Is Gender A Spectrum?

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So I recently came across a video where  Internet famous journalist Lauren Southern got into an argument with a group of feminists, and said “sorry guy, but there are only two genders.” Moments later, she was drenched in liquid by one of the feminists, who seemed to have taken offense at her statement. This video got me thinking.

 

According to some people, one is either male or female because science doesn't recognize any gender other than these. They claim  that just because one strays a little from the traditional norms of masculinity or femininity, it doesn’t make them another gender, it just makes them one of the two genders with a few distinctions. 

 

On the other hand, there are people who claim that gender is whatever you identify as. They say that gender is a spectrum and people are free to choose their gender and put themselves in the bracket of whatever gender they feel comfortable in. Almost 300 genders have been coined till date and the list continues to grow. 

 

Many a time on this website, I've seen members complaining about the lack of options in the gender department as they feel the particular gender they belong to hasn't been added to the list. While I understand their problem, I'd like to know from the other members what they think of the issue?

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I personally don't know how to explain how I view gender other than there are more than two and that being physically male or female can be entirely different from the gender you express. This is also backed by the American Psychological Association who have studied and concluded that physical sex does not equal gender. Also that Gender Dysphoria (Depression caused by your gender and sex disagreeing with each other) is actually a real, recognized mental condition curable only by making the transition to the gender that your feelings agree with.

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Recent scientific developments point towards there being a spectrum, but more studies need to be done to determine the breadth of it.

 

I agree with the article, thank you for sharing it here. But I am also for the thought that more studies need to be done for us to fully understand the range of gender as a spectrum.

 

 

Here is the Complete List of Tumblr Genders (SO FAR)

 

I could have posted it here but then it would have made for a ginormous post.  

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I try not to be salty about much in life, regardless of how ridiculous it is. These genders are interesting for me to learn and read about, even though I don't consider myself to be anything other than a male.

I don't like how rude some of the non-conformng gender people can be but there are rude people in every group, and they always speak the loudest.

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So I recently came across a video where  Internet famous journalist Lauren Southern got into an argument with a group of feminists, and said “sorry guy, but there are only two genders.” Moments later, she was drenched in liquid by one of the feminists, who seemed to have taken offense at her statement. This video got me thinking.

 

 

 

Its no wonder feminists have such a bad press when some of them are doing stuff like that.

If you throw liquid on someone, you are admitting you cant actually respond with rational arguments so you are resorting to childish tantrums to silence and embarrass your opponent.

 

 

 

My general reaction to the gender thing is that as long as I dont have to do anything then people can do or be whatever you like.

 

Get your cock and balls replaced with bees, have your fanny removed and replaced with a nutribullet pro juicer, have your tits modified so you lactate high octane race fuel.  I dont care.

Just dont ask me to do anything or telepathically know what name im supposed to refer to you as.

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Do we know enough about how biological sex impacts neurotypical psychology to have a working definition of masculine and feminine behavior that is separate from culture?

By the standards of modern American culture, I am a fairly feminine man, but in a different cultural context, many of my feminine(again, by Modern American Standards) qualities would be seen as quite masculine. To be rather blunt, one culture's sissy is another culture's gentleman. And let's not forget that pink was once see as pale red, the color of bloodshed, and thus deemed a masculine color while blue was once deemed quite feminine due to its association with the virgin Mary.

Though, conflation of psychological gender with personality does sound like another aspect that muddies the waters.

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Do we know enough about how biological sex impacts neurotypical psychology to have a working definition of masculine and feminine behavior that is separate from culture?

By the standards of modern American culture, I am a fairly feminine man, but in a different cultural context, many of my feminine(again, by Modern American Standards) qualities would be seen as quite masculine. To be rather blunt, one culture's sissy is another culture's gentleman. And let's not forget that pink was once see as pale red, the color of bloodshed, and thus deemed a masculine color while blue was once deemed quite feminine due to its association with the virgin Mary.

Though, conflation of psychological gender with personality does sound like another aspect that muddies the waters.

 

I don't quite understand what you're getting at. Gender by definition is the cultural/sociological connotations of being male or female. So if its separate from culture like you mention, in a way its not actually gender. Its important for these types of things that we're aware of the definition of gender (which still stands and has not really changed in regards to sociological experts that study these things) and work with it. Once we lose sight of that, this entire question or debate goes right out the window.

