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Gender, Sex, & Sexuality

GENDER IDENTITY: situation within social

identifiers (i.e., man/woman, girl/boy); innate
sense of belonging within gender categories

GENDER EXPRESSION: external expressions

associated with masculinity and femininity.
(Includes: clothing style/color, grooming and hair
style, gait, posture, vocal inflection, etc.)

What is nonbinary gender?

SEX: physical traits, their functions, and their
social conceptualization. (Including: genitals, hair
growth, fat distribution, breast tissue, etc.)
Nonbinary people are those that do not identify
exclusively as "man" or "woman," "male" or
Sex is not binary (some are born intersex) and can
"female." Some consider themselves both,
change over time (due to transition or hormonal
neither, partially one or the other, a combination,
shifts). Many nonbinary people have, desire, or
or a fluid and changing mix.
conceptualize their bodies outside of binary sex.
Language is always changing, but as of 2016,
ORIENTATION: romantic or sexual attractions,
"nonbinary" is widely considered an umbrella
often (but not always) dependent on gender
term for many other identities, including
genderqueer, agender, and genderfluid.
CISGENDER: a descriptor for those whose with
gender identity is the same idendity (male/man,
Some nonbinary people refer to themselves with
female/woman) assigned to them at birth
binary pronouns (he or she), but many use
This pamphlet was lovingly produced by Seattle Nonbinary Collective. To get involved
singular they or others (such as ze/hir or xe/xem).
or for more information, visit or email
Nonbinary Identities How To Use Singular They
GENDERQUEER: having queer (nonconforming or "They" can be both singular and plural, just like
subversive) gender expression and/or identity "you"! Most people use singular they already to refer
to third parties whose pronouns are unknown:
GENDERFLUID: gender that shifts between i.e., "Someone delivered a package earlier."
multiple identities or presentations over time "Did they leave a note?"
It takes a little time to get comfortable, but we
AGENDER: lack of identification with gender promise it really does come naturally with practice!

NEUTROIS: neutral or neuter gender identity

Guidelines for the gramatically-inclined:
DEMIGENDER: partial identity with gender(s). Often
expressed as demiboy, demigirl Verbs used with singular they conjugate as with
plural they, not as with he/she.
BI-/TRIGENDER: possessing two or three gender i.e., "They come from Seattle and love rain,"
identities which may be distinct or intertwined not "They comes from Seattle and loves rain."
And unlike he/she, verb conjugation changes
TRANSGENDER: identity with a gender other than depending on whether the person's name or
assigned gender. Due to connotations with pronoun is the subject.
transition, binary identity, and dysphoria, some i.e., "Because they come from Seattle, Sam
nonbinary folks do not identify as transgender loves rain."

CROSSDRESSER: distinct from drag; presenting or Reflexive use is the one major way in which singular
dressing in clothes "opposite" of assigned and/or and plural they differ. They becomes "themself," not
identified and/or socially recognized gender "themselves."
i.e., "Sam takes good care of themself."
Language Use Nonbinary vs. Trans
HONORIFICS: Mx. (pronounced "mix") vs Mr./Ms. Are nonbinary people trans?
This is contested and ever-changing. Some
FORMS OF ADDRESS: Instead of "sir," "ma'am," identify that way; others do not. Often, trans-
"ladies," or "gentlemen," try neighbor, friend, folks, identified nonbinary people identify that way
esteemed guests, dear/kind people, or "all." because their genders differ from the genders
they were assigned; others don't because they
FAMILIAL TITLES: don't desire transition to a different gender
Brother/Sister - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Sibling (whether social or physical). We are diverse.
Mother/Father - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Parent, Zaza (inf.)
Daughter/Son - - - - - Child/kid, little one, birth order Can nonbinary people transition medically?
("oldest," "youngest") Absolutely! A host of transition options are
Granddaughter/-son- - - - - - - - - - - -Grandchild/-kid available. Many people are under the
Grandmother/-father- - - Grandparent, Grandy, Nini misconception that transition is "all or nothing."
Aunt/uncle - - - - - - - - - - - - Pibling (parent's sibling) Though access to health care is often financially
Niece/nephew - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Cousin, Nibling difficult, nonbinary transition is very possible.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) -
ROMANTIC/SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP TITLES: either testosterone or testosterone blockers and
Partner, significant other (SO), spouse, lover, estrogen, can be taken in low doses without
sweetie, date, enbyfriend, boifriend, datemate, significant health risks. "Top surgery" can involve
paramour, beloved, Imzadi (Star Trek?) breast implants, reductions, or mastectomy.
International guidelines (WPATH) do not require
SPANISH: Some nonbinary folks substitute o/a out certain procedures to access others.
for @ in written language - i.e., "Soy latin@" - and
for "e" in spoken language - i.e., "Soy latine." Micah at has shared great resources
for those seeking nonbinary transition.
What does "enby" mean? What is intersex? Is nonbinary the psychological
"Enby" is from the abbreviation for "nonbinary," equivalent of intersex?
N-B. Some use it as an alternative to girl/boy. Intersex people are born with genitalia and/or
chromosomes that do not conform to
What are your genitals like? traditional XY-male or XX-female characteristics.
Please never ask this of anyone unless they offer. Though some intersex people are trans and/or
The boring truth? Lots of ways. Some NB folks nonbinary, many do not identify that way.
don't want/need hormone replacement or Intersex is different from nonbinary. Intersex
genital surgery, and they're still nonbinary. folks are people, not a philosophical exercise.
Some folks born with penises take testosterone
blockers/estrogen, which can decrease genital What is two-spirit?
size and alter function. Some folks with vulvas Two-spirit is a traditional Native American
take testosterone, which results in the growth identity sometimes identified as part of the
of clitoral tissue. What we think of as clitorises nonbinary umbrella. Non-native people should
and penises develop from the same embryonic refrain from appropriating this identity, which
tissue, anyways; hormones greatly impact their has deep roots in native cultures. Bigender or
size & function. Some get genital surgeries, genderfluid are similar western equivalents.
which come in many varieties. Almost always,
people get such surgeries to lessen dysphoria. But gender has always been just male and female!
Nope! Especially in non-western cultures,
What is gender dysphoria? gender has often transcended the binary, and
An unpleasant anxiety condition that causes in some cultures includes four or five
physical, mental, and/or social discomfort. categories. Western culture has consistently
Some nonbinary people experience dysphoria. tried to shut out such diversity.