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bigender

[ bahy-jen-der ]
/ baɪˈdʒɛn dər /
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adjective
Also bi·gen·dered . noting or relating to a person who has two gender identities or some combination of both.
noun
a person who is bigender.
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Origin of bigender

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

ABOUT THIS WORD

What does bigender mean?

Bigender refers to a person who has two gender identities or a combination of two gender identities (e.g., identifying as both male and female or identifying as agender and female).

It’s not to be confused with bisexuality, where a person experiences romantic, emotional, or sexual attraction to two genders.

Where did the term bigender come from?

Before its use in the LGBTQ community, bigender was an early 20th-century biological term for plants that possess both male and female reproductive parts.

The term evolved to refer to something suitable for both male and female genders (e.g., bigender college dorms, where men and women will live on the same floor).

Bigender was applied to gender identity as early as the 1970s. That said, the concept of bigender long predates the term, as exemplified by the Native American concept of Two Spirits–a person embodying both male and females identities.

In 1999, the San Francisco Department of Public Health conducted a survey of transgender individuals, finding that 3% of the people assigned a male gender at birth consider themselves bigender, and 8% of those assigned female at birth identified as bigender.

The term bigender spread in the 1990s and 2000s with the increasing awareness and visibility of nonbinary gender identities, especially through the LGBTQ community online. In 2014, many social-media platforms began to acknowledge different gender identities, with platforms like Facebook and OKCupid allowing people to select bigender for their profiles.

Individuals who identify as bigender tend to not be considered gender-fluid, which is a nonbinary identity where a person is a non-fixed range of gender identities. Some individuals may experience three gender identities, or trigender.

How to use the term bigender

Bigender or bigendered can describe a person who identifies as two genders. Bigender is especially used of or by people who identify as both male and female, though it may include other gender identities as well.

It is considered a nonbinary gender identity and is proudly used as a self-identifier.

Bigender individuals may use the term in a range of contexts, from dealing with masculine and feminine wardrobes (gender expression) to topics of self-exploration, coming out, and harassment.

More examples of bigender:

“Bigender people may feel male one day and female the next. The identification is different for each person as some may live for years with one gender and suddenly switch to the other. Everyone can do it their own way. I identify mentally, spiritually, and emotionally as female, and only physically as a male. My gender expression, which is different from gender itself, is feminine in both cases.”
—Buffy Flores, Pride, April 2016

Note

This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

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