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What is gender?

You’ve likely heard the terms assigned gender, gender identity and sex, and maybe you're like me when I first started researching the meaning behind the words. I was thinking, "Are they all the same thing? What are the differences?" My motivations were probably a lot like yours, which was to learn how I can be a better ally to the trans and gender diverse communities.

But before we dive into the definitions of each term, let’s talk about the ways in which much of society has looked upon gender and sex, which is through the lens of the gender binary. The gender binary is the concept that there are two genders: male and female. In recent years, that idea has been challenged as more people come out about their assigned gender not matching who they really are (their gender identity). But even though assigned gender and gender identity are terms used more prevalently in the 21st century, the meanings—and, more importantly, the people living these meanings—behind...

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