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• Gender is not necessarily a social construct, but it does necessarily exist. •

tldr

It seems to me that gender as a concept necessarily depends on the apparent existence & the perception of the apparent existence of one's own and others' gender identities, regardless of whether we are concerned with the gender identities of trans- or cisgender people in any particular case.

So far as I can tell, gender and gender identity are essential, natural, and fundamental parts of the perception of one's self and all others' selves. As a result of their definitional, societal, and/or personal association with one type of gender or another, some objects and activities and societal roles can be/are perceived as being inherently "gendered," similar to how I argue that we perceive humans as inherently having a "gender identity" and "gender."

One's perception of gender itself and one's perception of one's and others' gender identities can be accurate or inaccurate, legitimate or illegitimate, and held in good faith or held in bad faith, depending on one's knowledge & belief(s) regarding one's own and others' gender identities.

As far as I can see, scientifically speaking, it is not yet necessarily true that the definition of gender is dependent on the presumption that gender is "socially constructed." Also, scientifically speaking, it is not yet necessarily true that one's relative trans or cis status is dependent on whether or not one has experienced gender dysphoria. Yet these are the starting points for many people on different sides of the debate around what gender truly is.

I don't make any such claims here because I do not believe that there is necessarily sufficient evidence to do so. Instead, in the following section I attempt to define, pragmatically rather than ideologically, the following three terms: gender, gender identity, and the types of gender. That is, I attempt to rely solely on what appears to be self-evidently true about these terms, neurolinguistically (i.e., "logico-linguistically;" "existentially + epistemically") speaking, to my knowledge and from my point of view:

gender

the accurate, legitimate, and/or good faith & the inaccurate, illegitimate, and/or bad faith perception(s) of one's and others' gender identity/ties.
One's perception of gender, of one's and others' gender(s) (i.e, "type(s) of gender"), and of one's and others' gender identity/ties can change and/or can appear to change over time.

gender identity

the accurate, legitimate, and/or good faith perception and/or the inaccurate, illegitimate, and/or bad faith perception(s) of the particular gender (i.e., type of gender) that one perceives oneself as being, at any given moment in their life.
One's gender identity can change and/or can appear to change over time. But so far as I can tell, everyone has one, even when one's gender identity is "genderfluid" or "agender." So far as we are concerned, everyone's got a belly button. In the same way, so far as everyone seems to be concerned, everyone's got a gender identity. A gender1 that they actually do and/or seem to belong to.

the types of gender

An attempt at a description of all the members of the set of the types of gender:
1. female
2. male
3. nonbinary in some way, along a spectrum relative to male and female genders and not, including genderfluid and genderqueer genders.
4. agender in some way (no gender; non-gendered), if agender genders are fairly perceived as categorically separate from nonbinary genders.

  1. When I use the word "gender" in the sense of "type(s) of gender," this in no way means to imply that the term gender as I define it above is equivalent to the term type(s) of gender as I am about to define it below. These are meant to be fundamentally different terms. The word "gender" is conventionally used in English in many distinct/discrete senses and often in the same paragraph or sentence. I see no reason to deviate from this convention here.