Gender- Socially and culturally produced categorizations where people are defined traditionally as man or woman (masculine or feminine).
Gender identity- a person’s self-identification as a man, woman, transgendered, or other. Gender Identity may change over time and it may not fit into dichotomous gender categories.
Sex- separate from gender, refers to biological, chromosomal, and anatomical features associated with maleness and femaleness in the human body.
Sexual orientation- Refers to the gender(s) to which a person is emotionally, physically, romantically, and erotically attracted. (homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, fluid, questioning, etc.)
Transgender- Range of behaviors, expressions, and identifications which challenge traditional notions of sex, gender, and sexuality. People who dis-identify with the sex or gender assigned to them at birth. People who feel that their initial sex or gender designation is a false or incomplete description of who they are.
Transsexual- Individuals who dis-identify with their birth sex and wish to utilize hormones and gender confirmation surgery (this term is more affirming than sex reassignment surgery) as a way to align their physical body with their internal gender identity.
Cross-dresser- Individual who dresses in clothing that is culturally associated with members of the “other” sex. Most cross-dressers are heterosexual (used to be called transvestite…this term is no longer used because of negative connotations.)
Transphobia- The irrational fear and hatred of individuals who transgress, violate, or blur the dominant gender categories.
- People sometimes describe sex as what’s between your legs and gender as what’s between your ears.
- Gender is fluid.
- Gender is a concept that people made up to describe others, so some do not fit the description that others have assigned to them.
- Transgender people are often the targets of hate crimes because of transphobia.
3. Language makes a difference. Many people knowingly or unknowingly use language that is biased when it comes to gender. I encourage you to think about the language you use and how it may be biased.
- Avoid phrases like “the opposite sex.” Use phrases like “the gender continuum.”
- Do not use sex and gender interchangeably.
- Refer to a trans or gender-variant person by the appropriate pronoun (the gender with which the person identifies.) Do not use the pronoun associated with the person’s biological sex if they do not identify with it. Do not refer to any human being as “it.” Terms like “she-male” or “he-she” are derogatory…do not use them.
- Use forms and check-boxes that include more than “male” and “female” as options for gender expression.
- Consider gender-neutral areas (restrooms, locker rooms, housing, etc.) so that people are not forced to choose a limiting gender dichotomy that does not fit them.
For a more complete list of gender bias in language and how to avoid it, click here.
4. What role do you play in gender discrimination, gender bias, being an ally, and promoting gender diversity?
Do you support organizations and institutions that are trans-friendly?
How can you affirm gender variance and gender diversity?
5. Check out all of UNH’s events for Gender Identities Awareness Week at http://www.tgnh.org/id10.html
*The info for this post is from TransGender New Hampshire