 

The article above deals mostly with sexes and the science of such, which are almost irrelevant to the state of being a gender by the articles own admission. Assigned parts =/= gender. Sex differences =/= Gender differences. Treating them as the same is an equivocation that doesn't stand. And none of it, even the parts that ARE relevant, disqualify anyone from being male or female. When one examines my example from earlier, they can see Male and Female aren't just a straight down the middle clear-cut bifurcation, you can be a male with many a feminine aspect or a female with many a masculine aspect, these do not disqualify you from being Male or Female.

 

Meanwhile the second article, that "list" is almost entirely hogwash. I went from raising an eyebrow, to laughing, to being almost offended.

 

Every gender on that list can either fit under the working definition of gender (i.e male or female), or is not even REMOTELY connected to the definition of gender, rather ones personality, and like I said in my initial post, gender and personality are not the same thing, and for some reason, wherever it started, a lot of people seem to get the line between them very fuzzed up needlessly.

 

For example, Autigender- A gender which can only be understood in the context of being autistic.

 

Straight from the list. As someone who is on the autism spectrum, this horrifies me and makes me laugh at the same time.

Say it with me folks. Autism is not a gender. Autism is not a gender. Autism is not a gender.

 

I hope you said it out loud with me.

 

Anywho when looking at one of these things, if there's any confusion, refer to my initial line example.

 

Does it disqualify them from being male or/and female?

 

If not, they are male or/and female, or possibly neutral. No need for new "labels" or inventing new genders.

 

If it DOES disqualify them, then it is not a gender. It is an aspect of personality that has nothing to do with the state of being male or female in a cultural/sociological context.

 

A simple yes or no question to assist in all of your gender needs!

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I don't quite understand what you're getting at. Gender by definition is the cultural/sociological connotations of being male or female. So if its separate from culture like you mention, in a way its not actually gender. Its important for these types of things that we're aware of the definition of gender (which still stands and has not really changed in regards to sociological experts that study these things) and work with it. Once we lose sight of that, this entire question or debate goes right out the window.

 

The article above deals mostly with sexes and the science of such, which are almost irrelevant to the state of being a gender by the articles own admission. Assigned parts =/= gender. Sex differences =/= Gender differences. Treating them as the same is an equivocation that doesn't stand. And none of it, even the parts that ARE relevant, disqualify anyone from being male or female. When one examines my example from earlier, they can see Male and Female aren't just a straight down the middle clear-cut bifurcation, you can be a male with many a feminine aspect or a female with many a masculine aspect, these do not disqualify you from being Male or Female.

 

Meanwhile the second article, that "list" is almost entirely hogwash. I went from raising an eyebrow, to laughing, to being almost offended.

 

Every gender on that list can either fit under the working definition of gender (i.e male or female), or is not even REMOTELY connected to the definition of gender, rather ones personality, and like I said in my initial post, gender and personality are not the same thing, and for some reason, wherever it started, a lot of people seem to get the line between them very fuzzed up needlessly.

 

For example, Autigender- A gender which can only be understood in the context of being autistic.

 

Straight from the list. As someone who is on the autism spectrum, this horrifies me and makes me laugh at the same time.

Say it with me folks. Autism is not a gender. Autism is not a gender. Autism is not a gender.

 

I hope you said it out loud with me.

 

Anywho when looking at one of these things, if there's any confusion, refer to my initial line example.

 

Does it disqualify them from being male or/and female?

 

If not, they are male or/and female, or possibly neutral. No need for new "labels" or inventing new genders.

 

If it DOES disqualify them, then it is not a gender. It is an aspect of personality that has nothing to do with the state of being male or female in a cultural/sociological context.

 

A simple yes or no question to assist in all of your gender needs!

 

However, Sex by definition is merely the aspects of Physical appearance, that is male or female. But gender is defined as whether you feel/think more masculine or feminine and with this everyone has their own varying degrees. You can find info on this with a little surfing on another forum I frequent: www.asexuality.org

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However, Sex by definition is merely the aspects of Physical appearance, that is male or female.

I thought sex was determined by XX or XY chromosomes, since physical appearance can be altered it wouldn't change the sex.

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However, Sex by definition is merely the aspects of Physical appearance, that is male or female. But gender is defined as whether you feel/think more masculine or feminine and with this everyone has their own varying degrees. You can find info on this with a little surfing on another forum I frequent: www.asexuality.org

 

I addressed this exact thing in my initial post o.o

 

Varying degrees still fall under male or female, give a look at my line example.

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I thought sex was determined by XX or XY chromosomes, since physical appearance can be altered it wouldn't change the sex.

 

I was just giving a very basic definition, by physical I didn't mean wearing a dress or a tux, I meant like having a penis versus having a vagina, that has an aspect too. and while chromosomes can't be changed, the hormones and sexual organs made by it can.

