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What Does Bigender Mean?

November 22, 2023 Daniel Lyons

There are a lot of new words and concepts out there to describe one's gender identity or sexual orientation, and one of them is bigender. As our community continues to expand and evolve, we develop new language to describe our experiences and identities. You might not have heard of the term bigender before, and trust me, even as a queer person, it can be hard for me to keep up with all the identity words. Today, I want to talk about what bigender means. As a bigender person, I hope you find this helpful. 

The root word "bi" means two. Simply put, bigender means two genders, or some have described it as a "double" gender. Folks who are bigender identify as having more than one gender identity.1 To help you understand what this means, I thought I would describe more what bigender means to me and how I understand my own bigender identity today. It's important to remember that some bigender folks may understand their gender differently than me. I am just one person and do not speak for the entire community. 

What Bigender Means to Me 

As a bigender person, I identify as having both a masculine and a feminine spirit. My masculine self uses he/him pronouns, and my feminine self uses she/her pronouns. I also use the pronouns they/them to refer to myself as a whole. Both of these genders are present within me daily. In my day-to-day life and at work, I primarily express my masculine self. This is mostly for safety reasons and because I find it easiest at this stage of my life. 

I am also transgender and have gone through a medical transition, so I more easily pass as male most days. Some days, though, I feel like expressing one of my selves more prominently than the other. There are days when I feel more feminine and, therefore, dress differently and express "her" more prominently. In some Native American cultures, the way I identify would often be referred to as "two-spirit." However, because I am not Native, I do not use this word to self-identify. Some people in our community use this term to describe people with a gender identity like mine. 

A Bigender Identity Does Not Equal Gender Expression 

A lot of people confuse gender identity with gender expression. It's really important to understand the distinction between the two when talking about folks who are bigender. Bigender is my gender identity. It is how I identify on the inside, which is as both a masculine and feminine spirit. However, in terms of my gender expression, this is what I show outwardly. It's what I express to the world and has more to do with how I dress and express myself from day to day. Often, for safety reasons, I express my masculine spirit more. I have to feel very comfortable with someone and in a safe environment to feel more comfortable putting on a dress, red lipstick, and heels, for example. In my last relationship, I felt quite safe showing both of my gender expressions, so when we were together, my feminine spirit got much more air time. I also loved to raid her closet, and we often shared clothes, something that was really fun for me. 

Just because my masculine self gets expressed more often doesn't invalidate my feminine gender identity. For me, I lived as a woman for 32 years, and it felt important to give my masculine self time to be expressed outwardly. But as my masculine self feels more comfortable in the world, I increasingly feel comfortable expressing both sides of myself to those I trust and care about. I have started using all pronouns (he, she, and they), and I have started using a version of my birth name again, Whit, to be addressed when I am feeling more feminine on a given day. This is what bigender means to me; what does bigender mean to you?

Source

  1. Cnc, A. R. (2023, February 28). What does it mean to be bigender? Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-bigender-7112057
Tags: bigender

APA Reference
Lyons, D. (2023, November 22). What Does Bigender Mean?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 14 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/thelifelgbt/2023/11/what-does-bigender-mean



Author: Daniel Lyons

Daniel Lyons (they/he) is a writer and mental health therapist who is passionate about the intersections of gender, sexuality, and mental health, and he lives in Oakland, California, with his service dog Noche. Find Daniel on Instagram and Medium.

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