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This article is about a gender identification of people. For uses of language associated with gender, see Grammatical gender.
Not to be confused with third gender.

Trigenderism is a non-binary gender identity in which one shifts between or among the stereotypical behaviors of male, female, and a third gender (genderless, non-gender, polygender, a mix of male and female, or any other variety of genderqueer identities).[1][2][3]

Gender shifts[edit]

A trigender person may shift from one gender to another depending on the individual's mood or situation.[4] Someone who is also gender fluid may mix two or more genders at a time.[5] Trigender falls under the general category of genderqueer or androgyny, a gender identity that goes beyond the normal binary gender system (male and female) and tends to be a catch-all place for other gender identities.[4] It can also be seen as the equivalent cultures that recognize individuals to define their own sense of self.[6] North American Indians are one of several groups to recognize a tri-gender system where the term two-spirit is used to differentiate the intermediate gender role(s).

Trigenderism does not equate to dissociative identity disorder,[7] which is a mental illness where multiple personalities do not share memories. In most Western or European societies, straying outside the gender dichotomy is socially unacceptable.[6] Western influence and Carolus Linnaeus' work, which encouraged a categorization of life, has led to marginalization of those outside of the heteronormative realm.[8]

Gender is somewhat difficult to measure, leading to the common belief that sex and gender are the same.[9][10][11] Research by Diamond, Milton and Dick Swaab, shows that patterns in gender behavior, thoughts, and feelings can be identified in the brain.[12] Trigender individuals, much like bigender individuals, often feel the need to "present" themselves as the gender they feel like at the given time. Some days, they may present themselves as members of their birth-assigned sex by wearing clothing associated with that gender, and on others will attempt to pass as a cisgender member of the opposite sex, either to reduce gender dysphoria or simply to be perceived socially as the opposite sex. Sometimes, they will express themselves androgynously to avoid having to deal with complications of living as more than one gender. Some gender bend by consistently expressing more than one gender at a time. Bigender and trigender people must undergo the process of learning to live as female and male culturally if they choose to express other genders. The May 2010 issue of Scientific American Mind focused entirely on the social and biological constructs of gender expression and included a small, four-page article on how studying transsexuals can bring greater insight into this field of study.[13] The learning process of male and female cultural roles includes learning how to walk, talk, interact verbally and non-verbally, think, and behave.

Trigenderism is considered rare; presently, there is no cohesive community in which trigender individuals can share information, nor has there been a perceived need to study or address specific issues associated with trigenderism. For the most part, trigender people find their accommodations and needs the same as bigender people.[citation needed] As transgender children have started to get more media attention in the 1990s and 2000s, studies have tried to further understand transgender issues. Some university LGBTQ groups and alliances are increasingly finding their communities more gender fluid as well and less oriented towards traditional labels such as "gay", "bisexual", and "straight". The American Psychological Association and the University of California, San Franscisco both recognize bigender as a subset of the transgender community.[14][15] In the UK, "polygender" is a common term found on transgender websites, forums, and support groups, as well as at the Scottish Transgender Alliance.[16]

Sexual orientation[edit]

