Definitions (of gender-related terminology)


(adj.) A cisgender person experiences their gender in alignment with what society expects based on the sex assigned to them at birth. This is the most common gender identity, abbreviated “cis.” In Western society, there are only two (binary) options: man or woman. Cisgender people, like those of any other gender identity, can have any sexuality.

“I identify as cisgender. I am a tall, white, gay, cis man.”


(adj.) An umbrella term used to describe people whose experience and expression of their gender does not align with what society expects based on the sex assigned to them at birth. Often abbreviated “trans,” this adjective can apply to men and women who fit into a static, binary understanding of gender, or to a person of any nonbinary and/or fluid gender(s), including no gender.

“As a nonbinary transgender person, my experience of self is not wholly female nor is it wholly male, but other trans people may have different experiences.”

gender non-conforming

(adj.) Can be either an umbrella term or a specific gender identity describing people who reject traditional male and female designations.


(adj.) A specific gender identity that is different from traditional binary male and female designations. ‘Queer’ is a reclaimed slur that has political implications around challenging cis-hetero-patriarchy.


(adj.) A specific gender identity where one’s gender fluctuates.


(adj.) An agender person doesn’t identify with any gender, sometimes feeling neutral with respect to gender or rejecting gender as a relevant label.


(adj.) Intersex people are born with sex characteristics that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies. Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural bodily variations. Intersex people may or may not identify as transgender, and are about as common as redheads.

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