I identify as...
There is still little research in this field, but on estimate roughly 5% of the population struggle with their gender-identity (source: Rutgers Nisso Group)
Just to put this number into perspective, it’s estimated that 5% of the global population are LGB (source: Dalia Research). Or to make it even more clear how much 5% of the population is… Roughly 5% of the global population works in healthcare.
It’s mostly because only about 5% of this 5% actually transitions, that awareness is still at a very early stage.
So, if only roughly 0,25% of the population transitions what is up with the other 4,75%?
Well, here it gets complicated and simple at the same time. Just as people come in all sort of different shapes and colors, so does gender-identity. Don’t think of it as boxed, but instead of it as a spectrum and you could be anywhere on this spectrum. Just like the colors on this beautiful art piece by olafur eliasson:
So, where before gender was considered as something binary (male/female), now finally society starts to understand and accept that there now, and always has been, more to it. Just like with everything in life!
No single person is alike, but somehow we still like to ‘box’ the world as it makes it easier on our mind, weirdly enough often even when it concerns our own gender-identity. Nobody likes to be boxed, but somehow we even do it to ourselves.
So, for better understanding, let’s dive into the main terms either used by people to describe how they identify or to describe others (often less kind…):
In alphabetical order:
Agender: agender is a term which can be literally translated as 'without gender'. It can be seen either as a non-binary gender identity or as a statement of not having a gender identity.
Androgyne: androgynes have a gender identity which is simultaneously feminine and masculine, although not necessarily in equal amounts. The word Andro means male/masculinity and the word Gyne means female/femininity.
Bigender: bigender is a gender identity which can be literally translated as 'two genders' or 'double gender'. Bigender people experience exactly two gender identities, either simultaneously or varying between the two. These two gender identities could be male and female, but could also include non-binary identities.
Cisgender: cisgender is a term for someone who has a gender identity that aligns with what they were assigned at birth. The term was created for referring to "non-transgender" people without alienating transgender people. Often Cisgendered is shortened to Cis, as for example with Cis Female, Cis Male, Cis Man, Cis Woman instead of Cisgender Female, Cisgender Male, Cisgender Man, Cisgender Woman
Crossdresser: crossdressers are people who choose to wear clothes which are associated with a different gender identity to their own. Most crossdressers are not transgender and do not want to transition. In many cases there is ‘paraphilia’ which means the person is sexually aroused by cross-dressing. Unfortunately many crossdressers experience a huge degree of guilt and shame and thus never share their identity. It is however estimated that 20-30% of all males cross-dress at least once during their lifetimes and that of that total 3 to 11% dress publicly on a regular basis (source: University of Michigan). Dear crossdressers, know that we at Dot. are here for you too and are always just one (WhatsApp)message away!
Confluent: confluent literally means ‘flowing or coming together’. A confluent person has merged both genders within to create an identity that they feel moves beyond gender.
Drag King: drag Kings (also called male impersonators) are people (usually cisgender women) who cross-dress in masculine clothing, usually in order to perform and entertain others. Drag Kings are associated with lesbian culture, particularly butches, although not all Drag Kings consider themselves homosexual. Almost all drag kings are not transgender and do not want to transition.
Drag Queen: drag Queens (also called female impersonators) are people (usually cisgender men) who cross-dress in feminine clothing, often to an exaggerated degree, in order to perform and entertain others. Drag Queens are often associated with the culture of gay men, although not all Drag Queens identify as such. Almost all drag queens are not transgender and do not want to transition.
Female to Male: female to male (or FTM) is a term which describes someone who is both a man and transgender/transsexual. Female to male men were assigned female at birth, but their gender identity is male. Most of the time people who identify as FTM will make a social and/or medical transition.
Gender Fluid: gender fluid is a gender identity which refers to a gender which varies over time. A gender fluid person may at any time identify as male, female, neutrois, or any other non-binary identity, or some combination of identities. Their gender can also vary at random or vary in response to different circumstances.
