It’s been almost 20 years since I came out as gay (I don’t like the word lesbian for some reason). Since then, it seems like there has been a significant change and increase in the terminology used to describe or categorize the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) community. Back in August of 2017, I decided to begin my studies for a Masters in Developmental Psychology. It seems pretty crazy since my life is busy all the time, but it seemed appropriate because of the needs of my children. My hope was and is, that I will learn enough to not only to better understand my children, but also help my children live their day to day lives more efficiently and more enjoyably.

This school session I am enrolled in a Gender course. Three weeks in and thus far it is extremely informative. The course text is from Vicki S. Helgeson and it is the 5th edition of Psychology of Gender (2017). And so the lingo that I have learned comes from this textbook.

Sex– This is a word that is often misused and confused with gender according to Helgeson (2017), and I have to agree. Oftentimes it is used interchangeably. But as explained by Helgeson (2017), sex is what makes an individual biologically male or female. When seen naked an individual either has a penis or a vagina. Historically, this was what determined one’s gender. However, sex does no longer defines one gender.

Gender– “refers to the social categories of male and female” (Helgeson, 2017 p3). Cultures and societies assign gender roles to males and females. An example of this would be a father that wrestles with his son to toughen him up, and plays with a tea set with his daughter. The same father would not wrestle with his daughter because this would be viewed as a “man sport”.

Gender role– In some cultures women must stay home and raise the children as well as take care of the house, while the males go out, work and bring home the money. These are the roles that I was raised with in my very Hispanic household. My dad would never be seen cooking or cleaning anything inside the house unless it was a task that was being performed to earn money.

Gender nonconforming– Are individuals that do not follow the typical gender roles that have been prescribed by cultures or society (Helgeson, 2017).

Gender identity or gender-role identity– Is how we perceive ourselves, whether it is male or female (Helgeson, 2017).

Cis-gender– These individual’s gender matches the sex with which they were born with. An individual with a vagina perceives themselves to be female, and one with a penis perceives themselves to be male (Helgeson, 2017).

Transgender– These individual’s sex does not match their gender (Helgeson, 2017). Peyton fits into this category (not that I like to label people). Peyton was born female but perceives himself to be male. He dresses like a boy, looks like a boy, and acts like a boy.

Transsexuals– Like transgender individuals, their sex does not match their gender. However, transsexuals go through procedures so that their sex and gender do match, think Caitlyn Jenner (Helgeson, 2017).

Gender fluid– These individuals do not follow any gender roles (Helgeson, 2017).

Gender hybrids– Are individuals that see themselves as both male and female (Helgeson, 2017).

Intersex– Are people that are born with both female and male genitals (Helgeson, 2017). Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is a common intersex condition (Helgeson, 2017).

Sexual orientation– Is not the same as gender identity but rather has to do with whom you prefer to have a sexual relationship with be it female or male (Helgeson, 2017).

Heterosexuals– In laymen terms would be straight people. Helgeson (2017) states, “prefer other-sex partners. (P 9)

Homosexuals– In laymen’s terms would be gay, lesbians and bisexuals. Helgeson (2017) describes them as individuals that “prefer same-sex partners”. (P 9)

Bisexuals– Individuals that form sexual relationships with those of the same-sex as they are or from the other-sex (Helgeson, 2017).

Sex typed– Males behave in a masculine manner while females behave in a feminine manner (Helgeson, 2017).

Cross-sex typed– Is “a male who acts feminine and a female who acts masculine” (Helgeson, 2017 p 9).

Androgynous– These individuals do not see themselves as female or as male but rather are a combination of both (Helgeson, 2017).

Gender-role attitude– Is our own individual perception of how another individual should behave, male or female.

Sexism– Is how we feel about “the sex category” (Helgeson, 2017 p 10).

Sex stereotype or gender-role stereotype– Little girls should have everything pink and little boys should have everything blue is a stereotype that fits into this category. Also, women are nurses and males are doctors is another gender stereotype (Helgeson, 2017).

Feminism– Basically means that everyone is equal regardless of their sex (Helgeson, 2017).

This list does not encompass all the terminology out there. Not past or present. It is merely meant to provide a general idea of some of the words associated with the population I discuss in my blog. Below I have referenced not only the Helgeson book but, I have also added the National Geographic 2017 issue which contains several gender articles, as well as the Time article from 2017.


Conant, E. (2017, Jan.). I am nine years old. National Geographic, 231(1), 30–47.

Helgeson, V. S. (2017). Psychology of gender (5th ed.) New York, NY: Taylor and Francis.

Steinmetz, K. (2017, March 27). A New Identity. Time Magazine, 189(11), 48-54.

I myself would identify as androgynous, or at least gender nonconforming. And I am raising a very strong, masculine boy that was born male, a female to male transgender boy that is still finding himself, and a little sassy princess born female that somehow wants everything pink. Only the tip of our eclectic family dynamics.







One thought on “Lingo

  1. Gender hybrid and androgynous sound like they are the same is there something that defines them a little different?


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