There"s a chance you landed here since you may not entirely be clear on all the terms and phrases to express gender identity. “It"s understandable that some folks may feel confused or also uncomfortable v all the variations of gender, gender identities, and also gender roles,” says Tracy Marsh, PhD, faculty member for Walden University"s phd in Clinical Psychology program, and also a licensed psychologist in California who specializes in LGBTQIA issues. Or, you can be exploring your own gender identity and also looking because that the ideal words come express you yourself and help others understand.

Thankfully, it’s 2021, and also many that the state surrounding sex are becoming an ext widely recognized in our society. “These concepts and also terms will continue to evolve. The best method to stay informed is to with out and have a respectful dialogue through someone who has much more knowledge of this terms and topics. Questioning others exactly how they identify and also how they like to it is in addressed,” marsh says.

Women"s health spoke to specialists on those inquiries you may want to ask, but don"t know precisely where come start: What precisely does gender identity mean? What is biological sex vs. Gender? and how do sex identity and sexuality relate? First, Jackie Golob, MS, who works at a private exercise at the center for sex-related Wellness in Minnesota, provides review on some frequently confused principles surrounding sex identity.

Genitalia does not equal gender. “The sex characteristics a human is born with carry out not denote a person"s gender identity. When civilization have ‘gender reveal parties,’ the really need to be dubbed a ‘genital disclose party,’” she offers. The principle of gender really is a social construct, adds Golob. Forget around the two-gender binary. “Gender is a term that relates to exactly how we feel about ourselves, the way we choose to express our gender through makeup, dresses, high heels, strong shorts, sneakers, and also more,” she explains. Our culture has convinced us that there are simply two alternatives for gender identity, "male" and "female," based upon biological sex. However in reality, there"s an ext fluidity. Gender identity is ~ above a continuum. It’s not simply the male/female sex binary—there"s a spectrum of gender identity. “ lied in between , through personality traits that relate to gender identity, expression, and biological sex. Gender identity can readjust over time, and it is no fixed,” says Golob. Just due to the fact that you identify one method at one allude in time, does not mean you will always choose the identity, or the your identification won"t shift and evolve. Sexuality and gender identification are no the exact same thing.

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“Gender identity is just how you feel about yourself and the means you express her gender and also biological sex,” claims Golob. Meanwhile, sexuality describes who you room emotionally, physically, romantically, or sexually attractive to, she says. In summary, “gender is how you feel about yourself, if sexuality is exactly how you feel around others,” says Golob.

Now that you have actually the basics, let’s do a deep dive into sex identity terms and also what they every mean.

1. Anatomical sex

In conversations around gender, you might hear this expression used. “Gender identity is around one"s psychological sense that self. Anatomical sex is comprised of things choose genitals, chromosomes, hormones, body hair, and also more,” states Sophie Mona Pagès, connection expert and also founder of LVRSNFRNDS, a society network that fosters connections and conversations about relationships. “You might be familiar with the state ‘AFAB’ (Assigned Female in ~ Birth) and also ‘AMAB ’(Assigned male At Birth). This is what they are about.” AFAB and AMAB civilization may not choose to recognize with those terms during childhood, or as soon as they become teenagers or adults.


2. Cisgender

This term explains a human being whose sex identity aligns through or matches your assigned sex at birth. “If a medical professional assigns gender based upon genitalia, once the baby is born and also says, ‘It"s a girl,’ and that person aligns v their gender, that"s what it way to be cisgender,” states Golob, noting the this term sometimes gets shortened come “Cis.”

3. Transgender

“Transgender human being are folks whose sex identity walk not complement their sex assigned at birth. They have the right to be trans men, trans women, and additionally non-binary people, an interpretation they carry out not identify as males or women,” claims Pagès. She add to one fast note: “Do not say ‘a trans’ or ‘a transgender.’ say instead, ‘a infectious diseases world fashion person,’ ‘a transgender person,’ ‘a trans man,’ or ‘a trans woman.’”

4. Cishet

“Cishet ad to world whose sex identity and also biological sex space aligned (cisgender), and also who are sexually attracted to opposing sex,” states Marsh. Because that instance, an individual born v a vagina that identifies as female and is romantically involved with males would be explained as Cishet.

