonconforming

                        This term is used to describe people with a gender expression or presentation that’s different from cultural or social stereotypes associated with the person’s perceived or assigned gender or sex.

                        Gender nonconforming isn’t a gender identity, though some people do self-identify using this term.

                        It doesn’t convey any information about the way someone experiences gender internally.

                        More accurately, gender nonconforming is a term used to describe physical traits in relation to socially and culturally defined gender categories.

                        People of any gender — cis, trans, or nonbinary — can be gender nonconforming.

                        Gender normative

                        A term used to describe gender traits or identities that are perceived to fall within social norms and expectations.

                        Gender presentation

                        Similar to gender expression, gender presentation refers to the way someone uses behavior, mannerisms, interests, physical characteristics, or appearance to convey or present a particular gender externally.

                        Gender questioning

                        A person who’s questioning one or multiple aspects of their gender, such as their gender identity or expression.

                        Gender roles

                        The interests, behaviors, and mannerisms that a society or culture assigns to a particular gender or to the things expected of a person based on their assigned, perceived, or actual gender.

                        Gender roles change over time and across cultures.

                        Gender variant

                        Similar to gender nonconforming, gender variant is an umbrella term used to describe people with a gender identity, expression, or presentation that’s different from the perceived social norm or dominant group.

                        Some people dislike this term because of its potential to perpetuate misinformation and negative stigma about noncisgender gender identities and nonconforming presentation being less “normal” or naturally occurring.


                        This label is used to describe gender identity or expression.

                        It involves the experience of moving between genders or having a gender that changes over a particular period of time. For example, from moment to moment, day to day, month to month, year to year, or decade to decade.


                        Similar to the term “gender bender,” this term involves the act of combating or dismantling the gender binary and stereotypes through a gender identity, expression, or presentation that challenges existing norms and expectations in a given cultural context.


                        This nonbinary gender identity and term describes someone with a gender that can’t be categorized as exclusively man or woman, or exclusively masculine or feminine.

                        People who are genderqueer experience and express gender in different ways. This can include neither, both, or a combination of man, woman, or nonbinary genders.


                        A term that describes someone without a gender identity. Although it’s similar to agender, gendervoid is usually associated with a feeling of loss or lack.


                        A gender term that describes someone who experiences ambivalence about gender identity or expression, and doesn’t fully identify with a binary gender that’s exclusively man or woman.

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                        A nonbinary gender identity that describes the experience of having a gender that falls somewhere in between woman and man or is a mix of both man and woman.


                        An umbrella term that describes people who have sex characteristics — such as chromosomes, internal organs, hormones, or anatomy — that can’t be easily categorized into the binary sex framework of male or female.

                        Intersex conveys information about a person’s sex characteristics but doesn’t indicate anything about their gender identity.


                        This term describes people who experience their gender as masculine or masc.

                        Some masculine-of-center people also identify with the word “man,” but many others don’t.

                        The term masculine-of-center tells you about someone’s gender identity but doesn’t convey any information about the sex or gender assigned to them at birth.


                        This term describes people who have a gender expression or presentation that they or others categorize as masculine.

                        Masculine-presenting captures the part of someone’s gender that’s shown externally, either through aspects of their style, appearance, physical traits, mannerisms, or body language.

                        This term doesn’t necessarily indicate anything about the way someone identifies their gender or the gender or sex assigned to them.


                        This nonbinary gender identity emphasizes the inner experience of gender.

                        It describes those who experience gender or have a core gender identity that’s independent of existing categories and definitions of gender, man or woman, masculine or feminine, and androgynous or neutral.


                        The act of referring to someone using a gender pronoun or gendered language that’s incorrect, inaccurate, or not inclusive of the person’s actual gender identity.

                        Male-to-female (MTF)

                        This term is most commonly used to refer to trans women and some transfeminine people who were assigned male at birth.

                        It’s important to only use this term if someone prefers to be referred to this way, as some trans women and some transfeminine people prefer to use terms that don’t include or overtly indicate the sex they were assigned at birth.


                        This umbrella term is used to describe people who experience more than one gender identity.

                        Other gender labels that fall under the multi-gender umbrella include:

                        • bigender
                        • trigender
                        • pangender
                        • polygender

                        In some cases, gender fluid may also fall under this umbrella.


                        This nonbinary identity and umbrella term is used to describe people who have a gender that isn’t exclusively man or woman.

                        Neutrois can be a broader term encompassing other gender identities, such as nonbinary, agender, genderfluid, or genderless.


                        Also referred to as “enby,” this is a gender identity and umbrella term for gender identities that can’t be exclusively categorized as man or woman.