Gender Nonconforming: gender non-conforming describes anyone whose appearance and behavior does not reflect the gender roles expected of them. Many transgender people, especially those who identify as non-binary and/or genderqueer, are seen as gender non-conforming. However, this term can also be applied to those with a cisgender gender identity who do not fit societal stereotypes of that gender.
Gender Questioning: gender questioning is a term used to describe anyone who is in the process of deciding which gender identity suits them best. Transgender people may undergo a period of questioning in which they reflect upon their preferred gender expression, their personal definitions of masculinity and femininity, and their feelings about their assigned sex. Questioning can result in a change of gender identity (which may prompt a desire to transition) or it may confirm the gender identity the person previously held. This is a very tough phase, so please be kind to anyone you know currently questioning their gender-identity.
Gender Variant: see gender nonconforming
Genderqueer: Genderqueer is an umbrella term with a similar meaning to non-binary. It can be used to describe any gender identities other than man and woman, thus outside of the gender binary. Genderqueer identities can include one or more of the following: both man and woman, neither man nor woman (genderless, agender, Neutrois), moving between genders (gender fluid), transgender and/or nonbinary. Some genderqueer people may wish to transition, either medically or by changing their name and/or pronouns to suit their preferred gender expression.
Intersex: An intersex person has sex characteristics e.g. sexual anatomy, reproductive organs, and/or chromosome patterns that do not fit the typical definition of male or female. This may be apparent at birth or become so later in life e.g. puberty. Intersex people, just like dyadic people, may identify with any sexual orientation or gender identity. The most thorough existing research finds intersex people to constitute an estimated 1.7% of the population, which makes being intersex about as common as having red hair (1%-2%). Many intersex children undergo surgery in an effort to ‘normalize’ them - even though these interventions are often invasive, irreversible, and not performed for emergency reasons. Although doctors and parents may be well meaning, the reality is that the procedures performed on intersex children can cause major problems, including infertility, pain, incontinence and lifelong psychological suffering. All this just to make children conform to society’s idea of what a girl or a boy ‘should’ look like.
Male to Female: male to female (or MTF) is a term which describes someone who is both a woman and transgender/transsexual. Male to female women were assigned man at birth, but their gender identity is female. Most of the time people who identify as MTF will make a social and/or medical transition and we at Dot. try to help and support them on that journey!
Neither: see Genderqueer
Neutrois: Neutrois is a non-binary gender identity which is often associated with a "neutral" or "null" gender. It may also be associated with genderlessness, and shares many similarities with agender people who consider themselves neutrally gendered or genderless, but some may identify as both, while others may prefer one term or the other. Neutrois people may experience dysphoria and wish to transition. Often, Neutrois people prefer their gender expression to be gender neutral or androgynous, though this may vary from person to person. Some Neutrois people wish to medically transition to remove all sex characteristics, but others only wish to remove specific characteristics or do not desire surgery at all.
Non-binary: Genderqueer has a lot of overlap with non-binary. Non-binary is often seen as the preferred term, as "queer" may be used as a transphobic insult.
Other: see Genderqueer
Pangender / Omnigender: Pangender is a non-binary gender identity which refers to a vast and diverse multiplicity of genders in the same individual that can extend infinitely, always within the person's own culture and life experience. This gender experience can be either simultaneously or over time. Pangender is a multigender that is very expansive and unspecific, meaning that there are so many genders that it’s difficult or impossible to list them all. There is no maximum limit to the amount of genders. Being pangender is feeling an entire infinite gender spectrum that is possible for an individual to have. The pangender experience can go beyond the current knowledge of genders. The Greek prefix “pan” refers to “everything” or “all”. Therefore, pangender means “having all genders it’s possible to have” and other similar definitions. Omnigender is a synonym for pangender.
Shemale: shemale is a term, considered by most to be extremely offensive, to describe trans women or other people with male genitalia and female secondary sex characteristics, usually including breasts from breast augmentation and/or the use of hormones. Just stick to transgender please.
