I’ve been Meme’d! This page was written over a decade ago and has recently gone viral via social media. It has outdated and/or wrong terminology and is in the process of being rewritten with updated terminology. To address the most common feedback I’ve gotten on the page, I’ve added this to section with some more timely and expanded information based on the latest scientific research.
Let’s talk about Sex, baby
There are typically two described sexes, Male and Female. That sounds pretty simple and obvious, right?
However, you still need to define by what criteria you define something as Male or Female.
If you say “Male is a person with a penis” and “female is someone with a vagina” there are people who have both penises AND vaginas in the same naturally occurring body. There are also people with indeterminate genders, such as micro-penises, macro-clitorises, no vagina and no penis and other not-frequently-occurring but still natural combinations. Likewise if you substitute “ovaries” or “uterus” for “vagina” in the definition. Google “intersex” for all the information you may want to find.
Maybe you want to define “sex” genetically as “Male has an XY chromosome pair” and “Female has an XX chromosome pair” that still does not account for other chromosomal arrangements that appear naturally, though less frequently, in nature, such as X, Y, XXY, XXYY, XXX, XXXX and XXXXX. You can also have people with XX chromosomes who physically present as male (XX males) or vice versa (XY females).
For a starting reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/
Humans, as well as some other organisms, can have a chromosomal arrangement that is contrary to their phenotypic sex; for example, XX males or XY females (see androgen insensitivity syndrome). Additionally, an abnormal number of sexchromosomes (aneuploidy) may be present, such as Turner’s syndrome, in which a single X chromosome is present, and Klinefelter’s syndrome, in which two X chromosomes and a Y chromosome are present, XYY syndrome and XXYY syndrome. Other less common chromosomal arrangements include: triple X syndrome, 48, XXXX, and 49, XXXXX.
You can not simply dismiss these less-common genetic combinations as “not counting” because they don’t fit into the commonly held oversimplification of human sexuality. Even classifying them as abnormal, disorders or mutations does not remove the fact that they exist and are deserving of consideration in an overall view of sexuality and genetics.
Nature also creates Chimeras and Mosaics, which are individuals with multiple sets of DNA in different parts of their bodies. Examples include the case of a Human Male+Female Chimera, strikingly obvious as well as common naturally occurring chimeras and mosaic that you probably never knew, such as calico and tortoiseshell cats (such as this rare male tortoiseshell calico cat) and almost any twin cattle has some mixing of two different sets of DNA, the most apparent version being Freemartins.
If you are a woman who has been pregnant, you may now be a chimera as well, as male DNA (from fetal cells) have been repeatedly found in women’s bodies after pregnancy.
If you have received an organ transplant, you are now a chimera, as you have both your own original DNA and the DNA of the donated organ as part of your body.
The most striking form of chimera is the Bilateral Gynandromorph, which displays it’s obvious male and female attributes right down the middle.
To even further complicate things, there is also asexual reproduction, which, being neither male nor female, could be considered a third sex (not-male and not-female).
There is also so recent research that there may be other sexes in more complex social insect societies: A major evolutionary transition to more than two sexes?
And here’s a seven-sexed organism: Zoologger: The hairy beast with seven fuzzy sexes. Its seven sexes are rather prosaically named I, II, III, IV, V, VI and VII. An individual of a given sex can mate with individuals of any except its own, so there are 21 possible sexual orientations.
There is also a fungus with over 28,000 sexes.
There are a number of animals which exhibit both male and female traits, contain both sets of genitals and a number of animals can completely change to the opposite sex depending on environmental conditions.
Gender: Not just Sex
I am using the definition of Gender as shown on Wikipedia:
Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex (i.e. the state of being male, female or an intersex variation which may complicate sex assignment), sex-based social structures (including gender roles and other social roles), or gender identity. Some cultures have specific gender roles that can be considered distinct from male and female, such as the hijra (chhaka) of India and Pakistan.
This definition of Gender is frequently used in scholarly work, as a Google Scholar search for “gender vs sex” will demonstrate.
nationalgeographic.com/2013/ 09/22/7-gender-bending- animals/
photos-of-animals-that-prove- theres-nothing-natural-about- traditional-gender-roles
Search around for “multiple sexes” and similar keywords for more, if you’re interested.
And now back to the original post…
Due to different combinations of Male and Female attributes, people tend to naturally gravitate to using either Yin or Yang energy depending on their gender. However, “gender” is a much broader array of attributes than most people realize. Through the practice and use of using both Yin and Yang energies, you can increase the power and flexibility of your magical workings.
Much conflict in modern social development is centered around the concept of there being two genders and that “allowed” combinations of those two. If there were more than just two genders, this conflict would not be nearly as polarized as it is today.
Well, you’re in luck, because I say there are a lot more than two genders. I say that even in a fairly simple system of identifying genders, there are at least Sixty-Three (63) gender combinations.
Because gender is more specific than simply the genitalia attached to your body, which is normally referred to define your “sex”,
To examine Gender (as opposed to Sex) I use a more specific definition than is typically used. Gender is broken down into three aspects based on the Physical, Personality and Preferences that the individual person exhibits. Each of these categories is then further broken down into three options: Male, Female and Androgynous. From these combinations of attributes, a person’s gender can be identified with much more precision than previously available.
The Physical aspect is the most obvious: The typical Male body, the typical Female body, and the Androgynous body, which may display a fairly even mix of attributes of both Male and Female physical genders.
An Androgynous physical aspect is, in its most extreme form the Intersexual (the new preferred term for “Hermaphrodite”), which has both male and female genitalia, and in its other extreme as a person with no genitalia at all. In its most common form, it is a person with either male or female genitalia that is not easily distinguishable as being either male or female without intense scrutiny. If you look at someone and can’t tell if they’re male or female, that is a Physically Androgynous person. There are also rare cases of people born with either both male and female genitalia or none at all. These would also be classified under the Androgynous physical aspect. An Androgynous physical attribute is now often referred to as being “Intersexual”.
