What Is the Gender Spectrum? and How Does It Differ From Sexuality?

posted by Chris Valentine

The gender spectrum is vast. It goes beyond the binary “man” and “woman” to include more identities for people who feel they don’t fit one side or the other.

Affirming and accepting someone for their gender identity is important. Newcomers to this topic might think gender identity and the gender spectrum and the sexuality spectrum work as one, but that isn’t the case.

Let’s break it down a little further to begin understanding the gender spectrum.

Gender vs. Sex Assigned at Birth

Gender is how you feel inside about your own gender, regardless of what your exterior anatomy might be. From a young age, we have all been taught that there are only two genders: male and female.

In addition, “sex” and “gender” are not related. Sex refers to a person’s genitals, though it often leaves out intersex people (people whose exterior and interior genitalia neither resembles binary ideas of “male” and “female”).

Societal ideas of masculinity and femininity were built on this binary idea of biological gender identity. This type of thinking alienates many people who feel they don’t fit on the gender binary.

The Gender Spectrum

The gender spectrum is vast. As said before, it is entirely how you feel inside about your own gender. Here are some of many identities that make up that spectrum:

  • cisgender individual
    • people who identify their gender as what their assigned sex was at birth
  • transgender individual
    • people who do not identify their gender as what their assigned sex was at birth
    • they may physically transition away from their assigned sex closer to their actual gender identity, but not all transgender individuals choose to do so
  • nonbinary individual
    • people who do not feel exclusively male or female
    • they feel their gender is in between or even outside of the binary
  • agender individual
    • people who have no gender

This is only a small taste of how gender is a spectrum. In addition, none of the above touches upon gender expression itself, which is related to but different from the gender spectrum.

Sexuality and Gender

Many newcomers to discussions on gender identity often mistake sexuality and gender as related ideas, identities, and terms. An individual’s gender identity or gender expression does play a role in how society tries to perceive an individual’s sexuality, though.

Sexuality includes your sexual orientation (who you’re attracted to emotionally, sexually, and romantically). It is also a feeling inside of you, but it is not related to your gender.

You may be nonbinary, but you’re attracted to women, so you may be a lesbian or straight or bisexual. Like gender, sexual orientation is also a spectrum.

Your Gender and Sexuality Is Yours

How you feel and identify is yours alone: no one can or should tell you what you need to say or do regarding your gender and sexuality. For those of you who are newcomers to the discussion, continue learning more about the gender spectrum.

Give the rest of our blog a peek for more on other life topics like the gender spectrum!

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