The labels we use to describe gender identities are growing and expanding, because, as humans, our ability to understand each other is also growing and expanding.
Here’s a list of these gender identity labels with quick definitions of each. But before we jump in, one important thing to know:
Gender identities aren’t just male, female, and in-between
Gender doesn’t fall on a scale with male at one end and female at the other. It’s far more expansive than that. For example, agender people (like me) lack gender altogether. On the other hand, some people experience a combination of genders, multiple different genders at once, or a sense of gender that is something entirely different from male and female altogether.
If that’s overwhelming to try to get your head around, it’s OK. We exist in a big universe, and there’s a lot of complicated things going on.
Let’s move onto that list.
Gender identities in alphabetical order
- Agender: a person who has no sense of gender. Also sometimes called genderblank or gendervoid.
- Androgyne: a person whose gender is a combination of male and female (though not necessarily in equal amounts)
- Aporagender: a gender identity describing people who have a strong sense of gender that isn’t specifically male or female. This umbrella term includes gender identities like androgyne and maverique.
- Autigender: a person whose experience of gender is directly related to their experience of the world as a person with autism.
- Bigender: a person who has two genders they switch between or experience simultaneously.
- Cisgender: a person whose gender identity matches with the gender they were assigned at birth. More simply put: not transgender.
- Demiboy: A person who is somewhat male, but not entirely.
- Demigirl: A person who is somewhat female, but not entirely.
- Genderfluid: A person whose gender shifts between multiple genders in a fluid way.
- Genderflux: A person whose gender fluctuates in intensity.
- Genderqueer: An umbrella term for a person whose gender is not strictly male nor strictly female (sometimes used synonymously with nonbinary).
- Gender questioning: A person who is questioning whether or not they really are cisgender, but is uncertain about their gender identity.
- Man: A person who identifies with the male gender. May be either trans or cisgender.
- Maverique: A gender that is neither male nor female, but still a very present gender—just something entirely different.
- Neutrois: A person whose gender is neutral or absent. Neutrois is an umbrella term which includes a variety of genders, including agender.
- Nonbinary: a person whose gender is outside the gender binary; not strictly male nor strictly female.
- Pangender: A person whose gender identity spans multiple genders. May consider themselves a member of all genders.
- Polygender: A person who has two or more genders that they switch between or experience simultaneously (includes bigender and trigender).
- Third gender: A term used similarly to nonbinary to refer to people whose gender identity isn’t strictly male or female, but is either somewhere in between, a combination of both, no gender at all, or something else entirely.
- Transfeminine: A person who is transgender in the direction of femininity, but may or may not be a woman.
- Transgender: A person whose gender identity does not match the gender they were assigned at birth.
- Transmasculine: a person who is transgender in the direction of masculinity, but may or may not be a man.
- Trigender: A person who has three genders they switch between or experience simultaneously.
- Two-spirit: A gender identity specific to indigenous peoples that transcends western views of gender. It describes someone whose body holds both a male and female spirit.
- Woman: A person who identifies with the female gender. May be either trans or cisgender.
There’s lots of overlap in gender labels
Many of the terms fit together and overlap with each other. Multiple terms can describe the same person at once. Think of it like a network with parent terms, child terms, and terms that overlap with each other.
This chart will help you see that there are taxonomies to how these terms fit together. This visual is a little oversimplified, but gives you more context than just a list.
Many people identify with multiple labels on the above list. Take me for example: the words agender, nonbinary, neutrois, transgender, and genderqueer all apply.
Other gender-related vocabulary to know
- AFAB & AMAB: These are abbreviations for “Assigned Female At Birth,” and “Assigned Male At Birth,” respectively. These terms reference the sex designated by medical professionals and placed on a person’s legal documentation when they were born.
- Bioessentialism: An outdated and unscientific belief that binary biological sex dictates someone’s gender.
- Binarism: Erasure or prejudice against nonbinary people—people who aren’t strictly male or female. Also sometimes called enbyphobia (pronounced NB phobia).
- Binary genders: Genders that are one of these two: either man or woman. (A binary-gendered person may or may not be transgender.)
- Deadname: The given name that a transgender person has rejected because it conflicts with who they are.
- Gatekeeping: The act of creating laws, regulations, and criteria for people to comply to before allowing them to identify as transgender or receive transgender healthcare.
- Gender dysphoria: A profound sense of unease coming from the fact that the person you are is being distorted beyond recognition. You can experience both social dysphoria and body dysphoria.
- Gender identity: a person’s gender identity is who they are.
- Gender nonconforming: People who break gender norms but aren’t transgender.
- HRT: The acronym for hormone replacement therapy. A medical treatment that helps people end up with the hormone balance they need.
- Intersex: a person who has a combination of male and female sex characteristics. It’s the “I” in LGBTQIA+.
- Medical transition: Various medical procedures that help align a person’s physical body with the person they know themselves to be.
- Misgendering: When a person is referred to as a gender that is not accurate to who they really are.
- Neopronouns: a word that literally means “new pronouns.” These pronouns are used to reference people of different genders with a higher degree of nuance.
- Social transition: The act of shifting a person’s life to align more with their gender. Includes things like changing your name, changing the gender on your birth certificate, adjusting how you dress, asking people to use different pronouns in reference to you.
- TERF: stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. These are folks with anti-trans beliefs who don’t acknowledge transgender women to be women.
- Transgender: A person who was assigned a gender at birth that doesn’t match their true gender.
- Transgender man: a person who was assigned the female gender at birth, but whose gender is actually male.
- Transgender woman: a person who was assigned male at birth, but whose gender is actually female.
- Transmedicalism: The false belief that you’re only trans if you have body dysphoria and physically transition. This is a specific type of bioessentialism.
- Transphobia: Discrimination against transgender people.
- Truscum: a group of people who hold the dangerous belief that there are true transgender people and fake transgender people.
So how many genders are there?
On this page is a list of 25 of genders. But that doesn’t mean 25 is the sum total of all the genders. The truth is, there’s no way to put a final number on how many genders there are.
Gender is about a person’s sense of self, and each individual person is likely to experience gender differently.
Gender identity labels are simply ways for us to relate to each others’ different experiences, and describe our own more clearly.
And while many people are men and many people are women (those are the binary genders that we’re most familiar with) there are also many people for whom those terms just aren’t accurate.
Which gender identities made this list?
It would be impossible for me to list every single gender on this page, but I do regularly keep it up to date with newly-established gender identity labels.
These labels are evolving in ongoing discussions among the trans and nonbinary community worldwide, and I’m adding to this list as they gain traction in that conversation—and as I come to a clear-enough understanding to feel confident briefly describing them.
Each one has intricate nuances and variations, and even—most likely—its own gender pride flag. There’s a huge amount to know about each one, and our understanding is still massively expanding.
The list is still growing
As it becomes less taboo for us as a society to start talking about our gender identities and expressing our true selves, more are coming to light. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I’ll be adding more to it as I learn more.
Is a gender identity label that resonates with you missing from this list? Let me know in the comments.