Gender Identities: Decoding The Gender Spectrum

Gender Identities: Decoding The Gender Spectrum

Mallika Jhaveri

Over the past few years, the term “gender” as evolved into the truest form of self-expression. A person’s gender identity does not depend on their biological sex. In short, someone who is born a woman does not have to identify as a female. While biological sex is something we are born with, gender is something we can choose. It depends on who we want to be and how we want to express ourselves. It can change over time as well!

Just like sexuality, there is a whole spectrum of genders, and to be a better ally, we should be aware of them. There is an entire spectrum and it goes way (WAY) beyond just being male or female.

This article is based on the information given on Healthline, Teen Talk and Medical News Today

Here Are The 7 Gender Identities You Should Know About:

1. Cisgender

Cisgender refers to those whose gender matches their biological sex. If a person with male reproductive organs identifies as a man, he is called a cisgender male. Similarly, if a person with female reproductive organs identifies as a female, she is called a cisgender female.

2. Transgender

When someone does not identify with their sex assigned at birth, they are referred to as transgender. They may embody the traits, characteristics and behaviour of the other gender, or medically and surgically transition into the other gender. When referring to someone who is transgender, never refer to their previous identity, that is called dead-naming and it is offensive. Always ask for their preferred pronoun and call them by their current name.

3. Non-Binary

This is an umbrella term for anyone who is not exclusively male or female i.e. falls outside the gender binary. People who identify as non-binary may express themselves as a mixture of both male and female traits, having neither male nor female traits or something else entirely. It is an umbrella term that can mean different things to different people. This does not mean they “aren’t sure” of who they are, so please do not ever say that to them.

4. Genderqueer

This falls under the umbrella of being non-binary. When someone identifies as genderqueer, they express gender in many ways. They are not exclusively masculine or feminine, they can be a unique combination of the two, flow from one to the other or reject them completely. Those who identify as genderqueer often rebel against societal gender norms and accepted male and female characteristics. They’re breaking the gender glass ceiling by not conforming to the rigid gender roles.

5. Gender Fluid

Gender fluid personalities “flow” between genders over time. They identify with different genders over time or in certain different circumstances. Gender fluid people fluctuate between genders or can even express multiple genders at once. They literally just go with the flow and it is incredible.

6. Intersex

People who are intersex are those born with genitals, chromosomes, hormones and reproductive organs that are ambiguous. This means they are neither exclusively male or female. For instance, they may have external female genitals but internally they could have male genitals and hormones. Being intersex merely conveys information about a person’s biological sex and not about their gender. People who are intersex can choose their own gender identity, be it male, female, trans, non-binary or otherwise.

7. Agender

Someone who identifies as agender does not feel an affiliation to any gender. They cannot identify with or experience any gender.

PS – Gender Pronouns

While this isn’t a type of gender, it does apply to it. Always ask someone, (even if they look primarily male or female) what their preferred pronoun is. Some common ones are they/them, he/his, she/her and ze/hir. Never refer to someone as “he-she” or “it” as it is extremely derogatory and disrespectful.

We not only have to be aware of the spectrum of genders but also understand and accept them. Let’s enter 2021 as aware, empowered and respectful LGBTQIA+ allies!

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