Gender beyond he and she

There are a lot of ways to express masculinity and femininity. Just walk through any shopping mall in America today, and you’ll see dozens of ways that boys and girls, men and women express themselves through fashion and in other manners. But for some people, the categories of man and woman, no matter how elastic, just don’t seem to fit. That’s where nonbinary gender identities come in.

Western societies have traditionally understood gender in binary terms, meaning just two distinct options—masculine or feminine, man or woman. But many cultures and communities have long recognized three, four, or even more genders. Recently, people who don’t see themselves as a man or a woman have become more assertive about their identities, here in the US and around the world. And researchers have begun to do more to explore the broad spectrum of gender identities beyond he and she.

Featured Content

Watch this video for a quick way to learn about nonbinary gender identities and related terminology.

YouTube video


Adam, M. (2017, March 26). What is a non-binary gender identity? [Video]. YouTube.

Gender Identity Gender identity icon Our core sense of who we are as a man, a woman, a mixture of both, or neither.

Gender Expression Gender expression icon How we show up in the world through choices like clothing, hair style, mannerisms or tone of voice.

Attraction attraction icon How we feel toward others sexually, romantically and/or emotionally.

Biological Sex Biological sex icon Physical attributes such as reproductive organs and genitalia, chromosomes, genes and hormone levels.

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