The ABCs of Gender

The ABCs of Gender

Welcome to your Gender 101 course



Once upon a time, the world believed there was only male and female, penis and vagina, beards and boobs. The world believed on girl and a boy should be together. But just like Pythagoras and Aristotle determined that the Earth is actually round, it turns out there aren’t just two sides to gender.


But—let’s be honest—it gets confusing. There be times when you don’t know how to properly address someone. When someone corrects you. Lastly, it is overwhelming and you just want to stay quiet. So where do you begin?


As the great Fräulein Maria once said, “You begin with ABCs.”


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A: Agender

A person that does not identify with any gender and doesn’t follow any expectations of one.


A: Asexual

Not sexually attracted to either men or women.


B: Bisexual

A person who is attracted to men and women.


C: Cisgender

Used for someone who identifies as the sex they were assigned at birth. The opposite of transsexual.


C: Cross-Dresser

Someone who wears the clothes of or dresses like the gender they were not assigned at birth. This has nothing to do with gender identity, so yes, straight people can crossdress.


G: Gender

Covers the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities and attributes considered appropriate to men and women.


G: Gender Identity

What a person internalizes as their gender, regardless of their external appearance.


G: Gender Expression

One’s external manifestation of gender. Can be seen in name used, pronouns preferred, clothing, hair style, voice and behavior.


G: Gender Fluid

Someone that does not confine themselves to one gender. They are feminine, masculine, neither, both—whatever the fuck they want.


G: Gay

While commonly used for men who love men, gay is acceptably used for anyone who is physically and emotionally attracted to members of their own sex/gender.


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I: Intersex

Typically describes those who have the reproductive or sexual anatomy or chromosome pattern that do not strictly fall under male or female.


For the love of god, stop saying hermaphrodite.



Actually stands for LGBTTQQIAAP (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual), but that’s too long. Let’s simplify our lives with the “+”


L: Lesbian

Women who are attracted—physically and emotionally—to other women.


M: Mx.

A replacement to Mr., Mrs. and Ms.; for someone that does not identify as a man or woman.


N: Non-binary

Describes people who neither identify as strictly a man or strictly a woman, but rather somewhere in between or completely outside of these definitions.


O: Omnisexual

Also known as pansexual, omnisexual means having an attraction to people, regardless of their sex or what gender they may identify with.


P: Pronouns

The proper pronoun to use generally refers on the person you are speaking to/about. However, it has become increasingly common to use “their” and “they” when referring to non-binary individuals.


Q: Queer

An umbrella term used for anyone who doesn’t identify as straight.


Q: Questioning

Individuals who are unsure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.


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S: Sex

The classification of a person. When we’re born, we are assigned a sex based simply on our genitalia.


T: Transition

The process of altering one’s birth sex. Could be through hormonal supplements, surgery or even legally reassigning their sex on paper.


T: Transgender

An umbrella term used for those who identify as a gender different from what they were assigned with at birth. Some will take hormones to align their bodies with the gender they identify with and some will even undergo surgery. However, neither of these is a requirement and medical procedures of any kind are not mandatory.


T: Transsexual

Refers to people who have permanently changed or seek to change their bodies to suit their gender identity.


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There is, to be honest, a lot more to learn. But knowing these terms will get you to a great place to begin. Learn them! Be appropriate, be respectable, be decent—be human.


Art Alexandra Lara


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