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The Different Types of Gender & Why You Really Need to Know Them

The world is more accepting than before. There’s still a way to go, but knowing the different types of gender means you can finally identify who you are. 

types of gender

Once upon a time, everything in the world was organized neatly into categories. This included important subjects such as sexuality and gender. At that time, the only types of gender were either male or female, and there was no in-between, no changing, no differences.

Thankfully, the world has progressed to the point where any single person can choose to be whoever and whatever they want to be, in a way that makes them feel comfortable with their own identity and their own sexuality.

A few decades ago, we would never have been having a conversation about the different types of gender. We should take it as a sign of how far we have come as a society that we now have the power to be able to say “this is me.”

The problem is, with progressive change also comes confusion for some. Educating yourself on the different types of gender will allow you to understand those around you more easily, and it helps everyone accept everyone as they are, and for what they choose to be.

If you’re feeling a little confused about the different types of gender that we see in the modern day, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Nobody is born knowing everything!

The fact that you want to learn and educate yourself is a good thing. To help you out, let’s explore the different types of gender.

[Read: Romantic orientations and the most common ones all of us must know]

The freedom to be who you really are

Not everyone born a biological woman wants to identify as a woman. Maybe they don’t feel either male or female. Perhaps they have no sense of gender at all. It could be that they feel far more male than female. Basically, they don’t want to conform to a gender label, or they feel that they’re in the wrong body.

The different types of gender cover some very large ground. We can go from someone who doesn’t identify as male, female, or anything else, all the way to someone who was born one gender but changes their gender to be the other. Of course, we now know this to be transgender.

[Read: List of sexualities – 15 gender orientations you need to know about]

All of this simply means that everyone on the planet can be who they want to be. They’re given the freedom to finally identify as who they really want to be.

Being stuck with a label that simply doesn’t feel “you” can have a hugely detrimental effect on mental health and overall quality of life. When you choose a type of gender that suits you, or you choose to shun the whole idea of gender altogether, you can finally live your life in a way that feels free and right to you.

The great thing about this is that there is no right or wrong. It’s a controversial subject for many but that simply means you don’t understand it properly. That can be solved by educating yourself and understanding with empathy.

It’s a personal choice for every single person and the outcome of that decision should be respected by all. No questions asked. [Personal thought: Stop trying to convince me gender doesn’t exist]

Why is it important to understand the different types of gender?

Maybe you don’t have any issue with the gender you were born with. You were born biologically female and you feel female. Or, you may have been born biologically male and you feel male. That’s fine. That’s your personality identity and you live your life that way.

But, it’s not so simple for everyone. It’s important that we all learn about the different types of gender so we can be far more accepting of every single person. That also means that we can address people in the way they want to be addressed, using the correct pronouns they choose for themselves.

It’s not about judgment, it’s simply about respect and kindness for others.

Of course, there are many different types of gender out there and the terms can be confusing. But, by educating yourself, you can become a more accepting and open-minded person. [Read: 20 intellectual conversation topics that ignite meaningful communication]

Different types of gender explained

There are terms you might have heard of, but you’re not sure what they mean. There might be terms you’re more familiar with. It doesn’t matter either way, let’s list them and explain in turn.

1. Agender

If you are agender, it basically means that you don’t associate with any type of gender. You don’t class yourself as male or female. You’re simply neutral.

You might also hear the word ‘genderless’ which also means agender. [Read: How to be yourself – 14 ways to unfake your life and love being you]

2. Bigender

A bigender person is someone who might move between different traditional male or female genders in how they act and behave.

Of course, nobody can really put a firm ‘female behavior’ or ‘male behavior’ term on any type of action. But, we tend to have certain social identities. For instance, a man might be macho, and a woman might be gentle. Someone who is bigender moves between the two. [Read: What is masculinity? 19 really manly traits women hope to see in you]

3. Cisgender

A person who is cisgender is someone who was born a particular sex and identifies that as sex also. So, if a baby is born as a boy and that person remains a boy and identifies as male throughout their life, they’re also cisgender.

4. Gender fluid

Someone who identifies as gender fluid moves between male and female according to how they feel. It is a little like bigender.

A gender fluid person isn’t only about how they behave, but also about how they dress too. A gender fluid person might feel like a woman for three days, but then wake up and feel like a man afterward. [Read: What does being sexually fluid even mean in the dating scene]

5. Non-binary

A non-binary person doesn’t want to put a label on their gender. They simply ‘are.’ They don’t recognize themselves as male or female or anything in-between.