                        Individuals who are nonbinary can experience gender a variety of ways, including a combination of man and woman, neither man nor woman, or something else altogether.

                        Some nonbinary individuals are trans, while many others don’t.

                        Whether a nonbinary person is also trans typically depends on the extent to which that person identifies, even partially, with the sex and gender assigned to them at birth.


                        People who use this gender identity experience having a gender that can’t be described using existing language due to its complex and unique nature.


                        A nonbinary gender identity that describes people who experience all or many gender identities on the gender spectrum simultaneously or over time. Similar to pangender.


                        A nonbinary gender identity that describes people who experience all or many gender identities on the gender spectrum simultaneously or over time. Similar to omnigender.


                        This gender identity term describes the experience of having multiple gender identities simultaneously or over time.

                        This term indicates the number of gender identities someone experiences but doesn’t necessarily indicate which genders are included in the given person’s polygender identity.

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                        The classification of a person as male, female, or intersex based on the existing system of organizing human bodies and biologies.

                        This system is based on chromosomes, hormones, internal and external reproductive organs, and secondary sex characteristics.

                        Sex assigned at birth

                        This refers to the act of assigning or designating a particular sex to a person based on their chromosomes, hormones, internal and external reproductive organs, and secondary sex characteristics.

                        This is often done by medical professionals during pregnancy or immediately after childbirth.

                        The sex a person is assigned at birth doesn’t determine or indicate anything about their authentic gender experience or identity.

                        Social dysphoria

                        A specific type of gender dysphoria that manifests as distress and discomfort that results from the way society or other people perceive, label, refer to, or interact with someone’s gender or body.

                        Soft butch

                        Both a gender identity and term used to describe the nonconforming gender expression of someone who has some masculine or butch traits, but doesn’t fully fit the stereotypes associated with masculine or butch cisgender lesbians.

                        Stone butch

                        Both a gender identity and term used to describe the nonconforming gender expression of someone who embodies traits associated with feminine butchness or stereotypes associated with traditional masculinity.

                        Third gender

                        Originating in non-Western and Indigenous cultures, third gender is a gender category that includes people who have a gender that can’t be exclusively categorized as man or woman, or is different from man or woman.


                        A gender identity label that conveys the experience of having a feminine gender identity that’s different from the gender or sex that was assigned at birth.

                        Transgender or trans

                        Both an umbrella term including many gender identities and a specific gender identity that describes those with a gender identity that’s different from the gender or sex assigned at birth.


                        A gender identity label that conveys the experience of having a masculine gender identity that’s different than the gender or sex that was assigned at birth.


                        The act of making physical, social, medical, surgical, interpersonal, or personal changes that help to affirm gender or address gender dysphoria.


                        Falling under the transgender umbrella, transsexual is a word that was medically and historically used to indicate a difference between one’s gender identity (i.e., the internal experience of gender) and sex assigned at birth (as male, female, or intersex).

                        Transsexual is often (though not always) used to communicate that one’s experience of gender involves a medical diagnosis or medical changes — such as hormones or surgery — that help alter anatomy and appearance to feel more congruent with gender identity.

                        Due to a fraught history, the word transsexual can be contentious and shouldn’t be used unless someone specifically asks to be referred to this way.


                        This gender identity describes the experience of having three gender identities, simultaneously or over time.

                        This term indicates the number of gender identities someone experiences but doesn’t necessarily indicate which genders are included in a given person’s trigender identity.


                        This umbrella term was created by Native American communities to bring traditional Indigenous understandings of gender and sexuality into Western and contemporary native education and literature.

                        Each First Nation tribe has its own understanding and meaning of what it means to be two-spirit, so this term can have many definitions.

                        Two-spirit generally refers to a gender role believed to be a common, acknowledged, accepted, and praised gender classification among most First Nation communities, dating back centuries.

                        It’s amazing that gender — something many people thought was a simple concept — is actually so personal, nuanced, and complex. For that reason, it’s totally OK if this list is a lot to digest!

                        Just remember: Gender is an essential part of health and well-being for everyone.

                        Becoming familiar with language that helps you to talk about this part of identity and society is a great way to care for yourself and be an ally to others.

                        Mere Abrams is a researcher, writer, educator, consultant, and licensed clinical social worker who reaches a worldwide audience through public speaking, publications, social media (@meretheir), and gender therapy and support services practice Mere uses their personal experience and diverse professional background to support individuals exploring gender and help institutions, organizations, and businesses to increase gender literacy and identify opportunities to demonstrate gender inclusion in products, services, programs, projects, and content.

                        Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer and editor based in Grahamstown, South Africa. Her writing covers issues relating to social justice, cannabis, and health. You can reach out to her on Twitter.

