Gender Definitions

Gender is not simply being masculine or feminine, there is a range, a rainbow of stages of polarity between the gendered poles of identity

Those who did not fit perfectly into a bipolar idea of gender were seen as perverse or deluded or mentally ill, we know better now, they are diverse, not perverse.

Human identity is complex, each is unique within a range of “types.”

People are not types but are individuals.

We should not confuse sex with gender

Sex is also not simply being biologically male or female, although the great majority of people do adhere to the physicality of being either male or female, even though there are stages of intersex, hermaphrodites, testicular feminisation, asexuality in the natural world as part of diversity.

Thus there is a range of maleness or femaleness.

Sex is about reproduction, and sexuality is connected with choice of sexual partner, and sexual identity (being “straight” or gay or lesbian, bisexual or asexual).

In the past society in the western world was stratified into simply two types of people, one male, usually in charge = patriarchy, the other as female  = women as mothers and home-makers.

Any sign of lack of maleness in a man was frowned on (= sissies)

but tomboys were sometimes admired, but women had to know their place.

A new human baby is born and if it has a penis they say,  “It’s a boy”,

If no penis then they say, “It’s a girl”, seen as not so good in a phallocracy.

The future life of that child is defined by those words, without concerns of their actual chromosomes, their hormones or the really complex identity, needs, or behaviour as a person entirely true to their nature

Gender refers to a personal sense of identity as masculine or feminine, and how one is seen by society. Most people have no issue with their gender. It correlates with their sex. They accept the role they have been brought up in, without question. Gender, however, is not bipolar, it is not a black and white choice between ‘male’ or ‘female’ stereotyped behaviour or self-perception.    There are effeminate men and masculine women, who are content with their gender.              Society has expectations of gendered behaviour and the gender roles it expects people to be or adopt are continually evolving.

Gender Identity refers to a person’s sense of being masculine or feminine.

Intersex: Intersexed people are individuals born with chromosomes, anatomy or physiology, which differ from contemporary ideals of what constitutes “normal” male and female. They are not as rare as one might think. Their cause may be developmental, hormonal, chromosomal, or genetic in origin.

The situation may, or may not, be accompanied by various degrees of Gender Dysphoria

Transgender or Transsexual (TS) or Trans: A Transgendered person is someone who, usually before puberty, has long held a strong sense of discomfort with his or her body and gender role. This feeling is so strong that their mind is not in tune with their body, i.e. they feel that they have a male brain-sex, or mind and a female body, or vice versa. The recognised medical term for this difficulty is gender dysphoria.

Gender Dysphoria. refers to a profound distress because one’s gender identity (brain sex) is in conflict with one’s physical sex. This term is used by the medical profession to describe the condition of those who seek medical, hormonal and surgical assistance to resolve their difficulty.

Transsexualism is usually characterised by a person’s long held and continuing conviction that their physical anatomy is incompatible with their true gender identity. Thus a female to male transsexual person (TS), if born “a girl” will feel he “has a man’s mind trapped in a female body” and vice versa for the male to female person. A male to female TS person is referred to as mtf, whilst female to male as ftm. There seem to be fewer ftm people than mtf in the UK

Transvestite or  Cross Dresser, is someone who likes to wear the clothing and may try to take on the appearance of the opposite sex, normally on an intermittent basis. While so dressed they are considered to be distinct from people, who are transsexed, as they do not want to live permanently in this role.

Transgender (TG): or Trans Is either a general term including transsexed, transgendered and transvestite people, or in the UK it can describe someone who lives in the opposite gender role to their birth sex, without full surgical intervention.

Gender is a continuum; possibilities are broad, as are those of sex.                              People can exist anywhere along the continuum.

This has led to a new vocabulary concerning gender.

There is a gender spectrum

Cisgender is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. For example, someone who identifies as a woman and was assigned female at birth is a cisgender woman. The term cisgender is the opposite of the word transgender. Related terms include cissexism and cisnormativity.

Gender-queer identity people identify as either having a range of two or more genders being bigender, trigender, pangender, having no gender being non-gendered, gender free, genderless,  or neuter or being gender fluid, or a third gender.

An agendered or gender fluid person prefers us to use pronouns that have no gender,  so in place of him or her, he or she, they or them is used – because in most European languages the pleural is the non gendered form.

In the past such people were termed androgynes or androgynous in terms of their gender.

(Some people are born with sexual ambiguity – they were termed androgynous, or intersexed  and  known as hermaphrodites (this refers to sex not gender). Their gender identity might be any of the range mentioned here)

There is a range of sexualities, sexual preferences and behaviours among the gender fluid people, just as in the gender binary people, the cis men or cis women.

Most gay men and lesbians and bisexuals are happy with their gender, it is their sexuality that is significant to them. Not all gay men are effeminate, nor are all lesbians bull dykes (masculine)

There has been a recent liberation for those who never fit into society as an utterly bipolar sexist world, but this is confusing for some otherwise modern people, who adhere to the old bipolar Judeo-Christian – the Biblical, or Torah, or Koran view of humanity.  Yet all the great religions preach of love and tolerance.