I thought sex was determined by XX or XY chromosomes, since physical appearance can be altered it wouldn't change the sex.

 

I was just giving a very basic definition, by physical I didn't mean wearing a dress or a tux, I meant like having a penis versus having a vagina, that has an aspect too. and while chromosomes can't be changed, the hormones and sexual organs made by it can.

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I meant like having a penis versus having a vagina, 

This is also what I meant.

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This is also what I meant.

 

Ah ok, I just wanted to be sure. But anyway yeah, chromosomes also have to do with sex, but then it gets complicated for me to explain, but I do know that gender =/= sex by their definition.

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I suppose part of what I was trying to say in my previous post has to deal with nature versus nurture.

Best I can tell, much of what makes up the concept of masculine versus feminine seems to be a cultural construct, a set of learned behaviors that vary from one place and time to another, sometimes drastically enough that someone from one culture would experience gender dissonance if dropped in another culture.

The question is, are their instinctual behaviors that, due to differing brain structure, neuro-chemistry, sex hormones, etc., are more likely to be present in a human female versus a human male or vice versa? Has there even been mainstream psychological research conducted that tries to isolate such an instinctual gender from the cultural construct of gender?

In other words, are their behaviors that are inherently male or female rather than simply being labeled as such by a given culture?

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I don't consider it a spectrum at all. Moreso I think people who see it as a spectrum look at "Male" and "Female" waaaay too narrowly. You can be an effeminate male. You can be a female and have masculine aspects (I.E Tomboys). You can be lots of things in between of various leanings and combinations, but it doesn't make you not male or female. Gender has a working definition and it can all fall under one or the other, really. The only other one I'm willing to accept without debate is Agender. The way gender should be looked at, or at least the way I look at it is like such.

 

 

Female |----------|----------| Male

 

If you're on the left side of the line but close to the center you could identify as a masculine female. This is still a form of being female, it doesnt need a new label. Same with being in any spot on the right side of the center line. In this way it actually IS a sort of spectrum when you think of it, but it all for the most part fits on the line. This also being the reason I'm willing to accept AGender, because like any array there is definitely a true neutral or two somewhere in the mix. Maybe even bigender, as I know some people might fit on different parts of this line different days, I know one person irl who is as such.

 

But taking it further and claiming it goes beyond this, I believe is getting gender mixed up with say, aspects of personality. Gender is not personality. The line can be blurred sometimes given gender is the social context of this sort of thing, but its important to know which side is personality and which is gender. I think that's the issue far too many people seem to be faced with, especially on places like Tumblr.

 

(Fun fact about me, years ago I spent too much time on tumblr and made some friends who weren't very good for me (Ironically, the "social justice" sect of tumblr is literally the most unwelcoming and hateful part of the internet I have ever stepped into, let alone been a part of), and these people managed to convince me I was actually a transgender male based on the fact that I was a tomboy, and if not that I was some other "gender". This lead to me identifying as a man for a bit and as such becoming very confused and very depressed due to said confusion and discomfort, but these were my friends and wouldn't lie to me right? According to them, this is how it was. Eventually I came to my senses and said to hell with it and started looking at things more logically and since realizing this blurred line issue, have ended up much more comfortable with myself as a person.)

 

But yes, the "they" you're referring to are either mixing up gender and personality, or for some reason are mixing the two together, both of which are not part of the working recognized definition of gender, which can literally envelop all of these anyway if you look at gender like my line example.

 

You said "I don't see it as a spectrum at all" and then you described a spectrum from feminine women through masculine women, feminine men and masculine men. Talk about contradicting yourself!

 

Some cultures do recognize a "third sex" which is seen as something other than male or female. If we define "gender" as a social construct, such a thing is totally possible. But ours is not such a culture.

 

I'm not sure how people who vacillate between the poles fit into your neat little category. Gender identity is such a personal thing, and if some societies are able to recognize a "third gender", I suppose it's possible for an individual to do so as well. Although things get murky very quickly when you divorce gender and sex. What qualifies as a gender and what part is just personal idiosyncracy? I don't think it's necessarily as clear-cut as you make it out to be, but neither is "locomotivegender" or whatever anything but meaningless hogwash.

 

As for tumblr, I fucking hate that overzealous social justice warriors have become synonymous with the platform. I've been on tumblr since its inception and was never part of that culture, which didn't even exist when I joined. But if I say "yeah I'm on tumblr" now, that's what people will think.

 

 

I suppose part of what I was trying to say in my previous post has to deal with nature versus nurture.