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                        WHO ATTRACTS ME

                        There are a lot of options for sexuality. Here are just a few of its main manifestations.

                        Attraction can be romantic or sexual, directed towards men, women, and their femininity and masculinity. There is also a lack of attraction. Are you turned on by masculine athletes, but don't want to go on dates with anyone at all? Yes, it happens, and it's normal.

                        WHAT I LOOK LIKE

                        Transgender This is someone who finds it psychologically difficult to fit into generally accepted ideas about their gender. Most transgender people, by the way, are against being attributed to homosexuals or heterosexuals, as this is disrespectful of their gender identity.

                        HOW I FEEL

                        Gender is essentially “social” gender: that is, how a person perceives and presents himself in society. Since societies are very different, there are also an infinite number of genders.

                        Genders have masculine and feminine qualities combined in varying proportions. Just don’t think that a real man has the “masculinity” slider set to 100% - this way we will get only a Neanderthal with a club. Culture, art, caring for others, various hobbies - all this refers, rather, to feminine properties.

                        Cisgenders People whose personal and social gender coincide. Most of them are.

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                        what is the difference, how many genders in total, what is more important


                        September 10, 2021

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                        Before the definition of gender became widely used, the difference between men and women was explained solely by physiology. Sometimes it reached the point of absurdity - for example, it was believed that women could not do science, because the blood drained from the uterus to the brain, and they became infertile. The invention of gender did not eradicate stereotypes, but provided a basis for research into gender identity, diversity, and difference. "Utopia" answers the main questions about gender.

                        How is gender different from sex?

                        For the first time the term "gender" was used by the American sexologist John Money in 1955 in his works devoted to the study of transgender and intersex people. With the help of this term, he proposed to separate the biological sex of a person and his social characteristics and roles.

                        The sex of a child is determined by health professionals at birth based on primary and secondary sex characteristics. In Russia, he is not indicated on the birth certificate, for the first time he appears in the passport - either male or female.

                        Gender - a person's sense of self and self-determination - can change throughout life in a spectrum from male to female and vice versa. It may not fit into the binary system at all: according to various estimates, there are now from 46 to 78 genders. Most people have the same biological sex as gender - they are called cisgender.

                        Does it ever happen that gender cannot be determined by gender?

                        It happens. People born with primary and/or secondary sexual characteristics of both men and women are called intersex people. According to UN statistics, from 0.05 to 1.7% of people in the world are born with intersex variations, which can be more than forty: variations in chromosomes, gonads, genitals, reproductive organs and hormonal levels. By comparison, about the same percentage of people are born with red hair.

                        Intersex variations may appear immediately at birth, during puberty, and may be detected during a random examination in adulthood. Intersex people may have underdeveloped sex organs, may not start menstruating or have no uterus, or they may simply have very high testosterone levels in the female body structure.

                        Intersex is not a "third sex" or a variation of gender identity. This phenomenon has nothing to do with sexual orientation. Most intersex people identify as either male or female.

                        Which is more important, sex or gender?

                        Neither. But unlike sex, in most countries the concept of gender and its diversity is still not recognized at the state level. This will create additional difficulties in states where, for example, there is a mandatory conscription into the army or a list of professions prohibited for women. However, in recent years, more and more countries allow citizens to choose a marker in documents according to gender, and not biological sex, without requiring surgical operations. Large corporations are also coming to the policy of inclusiveness. For example, back in 2014, Facebook gave users in the US the opportunity to choose from 58 genders in the gender column.

                        Why is gender defined and what depends on it?

                        Before the development of gender studies, the prevailing view was that human behavior depends only on biological factors. The reasons for the differences between boys and girls in careers, mental abilities, predisposition to a particular occupation were sought in the structure of the brain and body, and not in gender socialization and personal qualities of the individual.

                        This approach perpetuates gender stereotypes: a man is “by nature” a predator and breadwinner, his role is to earn and build a career; a woman is soft and calm, her main role is motherhood and maintaining a family hearth. These stereotypes create obstacles for women in their careers and self-realization, contribute to the gender pay gap and discrimination against women at the level of basic departments, such as courts. Stereotypes also harm men, for example, leading to more suicides and the development of a toxic-masculine environment.

                        Gender definition includes both gender socialization and self-determination, which helps researchers better identify gender issues and protect people's rights. Thus, the definition of gender instead of sex is given in the Istanbul Convention in the context of gender-based violence. This is also why the authorities in Russia and other conservative countries refuse to sign and ratify this document.

                        What if gender doesn't match gender?

