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Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center

Agender is a term used to describe those who experience very little to no gender at all, or those who reject the concept of gender.

Androgynous is an expression of gender that has both, has neither, or is in between masculine and feminine qualities.

Cisgender is a term describing someone whose gender identity aligns with the gender identity traditionally associated with the sex assigned at birth.  “Cis” is a shorthand term for “cisgender.”

Gender Dysphoria is the conflict an individual may feel between their physical or assigned sex/gender and the gender with which they identify.  It is often described as feeling like they are not in the right body and being constantly reminded of this.  Not all transgender folks experience dysphoria. Dysphoria can exist on a spectrum and can change in severity from day-to-day or moment-to-moment.  Dysphoria is completely different and separate from dysmorphia.

Gender Expression describes the many outward manifestations of one’s gender identity, such as style of dress, vocal tone, and mannerisms.  Gender expression may be socially or culturally relative.

Gender Identity is a person’s internal, deeply-felt sense of being a woman, a man, or some other gender.  One’s gender identity may be different from the gender identity traditionally associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.  Every individual – including transgender individuals – knows best what their gender identity is.  Everyone has the right to self-identify their gender and no one should force or pressure someone to identify.

Gender Roles are expectations that society places on the binary men and women genders, which often restrict people from feeling as though they can be themselves without fear of backlash for not fitting into their assigned gender roles.  Alternatively, individuals may feel as though they are not “man enough” or “woman enough” if they do not fit society’s gender roles.

GIESORC (pronounced “gee-sork”), also known as the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center, is the office on the Pullman campus that provides resources, community building, programming, and assistance for students, faculty, and staff who want to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community or who are seeking community within a queer space.

Intersex is a sex assignment and/or gender identity used to describe those who do not fit into typical physical definitions of male or female.

Non-Binary is a gender identity that is outside of the man/woman binary, and includes those who are neither man nor woman, or who experience a combination of both.

Pansexual/-romantic is a term describing someone who is capable of being sexually/romantically attracted to any and all genders.

Polyamorous is a term describing someone who desires relationships with more than one person.  Polyamorous relationships are not cheating, though they do require trust, open communication, and honesty.

Queer was (and sometimes still is) used as a derogatory term but is more often now reclaimed as an inclusive term referencing broad communities of sexual and gender identities that fall outside of dominant categories.

Romantic Orientation refers to one’s romantic and/or emotional attraction.  Though these often align, for some folks their sexual and romantic orientations may not be the same.

Same gender loving is a term often used by black and African American communities as an alternative to gay, lesbian, etc.

Sex is a social construction based on a person’s anatomy; only two categories are regularly recognized (male/female), but this is changing due to intersex activists.

Sex/Gender Assignment (AFAB, AMAB) is the binary label (male/female) that doctors give to an infant at or before birth, most often based on their genitals.  The terms Assigned Female at Birth (AFAB) and Assigned Male at Birth (AMAB) are often used to specify the sex that was given to an individual, regardless of their gender identity.

Sexual Orientation refers to one’s sexual attraction, not necessarily their romantic and/or emotional attraction, though often these align.  A person’s sexual orientation is distinct from their gender identity.

Transgender, broadly speaking, is an umbrella term describing a person whose gender identity is different from the gender identity traditionally associated with the sex assigned at birth.  Some transgender individuals identify simply as women or men, and not as transgender, while some transgender folks identify as non-binary, genderqueer, androgynous, or another gender outside of the gender binary.  “Trans” and “Trans*” are shorthand terms for “transgender.”

Transition refers to the process by which a transgender person may bring their gender expression, legal and/or non-legal gender markers on documents and records, and/or physical characteristics, into conformity with their gender identity.

Not all transgender people transition, and not all people who transition go through a transition process that includes medical steps such as hormone therapy or surgeries.  Transitioning is a very personal process, and there are many ways to transition.  Every employee who transitions is entitled to respect, regardless of the particulars of how or whether they transition.  Also, not all transgender employees must transition in any way in order to identify as transgender.