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LGBTQIA Resources: Gender

What is gender?

The lambda legal website has an alphabetical list of definitions of common terms associated with the LGBTQ community. Here are definitions from the list that pertain to gender/sex:

GENDER: A set of social, physical, psychological and emotional traits, often influenced by societal expectations, that classify an individual as feminine, masculine, androgynous or other.

GENDER EXPRESSION: The outward manifestation of internal gender identity, through clothing, hairstyle, mannerisms and other characteristics.

GENDER-FLUID: Term used by people who identify their gender as fluid within a spectrum of gender identities and expression. Gender-fluid people may or may not also identify as transgender.

GENDER IDENTITY: An individual’s inner sense of being male, female or another gender. Gender identity is not necessarily the same as sex assigned or presumed at birth. Everyone has a gender identity.

GENDER-NONCONFORMING: Behaving in a way that does not match social stereotypes about female or male gender, usually through dress or physical appearance.

GENDER ROLE: The social expectation of how an individual should look or behave, often based upon the sex assigned at birth.

GENDER TRANSITION: This term describes both a shift over time from occupying the social role of one gender to that of another and to the medical procedures that sometimes accompany that shift. Transition may or may not include medical or legal aspects such as taking hormones, having surgeries, or changing identity documents to reflect one’s gender identity.

INTERSEX: A health condition, often present at birth, involving anatomy or physiology that differs from societal expectations of male and female. Intersex conditions can affect the genitals, the chromosomes and/or other body structures. Intersex conditions are sometimes referred to as “disorders of sexual development.” People with intersex conditions should not be assumed to be transgender.

TRANSGENDER: Refers to people whose gender identity, one’s inner sense of being male, female, or something else, differs from their assigned or presumed sex at birth.

TRANSGENDER MAN: Describes the trajectory of a person who is changing or has changed their body and lived gender role from a birth-assigned female to an affirmed male. Also, trans male, trans man, FTM or transman.

TRANSGENDER WOMAN: Describes the trajectory of a person who is changing or has changed their body and lived gender role from a birth-assigned male to an affirmed female. Also, trans woman, MTF or trans female.

Understanding the complexities of gender