Gender is more than just boy or girl. Learn about gender identity and expression, and how gender is evolving around the world.
DeeWho is Dee?
Hi! I’m here to help you learn more about gender. This topic involves the core elements of gender identity (our sense of self) and gender expression (how we show up in the world). For some of us, it’s as easy as male or female, man or woman. But for many others, it’s far more complex. Our gender can involve a mix of masculine and feminine, or be something altogether different — what people refer to as non-binary. Let’s explore…
Learn about the broad spectrum of gender identities and expressions.
Gender identity is distinct from biological sex even though for most people the two correspond.
The spectrum goes mainstream
Gender used to be thought of as an either/or proposition: man or woman. But a growing number of people do not identify with those two choices, and America has noticed.
Pronouns: A Surprising History
Learn about the history of gender-neutral pronouns and how change is a constant when it comes to language.
There’s a lot of diversity in gender identities. But life isn’t easy for people who identify “beyond he or she.”
The space between
Not everyone identifies as a man or woman. Watch this CBS News video to hear from people who identify "beyond he or she."
An Olympic First
Timothy LeDuc is the first openly nonbinary athlete to have competed at the Winter Olympics.
"I remember these awkward silences"
Listen as Kiyan Williams, who identifies as gender non-conforming, talks about what it was like coming of age feeling different from everyone else.
"You taught me how to love"
Listen as Sissy and Vickie talk about their life together and the challenges Sissy faced as a cross-dressing man.
A gender journey
Ari Agha's journey to identifying as gender nonbinary was decades long with many twists and turns along the way.
We'wha, a Two-Spirit person of the Zuni tribe, was one of the most famous Native Americans of the 19th Century.
Read how Elijah/Esther feels and identifies as a woman some days, a man other days, and some days as neither.
Around the world
Worldwide, the variety of gender identity and expression is nearly boundless. Many cultures have long recognized not just two genders, but 3, 4, 5, or even more.
Check out some of the gender-diverse cultures that have existed throughout the world.
Two Spirit People
Learn about the Two Spirit People who have been part of Native American communities for countless generations.
Across time and place
There's nothing new about gender identities beyond male and female--they've been around since ancient times.
Gender diversity in ancient Rome
Ancient priests known as Galli are a case study of gender diversity in history.
The evolution of drag
Did you know that the term "drag" has its origin in Shakespeare's plays and that the history of drag stretches back even further? Learn about the evolution of drag as art and self-expression.
(Noun) A term used to describe a person's gender, based on their innate understanding of themselves -- as opposed to the gender they were assigned at birth. A person can affirm their gender socially (e.g. changing one's pronouns), legally (e.g. legal name change), and/or medically (e.g. gender-affirming surgery). Increasingly used in place of older terms, such as preferred gender or chosen gender. Learn More
(Verb) To wear clothes typically associated with persons of a different gender for fun, self-expression, relaxation, etc. Cross-dressing is a form of gender expression and is not indicative of being transgender; persons who cross-dress are usually comfortable with their gender identity and do not wish to change it. Cross-dressing is distinct from drag in that it is not performative. Cross-dressing is not necessarily tied to erotic activity and is not a reflection of sexual orientation. Learn More
Drag / Drag King / Drag Queen
(Noun) The theatrical performance of one or multiple genders via dressing in the clothing of a different gender, or in a manner different from how one would usually dress. Drag queens perform in distinctly feminine attire. Drag kings perform in distinctly masculine attire. Drag is a form of gender expression and is not an indication of gender identity. Individuals who dress in drag may or may not consider themselves to be transgender. They may identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight or some other sexual orientation. Learn More
(Noun) A slang term used for nonbinary. Enby is the phonetic pronunciation of “NB,” an abbreviation for nonbinary. Learn More
Gender Affirming Surgery
(Noun) Surgical procedures that allow persons to match their physical bodies to their gender identity. These procedures can include “top surgery” (e.g. reshaping a chest or providing breast augmentation) and/or “bottom surgery” (e.g. reshaping genitals). Also referred to as gender-confirming surgery, gender reassignment surgery or medical transition. Learn More
(Noun) The ways that a person communicates a gender identity to others such as dress, behavior, hairstyle, voice, and/or mannerisms. Learn More
(Adj.) Describes a person who does not behave in a way that conforms to traditional expectations for their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category. Also known as gender variant. Learn More
(Noun) The concept that gender exists along a continuum beyond man/masculine and woman/feminine. Some people may be more aligned with masculine or feminine aspects, some move fluidly along the spectrum, and some exist outside the spectrum entirely. Learn More
(Adj.) Describes a person who does not behave in a way that conforms to traditional expectations for their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category. Also known as gender non-conforming. Learn More
(Noun) Refers to a situation in which a person uses multiple pronouns, such as she/they or they/he/she. Generally, mixed pronouns can be used interchangeably. However, the desired balance among different pronouns can be different for each person. Learn More
(Adj.) Describes a person who experiences romantic attraction towards multiple but not all genders. Learn More
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Citations & Sources
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