Sissy: in this context "sissies" are men who cross-dress, often for sexual pleasure. Many of these men engage in "sissification" or "forced feminization," where a female dominatrix will switch her male submissive's gender role. Though every sissy/femdom relationship is wildly different, the common denominator is usually the forced cross-dressing of the male submissive—anything from lingerie to evening gowns. Some "sissies" simply enjoy dressing up, and have no interest in BDSM. Others desire a kinkier feminization. The word ‘Sissy’ comes from sister, and its earliest use to mean "effeminate man" was in the late 1800s.
Tgirl: This is a hard one, because some people use it as an abbreviation of trans girl, but for others it’s a term to describe a person who identifies as somewhere in between crossdresser and transgender woman. In that case, the person enjoys living as a transgender woman part-time and does not want to transition socially or medically.
Trans / Transgender: trans or transgender is an umbrella term for anyone whose internal experience of gender does not match the gender they were assigned at birth (normally based on first and secondary sex characteristics). Transgender people experience discomfort or distress due to their gender not aligning with their sex, and therefore wish to transition to being the gender they identify with. Some transgender people feel this way from a very young age, while others go through a period of questioning before realizing they are transgender. If you’re reading this and are in doubt, we are always just one (WhatsApp)message away!
Trans Female / Trans Woman / Transgender Female / Transgender Woman: see Male to Female
Trans Male / Trans Man / Transgender Male / Transgender Man: see Female to Male
Trans Person / Transgender Person: see Trans / Transgender
Transfeminine: transfeminine is a term used to describe transgender people who were assigned male at birth, but identify with femininity to a greater extent than with masculinity. This can include: trans woman, demi girls (multigender people who identify as female more than other genders), gender fluid and demifluid people who are feminine more often than other genders, any other non-binary person who identify as feminine more often than other genders. Transfeminine can also be used as a gender identity in its own right. Although they have feminine gender identities, transfeminine people may prefer not to conform to stereotypical feminine gender expression or gender roles.
Transmasculine: transmasculine is a term used to describe transgender people who were assigned female at birth, but identify with masculinity to a greater extent than with femininity. Usually transmasculine people try to appear stereotypically masculine in terms in their gender expression in order to create social recognition of their dominant male identity. The genders that fall under transmasculine include: trans men, demiguys, multigender people whose strongest gender identity is a masculine one, gender fluid people who are masculine most often, any other non-binary gender who views themselves as significantly masculine. Transmasculine can also be used as a gender identity in its own right. Although they have masculine gender identities, transmasculine people may prefer not to conform to stereotypical masculine gender expression or gender roles and may not try to appear more masculine
Transsexual / Transsexual Female / Transsexual Male / Transsexual Woman / Transsexual Man / Transsexual Person: transsexual is a term used to describe transgender people. The terminology "transsexual" predates the term "transgender" but has since fallen into relative disuse among the community as it may imply that sex characteristics are more important than gender identity.
Tranny: tranny is a term, considered by most to be extremely offensive, to describe a transgender person. Just stick to transgender please.
Transvestite: transvestite is an older, now by many considered offensive, term for crossdresser.
Two-Spirit: A direct translation of the Ojibwe term, Niizh manidoowag, "two-spirited" or "two-spirit" is usually used to indicate a person whose body simultaneously houses a masculine spirit and a feminine spirit. Non-native Americans who use this identity are often accused of "appropriating Native culture.", so best try to avoid it.
Wow, those are many gender-options right? And more and more are made every day as we learn to embrace the fact that there is more to gender then just the binary’s.
We suggest keeping it simple, just treat everyone like the beautifully unique human being that they are. Just like this t-shirt, which we stock, says:
Still have questions? Or maybe you could use some help on your beautiful journey?
We are always only one (WhatsApp)message away: +31 6 15 58 38 97
Lots of love,
P.S. Very important… As it is one of the biggest misconceptions out there: Sexual orientation is different from gender and gender identity.
Sexual orientation is about who you’re attracted to and who you feel drawn to romantically, emotionally, and sexually. It’s different than gender identity. Gender identity isn’t about who you’re attracted to, but about who you ARE — male, female, transgender, genderqueer, etc.
This means that being transgender isn’t the same thing as being gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Sexual orientation is about who you want to be with. Gender identity is about who you are. Please don’t expect that someone’s sexual orientation will suddenly change when they transition!