You will see the term ‘non-binary’ appearing more often on surveys and forms where you’re asked to identify your gender. A non-binary person will usually have pronouns such as ‘they/them,’ but they will choose these for themselves. [Read: What it means to live as a non-binary person and how it can make your life better]

6. Intersex

An intersex person is born with reproductive organs that are neither male or female. In this case, an intersex person might appear to have a female reproductive anatomy but if you were to do a scan of the inside of their pelvis, you would see a picture of male reproductive organs internally.

In terms of what gender an intersex person identifies themselves as, it’s a personal choice.

7. Transgender

Most people have heard of ‘transgender.’ There might be some confusion over what it actually means. Put simply, a transgender person is born one sex, i.e. male or female, but they identify as the opposite and decide to live as the opposite throughout their lives.

So, a baby may be born as male. As that baby grows into an adult, they identify and feel female. As a result, that person lives as a female.

Dressing and acting female, and may even undergo surgery to change their gender, although not always. Of course, it can be the opposite way around, with a female choosing to live as a male. [Read: Do you know someone who is guilty of cissexism?]

8. Genderqueer

You’ll often hear the term ‘genderqueer’ to identify people who don’t identify as male or female.

It’s basically a term that captures most non-binary people or those who don’t conform to any type of gender term. So, while it’s not really on the list of types of gender per se, it’s a term you’ll hear and it’s important to know what it means.

9. Gender expression

This is another term associated with types of gender that you should understand learn about, if you want to have the full picture. Gender expression is how someone expresses their choice of gender.

So if someone is cisgender, e.g. female born and identifies as female, they may dress in a traditionally female way – not always of course, but that would be how they express their gender.

If someone is transgender, e.g. born a boy but chooses to identify as a woman, they may dress and act in a feminine way as their gender expression. [Read: 10 self-reflective questions to help stay true to yourself]

Basically, gender expression is how someone dresses, acts, and everything else that has anything to do with showing a particular gender, or no gender at all.

10. Gender variant

Our final term relates to a person who chooses not to conform to what society expects of them in terms of gender-based ideals.

It could be a female-born woman who chooses to identify as female but doesn’t conform to the so-called norms of how a female should dress or act. It can also be an umbrella term to explain someone who chooses to be non-binary, because they’re choosing not to conform to gender-based ideas that society places upon them.

Of course, nothing is cut and dry. You might find someone who identifies with several different types of gender outlined above. [Read: 25 self-discovery questions to bring you closer to learning who you are]

Remember, gender is a personal decision

You see, gender is a personal thing. There is no simple answer to this question. It all comes down to the way an individual identifies and feels. You can’t explain to someone how it feels to be born in a male body but feel female on the inside, just as you can’t explain how a female might identify more as a male. It’s not something anyone should explain or need to explain. As a society, we simply need to accept everyone as they are, for whatever they choose to identify as.

At the end of the day, does it matter whether someone identifies as male, female, non-binary, or anything else? A person is a person. They should only ever be judged on the things they do in their life.

For instance, we couldn’t care less if someone chooses to identify as a cat. We care about how they treat us and those around us. That is what we judge a person on.

As a society, we should err more towards that way of thinking and spend less time thinking about types of gender and the labels we put on people. [Read: What it means to be sexually fluid in the dating world]

Why does gender really matter?

You could also ask yourself what the entire gender issue is really about. Whether someone is male, female, or non-binary doesn’t define who they are as a person. You could say that gender only really becomes an issue when thinking about reproduction.

Obviously, to birth a child, you must have female reproductive organs. That’s the only real sticking point in terms of gender, but even that has alternatives! Surrogacy has opened up a world of opportunities for same-sex couples, allowing everyone to experience the joy of welcoming a child into the world.

So, when you look at the world in that way, does gender even matter at all? Of course, gender is an identity. But not everyone needs to have a label to feel like they belong. [Read: I don’t know what to do with my life- The voice to find your way]

Basically, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re happy and you can identify in a way that helps you to feel fulfilled and satisfied.

Many people recognize their sexuality as straight or gay. There are also people who simply fall in love with a person and don’t put a label on their sexuality, just as many people don’t put a label on their gender.

We choose who we want to be, who we want to love, and what we want our future to be. In our opinion, that can only be a good thing.

Instead of trying to label people and understand what different gender types really mean, simply focus on a person and what they bring to the world. Surely, looking at how someone treats others is far more important than deciding on a gender label!

[Read: Why we all need to get on board with being sex positive]

The different types of gender can cause confusion. It really comes down to allowing a person to live their life in the way they feel most comfortable. Gender is both a label and an identity.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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