Gender

Sex Assigned at Birth
Gender Identity | Gender Expression
Pronouns

Gender is the way that society expects someone to look and act based on their reproductive anatomy. This may not always match with a person’s ideas or feelings of what it means to be a boy/man, girl/woman, neither, or a combination or both.  You cannot know someone’s gender by just looking at them.

 

Sex Assigned at Birth

“Sex assigned at birth” is the label a health professional gives to a newborn. They observe the baby’s reproductive anatomy and based on what they see, the health professional may say a baby is male, female, or intersex.

Gender Identity

This is a person’s inner feelings about being a man, woman, nonbinary person, or otherwise. Here are some of the commonly known genders:

  • Cisgender: people whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth
  • Transgender: people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth
  • Nonbinary: an umbrella term for people who experience their gender identity and/or expression outside of the “man” and “woman” categories, identifying as both a man and a woman, somewhere in between, or as falling completely outside these categories; includes folks who are genderfluid, genderqueer, bigender, agender, multigender/polygender, and others
  • Two-Spirit: Native American people who were male, female, and sometimes intersexed individuals who combined activities of both men and women with traits unique to their status as two-spirit people; considered neither men nor women, they occupied a distinct, alternative gender status (Source: Indian Health Service)

Someone who is questioning may be unsure of their gender identity (or sexual orientation) and may be trying to figure it out.

Ver video en español

Gender Expression

The way a person outwardly shows their gender identity. This may be through clothing, haircut, speech, behavior, or other physical characteristics. A person’s gender expression may or may not match society’s expectation of gender.

  • Masculine: qualities typically associated with men
  • Feminine: qualities typically associated with women
  • Androgynous: a gender neutral expression, or containing both feminine and masculine aspects
  • Gender non-binary: a gender expression that is something other than the traditional masculine/feminine expressions

Remember, it is okay for your feelings to shift over time.

Pronouns

Pronouns are how we refer to a person when not using their name. We use them often without thinking about it, but sometimes we assume someone’s pronouns based on their appearance or name. This can be harmful. The best thing to do is to ask someone what their gender pronouns are. Here are some commonly used pronouns:

  • she/her/hers
  • he/him/his
  • they/them/theirs

There are also neopronouns, including xe/sem/xyr, ze/hir/hirs, and ey/em,eir that are often used by people who identify outside of the gender binary. (pronunciation can be tricky. Here is a website where you can practice.)

Some people may use multiple pronouns if they feel like one set does not truly define them. Some examples include she/they, he/they, they/ex.

Always ask for someone’s pronouns (or how to pronounce them if you aren’t sure!) — it is the best way to show that you respect them. It is okay if you accidentally misgender someone – everyone slips up sometimes! The best thing to do is apologize, correct yourself, and move on. Just like sexuality and gender, pronouns are unique to each person and can change over time.

Quick Exit
Link copied