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Did You Know?

Gender Identity

Some people don’t consider themselves strictly male or female.

When we’re born, we’re usually defined as a girl or boy and raised according to the gender roles of our society. However, some people don’t feel that such specific roles suit them – at least not all of the time.

For example, bi-gender people prefer to switch gender roles, depending on the situation. They might identify as a woman in a work setting, but be a man when out with their friends.

Genderfluid people find themselves on a continuum with male and female endpoints. A genderfluid person may feel more masculine on one day and more feminine on the next. “Genderqueer” is another term for genderfluid.

Many people who fit these descriptions aren’t interested in becoming a man or a woman and do not seek sexual reassignment surgery. They are happy to be a combination of male and female.

The American Psychological Association places bi-gender and genderfluid people in the “transgender” category. However, it is sometimes difficult to categorize people based their feelings of gender. For example, a person may identify as genderfluid but not transgender. Categories may mean different things to different people.

As some prefer not to call themselves male or female, gender-neutral pronouns have developed. “Zie” is meant to replace “he” and “she.” “Hir” is a substitute for “his” or “her.”


American Psychological Association

“Answers to Your Questions About Transgender People, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression”


Smith, Jeffrey A., PhD

Personal communication on gender identity. October 23, 2013 (Minneapolis)

Palmer, Kim

“Gender-identity conversation comes out of the closet”

(September 21, 2013)