                        Those who do not identify with gender at birth are transgender people. Often, though not always, they make a transgender transition. To do this, they resort to either hormone therapy or surgery. It is not known exactly how many transgender people are in the world right now - estimates vary from 0.0003% to 0.5% of the total number of people.

                        Can a person who has not had an operation be considered transgender?

                        Maybe because gender identity is a person's inner self-perception. Legally, in several countries in Europe, in Argentina and in the USA, you can change the gender in documents without making an operation.

                        In Russia, it is periodically proposed to ban changing gender in documents. The last time this happened was in July 2020, when Yelena Mizulina and a group of senators submitted a relevant bill to the State Duma, but it was rejected in the first reading. Now, in order to change documents, you need a certificate of medical transgender transition, which must be taken to the registry office. But to perform the operation itself, you need to see a psychiatrist for a year and a half and pass a medical commission of a psychologist, psychiatrist and sexologist.

                        Why do the operation?

                        A transgender person can often experience strong negative emotions due to the fact that their body does not conform to gender. This condition is called gender dysphoria: trans people describe the body as “not their own”, as a “shell”, they talk about the desire to “remove” it. Gender dysphoria can lead to serious psychological problems and even suicide attempts.

                        The process of transgender transition is very long, physically and psychologically difficult and costly, so not everyone decides on it. For the first time such an operation was performed in 1930 to the Dane Einar Wegener, who then took the name Lily Elbe. A year later, she tried to do another operation - to implant the uterus, but she no longer survived.

                        At the same time, not all people who have made a transgender transition come to harmony with themselves. Sometimes they decide to return to the body given by nature - to make a reverse transition or "detransition". According to research, the number of people who are disillusioned with the transition is approximately 2% to 8%. There is a known case when detransition was performed by both partners at once.

                        Does gender recognition mean that trans women will be allowed into women's spaces and vice versa?

                        Yes, but in most cases the issue of admitting trans people to gender-marked spaces is a matter of ethics, comfort and fairness, which invariably causes heated debate in society. Often they try to resolve them by legislative means or by introducing rules.

                        For example, in 2016, then US President Barack Obama approved a directive for transgender students to access toilets according to their gender. However, at the beginning of his term, President Donald Trump reversed this decision.

                        Under California law, for example, since 2012, neither public nor private organizations have the right to discriminate on the basis of gender. In 2021, an amendment was included in the law: including if gender does not match gender. Since the entry into force of this amendment, its consequences have caused heated debates in social networks and rallies with the participation of defenders of the rights of transgender people, right-wing extremists and feminists, as a result of which the police detained more than forty people.

                        All because in June a woman posted an outraged video on Instagram that she saw a naked man in the women's area of ​​the spa. The video went viral, some viewers suggested that it could be a transgender woman, to which the author of the video rudely replied that those do not exist: "He had a penis." The spa did not take any action.

                        A separate acute issue is the maintenance of trans people in prisons. In the same California in April of this year, hundreds of transgender prisoners who are serving sentences in male colonies demanded to be transferred to female ones. This has not yet been done.

                        During the Tokyo Olympics, two participants caused controversy at once: transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard from New Zealand and intersex runner Christine Mboma from Namibia. Spectators and rivals tried to challenge how fair their participation in the Olympics in the women's categories was, however, neither one nor the other was removed from the games, and Mboba even won a silver medal.

                        There is still not a single precedent in the world of a successfully working system that would not meet with stormy condemnation from one side or another.

                        Were there transgender people before or did they appear with the invention of gender?

                        Several indigenous tribes of Indians in North America had the concept of "berdashi", that is, "a person with two spirits." This word was used to refer to people whose biological sex did not correspond to the inner sensation. M.D. Mondimore Francis Mark, who researched this topic, wrote that the Berdashi adopted the style of dress, manners and role in society of the opposite sex. Berdashi men performed "women's" household duties - they cooked, cleaned, looked after children and the household, and Berdashi women hunted and made weapons.

                        In the Philippines, since the 16th century, there has been the concept of "baklu" (other names are "bayot", "agi" or "bayogin"). The term refers primarily to trans women. They were highly respected members of society and most often filled the role of shaman, which usually belonged to cisgender women.

                        Another piece of historical evidence is transgender women in Polynesian culture, the Fa'afafine. They lived mainly in Samoa: they were born boys, but all their lives they were brought up as girls and got married.

                        The difference between modern ideas about gender and these historical facts is that previously such people were considered representatives of the "third sex" and were not classified as either men or women.

                        LGBTQIAPP+. Why so many letters and what do they mean?

                        This is an abbreviation for sexuality and gender identity and gender variation.

                        Learn more