A person who lives a dual life, having one role as a man and another role as a woman. Bi-gendered people spend significant time in each role and have separate names, pronouns, social circles, and gender identities. Often one social circle is unaware of the person's other identity. Sometimes called a transgenderist. (4 on the Benjamin gender scale.)


A female who crossdresses in men's clothing, has a masculine haircut, and takes on the masculine gender role, but does not try to pass as a man or change pronouns. See also Gender Bender.


Literally, person who sometimes dresses in clothing traditionally associated with the opposite sex. In practice, most crossdressers assume the feminine gender role, presenting completely as a woman (with long hair, makeup, padding, and sometimes changes to voice and body language.) Crossdressers change repeatedly back and forth between man and woman. Most crossdressers spend only small amounts of time crossdressed, either alone or at a support group. (3 on the Benjamin gender scale.)


The role a person takes in social interactions, as in "man" or "woman", "masculine" or "feminine", "he" or "she". Gender involves a person's internal feelings of "gender identity" as well as external "gender role" or "gender expression". Gender is not a synonym for "sex", although the sex and gender of most people are congruent. "Sex" is what you have between your legs, "gender" is what you have between your ears. See "Man", "Woman", "Sex", "Gender Roles".

Gender Bender

A person who presents elements of both masculine and feminine appearance without trying to pass as the opposite sex. Examples include a man in a skirt, or with painted nails, styled hair, or dangling earrings, a woman in jacket and tie, or in a tuxedo, or a short masculine haircut or bound breasts. A gender bender is expressing how they are most comfortable.

Gender Characteristics

The physical attributes of a person, as they relate to the traditional stereotypes of "man" or "woman" and "male" or "female", usually applied to intersexual persons. Gender characteristics include height, body shape, deepness of voice, body hair, and also include biological sex differentiations like genotype, hormonal metabolism and genitals. Protection of gender characteristics means that a person will not be treated differently if their gender characteristics do not match those traditional for their sex. Examples include a short man, a woman with facial hair, a person whose genotype does not match their assigned sex, (e.g. a woman who is not genetically XX,) or a person with abiguous genitals. (See for more information about intersexuality.)

Gender Expression

The external presentation or appearance of a person, as it relates to the traditional stereotypes of "man" (or "boy") and "woman" (or "girl".) A person's gender expression includes appearance, dress, mannerisms, speech patterns, hairstyle, and social interactions. Protection of gender expressions means that any gender expression that is acceptable for one sex is also acceptable for the other sex.

Gender Identity

The internal feeling that all of us have of being a man or a woman. In the case of transsexuals, the feeling of identity or belonging is not compatible with the sex assigned at birth. The gender identity of a crossdresser is somewhere between the endpoints "man" and "woman", and may move back and forth.

Gender Roles

Societal expectations of how we are supposed to appear and behave depending on one's being male or female. One of the most explicit social rules is that one is expected to present oneself in public in a manner consistent with one's sex, and that presentation is to be unambiguous.

Gender Variance

The degree to which a person's gender expression, or gender identity, or gender characteristics is different from cultural expections. A gender variant person is one whose gender variance is high enough for them to be harrassed or discriminated against.


a person for whom the process of biological sex differentiation has resulted in a genital phenotype which is culturally unacceptable. The term often implies a medical history of intersexuality and is preferable to the outmoded term Hermaphrodite.

Sex Characteristics

Another term for Gender Characteristics. Some Intersex individuals draw a distinction between gender characteristics (visible physical attributes of a person) and sex characteristics (biological sex differentiations.) Usually both types of characteristics are included under the term gender characteristics.


A term that is used to refer to the entire community of individuals whose sex is not entirely congruent with their gender identity. This includes the entire range from the occasional, recreational crossdresser to the transsexual. This term is also used to describe non-operative transsexuals, intersexuals, feminine males, masculine females, or anyone who crosses the line outside the "man" or "woman" boxes expected by society.


An older term meaning the same as Transgender. Common usage in the 1990s and 2000s was transgendered. This has gradually changed to the currently preferred terms transgender or trans*. This site has been udpated to use transgender where appropriate, but where historically correct, the original usage remains.


Not to be confused with "transgender" or "transgendered". A transgenderist is a person who lives full-time or nearly full-time in the opposite gender from their birth sex, but does not desire surgery. Also called a non-operative transsexual. Sometimes the term "transgenderist" has been used to describe what this glossary calls a bi-gendered person. (5 on the Benjamin scale.)


A person who desires to permanently live as the opposite sex from their birth sex. This person may choose to have sex reassignment surgery. See "SRS." (6 or 7 on the Benjamin scale. 6 refers to a pre-operative transsexual, and in some scales, 7 refers to a post-operative transsexual.)

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