5. Non-binary

“Non-binary describes a person who does not identify plainly or specifically as male or a female, says Alexandra Bausic, M.D., a board-certified OBGYN, and sex educator at Let’s talk Sex. “They deserve to either feel both gender characteristics or feel different from them.” You may hear non-binary provided as one umbrella term for various teams of people that don’t identify as masculine or female.


6. Intersex

A person born with either some combination of both biological sex features (genital organs, hormones, chromosomes) or particular genital variations that don"t align v either organic sex is intersex, explains Bausic. “It is a herbal variation in person anatomy, and also it shouldn’t be regarded as miscellaneous bad,” she says. Also, it"s essential to understand that gift intersex is not that uncommon: plan Parenthood estimates that one come two people out of every 100 in the U.S. Room intersex.

Bausic adds the some instances of modification anatomic features of intersex people include a clitoris that’s bigger than the average, a prick that is smaller than the average, or a close up door vagina.

7. Genderqueer

“Genderqueer human being can identify as neither mrs nor man, both woman and man, or a mix of this genders,” says Pagès. Periodically the native “genderqueer” and also “non-binary” are provided interchangeably.

“Genderqueer is regularly an identification that is also a political statement, and also sometimes regarded as a 3rd gender,” add to Marsh.

8. Gender-fluid

Just favor you can be fluid in your sexual orientation of that you’re attractive to, girlfriend can also be flexible with your gender. “Gender-fluid frequently refers to someone that prefers come express one of two people or both maleness or femaleness, and that have the right to vary, possibly from day come day,” says Marsh.


“Some people"s gender identity varies over time,” adds Pagès, who also recommends looking in ~ the Genderbread Person, a helpful resource on expertise gender, and guidelines ~ above explaining gender to others. FYI: The liquid (i.e., transformative) aspect of gift gender-fluid can happen at any suggest in life. You can be super young or a supercentenarian—it doesn’t only occur during a certain time in your lifespan.

9. Gender Non-conforming

“Gender non-conformity advert to once someone does not conform come their cultural gender norms,” claims Marsh. It can be something together minute together an Assigned masculine At bear (AMAB) person wearing pond polish, marsh explains. That might be considered gender non-conforming, because nail polish is frequently attributed come female-presenting world in our society. Or, ~ above a larger scale, the person can not choose to identify with "he/him" or "she/her" pronouns.

Since every the specifically, of this phrases may start to feel similar, Marsh gives some an ext useful intel: “The terms gender non-conforming, genderqueer, gender-fluid, and also non-binary frequently fall under the umbrella of transgender, or those people who carry out not identify as cisgender,” says Marsh. Yet they don"t all average the exact same thing, so it"s still important to check in with human being to watch what brand they prefer.


10. Gender-Expansive

You may have heard of “gender non-conforming,” but the expression “gender-expansive” is comes to be the preferred selection in the LGTBQIA+ community. “Gender non-conforming to be a term previously used, the still mirrors up in research and also articles today, insinuating other is "wrong" with a human if they room participating in miscellaneous in culture that is "non-conforming" the the norm,” states Golob. Essentially, this term is cis-normative, she clues out. “Gender-expansive is the term to use instead that allows folks creativity and freedom to not fit right into a societal norm,” Golob says.

11. Agender

“Agender method that one go not identify with any kind of gender,” claims Marsh. “They execute not feeling a feeling of masculine or female,” add to Marsh, noting that like other non-cisgender groups, they might ask to be addressed using the pronouns "they" or "them" rather than "he" or "she."

Golob elaborates that “Agender can additionally mean gift gender-free, gender-blank, or genderless,” v no link to any gender in particular.

12. Gendervoid

“Gendervoid is a term that is similar to agender, but specifically refers to not only a absence of sex identity, but also a feeling of ns or a void in no feeling that sex identity,” describes Marsh. For gendervoid people, castle feel prefer they don’t suffer or aren’t maybe to feeling their gender.

It might be beneficial to remember, in short, that “biological sex is physical, while sex is feeling,” as Golob place it. There"s no pop quiz on this terms, we promise, but becoming familiar with all sex identities is part of being a thoughtful human, no issue where you autumn on the gender spectrum.

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Perri O. BlumbergPerri is a brand-new York City-born-and-based writer; she hold a bachelor"s in psychology indigenous Columbia University and is likewise a culinary college graduate that the plant-based natural Gourmet Institute, which is currently the natural Gourmet center at institute Of cooking Education.
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