Regardless of current gender, trigender people's sexual orientation stays the same, as sexual orientation and gender are associated with independent neural mechanisms.[9][10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Leslie Feinberg, Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink Or Blue, page 53-4, Beacon Press, 1999, ISBN 0-8070-7951-0, ISBN 978-0-8070-7951-5.
  2. ^ Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, Pat Griffin, Teaching for diversity and social justice, page 224,CRC Press, 2007, ISBN 0-415-95200-X, 9780415952002.
  3. ^ Timothy F. Murphy, Reader's guide to lesbian and gay studies, Taylor & Francis, 2000, page 588, ISBN 1-57958-142-0, ISBN 978-1-57958-142-8.
  4. ^ a b Gilbert H. Herdt, Third sex, third gender: beyond sexual dimorphism in culture and history, Zone Books, 1996, ISBN 0-942299-82-5, ISBN 978-0-942299-82-3.
  5. ^ Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, "For the young, gender is fluid", Chicago Tribune, November 18, 2009.
  6. ^ a b Leslie Bentz, "The Neurobiology of Gender Bending", Bryn Mawr , 2005.
  7. ^ S.E. Smith, "Beyond the Binary: The Third Gender", 22 August 2010.
  8. ^ Stephen Marc Beaudoin, "And Another Barrier is Broken: Meet Silverton, Oregon’s Gender-Fluid, Trans-Identified Mayor-Elect, Stu Rasmussen", Just Out, November 6th, 2008.
  9. ^ a b Zhou, Jiang-Ning; Hofman, Michel A.; Gooren, Louis J. G.; Swaab, Dick F. (1995). "A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality". Nature 378 (6552): 68–70. doi:10.1038/378068a0. PMID 7477289. 
  10. ^ a b Kruijver, FP; Zhou, JN; Pool, CW; Hofman, MA; Gooren, LJ; Swaab, DF (2000). "Male-to-female transsexuals have female neuron numbers in a limbic nucleus". The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 85 (5): 2034–41. doi:10.1210/jc.85.5.2034. PMID 10843193. 
  11. ^ a b Gay men and heterosexual women have similarly shaped brains, research shows
  12. ^ Diamond, Milton (2006). "Biased-Interaction Theory of Psychosexual Development: "How Does One Know if One is Male or Female?"". Sex Roles 55 (9–10): 589. doi:10.1007/s11199-006-9115-y. 
  13. ^ May 2010 issue of Scientific American Mind
  14. ^ Schneider, M., et al.APA Task Force on Gender Identity, Gender Variance, and Intersex Conditions
  15. ^ UCSF The Transgender Community Health Project February 18, 1999.
  16. ^ Scottish Transgender Alliance

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trigender — Please support Wikipedia.
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111 news items

Indianapolis Star
Thu, 11 Jun 2015 07:31:36 -0700

We apparently need to accept that instead of just male and female genders, we also have non-binary genders that include people who are gender non-conforming, agender, neutrois, androgyne, bigender, trigender, pangender, third gender, gender-fluid, ...
Slate Magazine (blog)
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 07:01:25 -0700

Identifiers such as agender, bigender, trigender, neutrois, genderfluid, trans*, transmasculine, transfeminine, bear, butch, femme, boi, demiboy, demigirl, genderfree, androgyne, and others form a densely overlapping and ever-expanding thicket of ...

The Mary Sue

The Mary Sue
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 08:28:00 -0700

With increased visibility of the various gender permutations on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, it can be difficult for a well-meaning ally to keep up. Wait—there's a bigender AND a trigender? What does 'agender' even mean? And how is it that there's MTF and FTM ...

Chicago Reader

Chicago Reader
Wed, 10 Dec 2014 23:09:49 -0800

"Some folks are gender neutral, some are bigender, some are agender. Then there's pangender, genderless, genderfluid, genderqueer, gender nonconforming, gender questioning, and gender variant, as well as genderfuck, trigender, and intergender.".
dagblog (blog)
Sat, 11 Jul 2015 21:26:46 -0700

I kid you not, I have seen demiromantics, genderqueer, transgender, bigender, trigender, agendered individuals who say, 'use he/she/they/them/it/zir pronouns' and when people don't understand what they mean, they're called evil transphobic cis people.


Wed, 10 Dec 2014 00:11:28 -0800

Then there's pangender, genderless, genderfluid, and genderqueer. There's also gender-nonconforming, gender-questioning, gender-variant, as well as genderfuck, trigender, and intergender. (Who gets a hyphen and who doesn't? Who the fuck-knows?) ...

TV Equals

TV Equals
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 11:59:10 -0700

Trigender? What the what? Who knew things had gotten so complicated? In light of all that, Stan and Zinaida's reaction to “Tootsie” seems awfully quaint by comparison, to say the least. Not that there's anything wrong with any of that, mind you, but ...
Patheos (blog)
Sat, 03 May 2014 07:54:29 -0700

It should fit snugly amongst options — transgender, trigender, cisgender. In reality, “cis” is almost always a spat word, to the point that Dan Savage has referred to it as a slur against “non-trans” people. On the surface, the reason for a resentment ...

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