The Personality aspect is descriptive of their typical behavior in life, either typically male pursuits (Male Personality) and interests, typically female ones (Female Personality) , or an unusually even mix of both (Androgynous Personality).
The Preference aspect is descriptive of is how they express themselves emotionally, romantically, and/or sexually. Specifically, are they sexually and/or emotionally attracted to men, women or both (or possibly neither).
Phys = Physical Aspect, Pers= Personality Aspect, Pref = Preference Aspect
M = Male, having male reproductive organs/genitalia
F = Female, having female reproductive organs/genitalia
H = Hermaphrodite (Intersexual) having both or neither male and female reproductive organs/genitalia
AS = Asexual / Non-sexual (not shown on this chart)
A = Androgynous, near-equivalent traits of male and female
AM / Andromale = Physically Androgynous w/ Male Genitalia
AF / Androfemale = Physically Androgynous w/ Female Genitalia
HA / Androdite = Physically Androgynous Hermaphrodite
HM / Hermaphromale = Hermaphrodite with Male features / appearance
HF / Hermaphrofemale = Hermaphrodite with Female features / appearance
Masculine = “Typically” Male, as determined by the surrounding culture
Feminine = “Typically” Female, as determined by the surrounding culture
Androgine = Exhibits Androgynous Behavior (Equally Male and Female), as determined by the surrounding culture
|1||M||M||M||Masculine Homosexual Man|
|2||M||M||F||Masculine Heterosexual Man|
|3||M||M||A||Masculine Bisexual Man|
|4||M||F||M||Feminine Homosexual Man|
|5||M||F||F||Feminine Heterosexual Man|
|6||M||F||A||Feminine Bisexual Man|
|7||M||A||M||Androgine Homosexual Man|
|8||M||A||F||Androgine Heterosexual Man|
|9||M||A||A||Androgine Bisexual Man|
|10||F||M||M||Masculine Heterosexual Woman|
|11||F||M||F||Masculine Homosexual Woman|
|12||F||M||A||Masculine Bisexual Woman|
|13||F||F||M||Feminine Heterosexual Woman|
|14||F||F||F||Feminine Homosexual Woman|
|15||F||F||A||Feminine Bisexual Woman|
|16||F||A||M||Androgine Heterosexual Woman|
|17||F||A||F||Androgine Homosexual Woman|
|18||F||A||A||Androgine Bisexual Woman|
|M||M||Masculine Homosexual Andromale
Masculine Heterosexual Androfemale
Masculine Male-Attracted Androdite
Masculine Male-Attracted Hermaphromale
Masculine Male-Attracted Hermaphrofemale
|M||F||Masculine Heterosexual Andromale
Masculine Homosexual Androfemale
Masculine Female-Attracted Androdite
Masculine Female-Attracted Hermaphromale
Masculine Female-Attracted Hermaphrofemale
|M||A||Masculine Bisexual Andromale
Masculine Bisexual Androfemale
Masculine Bisexual Androdite
Masculine Bisexual Hermaphromale
Masculine Bisexual Hermaphrofemale
|F||M||Feminine Homosexual Andromale
Feminine Heterosexual Androfemale
Feminine Male-Attracted Androdite
Feminine Male-Attracted Hermaphromale
Feminine Male-Attracted Hermaphrofemale
|F||F||Feminine Heterosexual Andromale
Feminine Homosexual Androfemale
Feminine Female-Attracted Androdite
Feminine Female-Attracted Hermaphromale
Feminine Female-Attracted Hermaphrofemale
|F||A||Feminine Bisexual Andromale
Feminine Bisexual Androfemale
Feminine Bisexual Androdite
Feminine Bisexual Hermaphromale
Feminine Bisexual Hermaphrofemale
|A||M||Androgine Homosexual Andromale
Androgine Heterosexual Androfemale
Androgine Male-Attracted Androdite
Androgine Male-Attracted Hermaphromale
Androgine Male-Attracted Hermaphrofemale
|A||F||Androgine Heterosexual Andromale
Androgine Homosexual Androfemale
Androgine Female-Attracted Androdite
Androgine Female-Attracted Hermaphromale
Androgine Female-Attracted Hermaphrofemale
|A||A||Androgine Bisexual Andromale
Androgine Bisexual Androfemale
Androgine Bisexual Androdite
Androgine Bisexual Hermaphromale
Androgine Bisexual Hermaphrofemale
This is the simplest and most “accessible” version of the Gender categories as I have broken it down. However, there are some expansions that would make it more complete, but would lose some value in the added complexity.
I will be putting up a another chart in the future that will include an additional “asexual” category. I have not been able to find any examples of asexuality in human physicality, personality, though a complete lack of attraction to others may constitute an asexual personality type.
Additionally, the Preferences category is simplified, including only options for Male, Female and Androgenous. To be complete, I would also break out the Preference category to have separate options for each of the 63 genders defined (any gender may be attracted to any other gender). However, this would end up with a chart with nearly 4000 genders, which, while technically accurate and complete, would be rather large for this page. If I get time, I will write a program to list all 4000 or so of them, but as I have written this page by hand, I’m not going to break them out myself manually (yet).
As you can see, this view of Gender provides much more flexibility in providing labels (when you want to use them). It also illustrates that there is a gender diversity, even within the typical view of “two genders”. It is my hope that this might help in some way making discrimination based on gender less of a problem. It is easy to discriminate when there are only two possible gender options in your world-view. However, when you consider that there are many more than that, it makes the whole idea of discrimination against one group or another a bit sillier and more arbitrary-seeming.