I would start this article by saying, "It's 2022 now, we should be more tolerant of the next person's gender," and while that may be true, I feel like tolerance and respect is something we should have regardless of the time, and something we should continuously word towards mastering.
Nonetheless, if you're someone who isn't too clued-up about gender terms, this article is a pretty good place to start.
Firstly, let's differentiate between sex and gender. Sadly, there are still so many people who don't know the difference between these two terms.
Sex refers to one's biological sex they are born with relating to their chromosomes, hormones, genitalia and reproductive system, etc. This generally falls into "male", "female" or "intersex".
Gender refers to the identity you choose regardless of your sex, which relates to your societal and cultural portrayal of sexuality and gender. It is a broad spectrum that differs from one person to the next.
Gender concerns the more broad and abstract ideas about "masculinity" and "femininity." Gender roles are socially constructed but is essentially something you assign to yourself, something you choose (or don't choose).
Here are some gender-related terms you should familiarise yourself with:
Someone who is agender does not identify with any gender, essentially feeling genderless.
A cishet (cisgender-heterosexual) person who supports the rights and actively fights and defends the LGBTQIA+ community.
An androgynous person is someone who feels and expresses both masculinity and femininity simultaneously, fluctuating from more masculine to more feminine or equal.
They exist in the middle of the gender spectrum.
Asexuality refers to someone who does not experience sexual attraction to anyone.
This term refers to the gender society assumes for you based on your biological sex, gender expression or gender presentation.
Bigender refers to someone who identifies with two distinct genders; two genders in one body. For example: man/woman; woman/androgyne; man/gender-fluid, etc.
Someone who is bisexual is sexually, romantically, and/or emotionally attracted to people of two distinct genders.
Being cisgender means your gender identity matches your sex at birth.
Someone who is both cisgender (cis) and heterosexual (het).
Female to male (FTM)
This term refers to transgender males who were assigned female sex at birth but have transitioned to male.
Someone who is gender conforming expresses themselves in a way that aligns with societal/cultural norms of that gender.
For example, men who are typically "strong and masculine" conform to the norms of that gender.
Being gender fluid means that you can exist anywhere on the gender identity spectrum as opposed to being confined to a single gender. They can either be feminine, masculine, both or none but it fluctuates.
Someone who is gender nonconforming essentially does not conform to the norms of their gender identity.
For example, women who choose to not be feminine presenting are not conforming to gender norms or expectations.
Someone who is intersex does not have a distinct sex and has chromosome patterns of both male and female which is called DSD (Disorder of Sexual Development).
The term "hermaphrodite" is often used but is outdated and an offensive term so avoid using it in future.
An acronym that stands for: Lesbian; Gay; Bisexual; Transgender; Queer; Intersex; Asexual; Pansexual; + (meaning "not limited to").
Male to female (MTF)
This term refers to transgender females who were assigned male at birth but have transitioned to female.
Someone who is non-binary feels that their gender identity does not fall within the binary of man or woman, but rather somewhere in-between or something completely different.
No, not someone who is sexually attracted to pans.
Someone who is pansexual is physically, emotionally, and/or romantically attracted to all kinds of people, regardless of their sex or gender identity.
Someone who is polyamorous has sexual, romantic, and/or emotional relationships with multiple people simultaneously, with consent.
Pronouns are what people prefer to be called based on their gender identity. For example, a woman would typically prefer to be called "she/her", a man "he/him" and a gender-fluid/non-binary person, "they/them".
Be careful not to misgender people and ask them what their preferred pronouns are if you are unsure.
If you think misgendering isn't that big of a deal, consider how you as a man would feel if someone constantly referred to you as "she" or a woman, "he." Not so great, right?
Queer is an umbrella term for anyone who is not heterosexual and cisgender.
It is a broad term that people may prefer to identify as because it doesn't feel like a label and has a sense of vagueness to it.
Sexual orientation/ sexuality
Your sexual orientation refers to your attraction to others and who you are attracted to.
Sexual orientation and gender identity are different concepts.
Someone whose gender does not match their assigned sex at birth.
Share your stories and questions with us via email at email@example.com. Anonymous contributions are welcome.
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