Best I can tell, much of what makes up the concept of masculine versus feminine seems to be a cultural construct, a set of learned behaviors that vary from one place and time to another, sometimes drastically enough that someone from one culture would experience gender dissonance if dropped in another culture.

The question is, are their instinctual behaviors that, due to differing brain structure, neuro-chemistry, sex hormones, etc., are more likely to be present in a human female versus a human male or vice versa? Has there even been mainstream psychological research conducted that tries to isolate such an instinctual gender from the cultural construct of gender?

In other words, are their behaviors that are inherently male or female rather than simply being labeled as such by a given culture?

 

Sure. Men take more risks than women, for instance. That's a trait observed all over the world. There are also no cultures where men are expected to spend more time with children than women, as far as I know, while the opposite is arguably true even today in our culture. There's lots more.

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You said "I don't see it as a spectrum at all" and then you described a spectrum from feminine women through masculine women, feminine men and masculine men. Talk about contradicting yourself!

 

Some cultures do recognize a "third sex" which is seen as something other than male or female. If we define "gender" as a social construct, such a thing is totally possible. But ours is not such a culture.

 

I'm not sure how people who vacillate between the poles fit into your neat little category. Gender identity is such a personal thing, and if some societies are able to recognize a "third gender", I suppose it's possible for an individual to do so as well. Although things get murky very quickly when you divorce gender and sex. What qualifies as a gender and what part is just personal idiosyncracy? I don't think it's necessarily as clear-cut as you make it out to be, but neither is "locomotivegender" or whatever anything but meaningless hogwash.

Equivocation there mate, same word used in two different ways. What the OP meant by spectrum is what I was denouncing, as well as the massive list of things that are most certainly not gender, I was not referring to the line I used which you could apply the word spectrum to, but I was referring to something totally different. (A good example of such would be like, you could apply the word "rights" to a company having intellectual property rights, and me having personal property rights. Both can fall under the word rights, but are two totally different things. I see what you're getting at, but no I did not contradict myself.)

 

Meanwhile gender is to some degree a social construct by definition, being the social or cultural state of being male or female, so when you get into what it actually is instead of what people try to make it to be nowadays, you can take modern-day examples, like say Genderfluid for example, and realize it can still fall under either category, a true neutral, or even under both, barring need for more than the two.

 

The social and cultural context are what divorces it from sex so neatly, but people tend to take it too far and assign personality archetypes to it and create new labels that do not need to be created. I can't speak for certain peoples, for example I'm sure there's some tribe in new guinea or somewhere that could have a third sex, or in our culture what might be referred to as a third gender. But such peoples likely have a very different meaning of gender, or it might not even be a meaning of gender at all. In first world areas such as North American countries, It is fairly clear cut. "Some societies" are not our society. That again would be a sort of equivocation, taking one societies meaning of the word (if they even use the same word), and an entirely different societies meaning of the word, and treating them as the same thing when they are factually not. In some tribe somewhere, I might come to find that in their culture I'm some word I can't even pronounce! But as far as gender as OUR society goes, I am a female. One with many masculine sociological traits, but that doesn't make me a third gender, I'm just a female with some masculine traits.  If it disqualifies you from either/or in our society, it is not your gender, it is some other sociological self-identifying trait. Identifying with clouds isn't a gender, its a part of your personality that likens itself to clouds. And there's nothing wrong with that!

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Equivocation there mate, same word used in two different ways. What the OP meant by spectrum is what I was denouncing, as well as the massive list of things that are most certainly not gender, I was not referring to the line I used which you could apply the word spectrum to, but I was referring to something totally different. (A good example of such would be like, you could apply the word "rights" to a company having intellectual property rights, and me having personal property rights. Both can fall under the word rights, but are two totally different things. I see what you're getting at, but no I did not contradict myself.)

 

Meanwhile gender is to some degree a social construct by definition, being the social or cultural state of being male or female, so when you get into what it actually is instead of what people try to make it to be nowadays, you can take modern-day examples, like say Genderfluid for example, and realize it can still fall under either category, a true neutral, or even under both, barring need for more than the two.

 

The social and cultural context are what divorces it from sex so neatly, but people tend to take it too far and assign personality archetypes to it and create new labels that do not need to be created. I can't speak for certain peoples, for example I'm sure there's some tribe in new guinea or somewhere that could have a third sex, or in our culture what might be referred to as a third gender. But such peoples likely have a very different meaning of gender, or it might not even be a meaning of gender at all. In first world areas such as North American countries, It is fairly clear cut. "Some societies" are not our society. That again would be a sort of equivocation, taking one societies meaning of the word (if they even use the same word), and an entirely different societies meaning of the word, and treating them as the same thing when they are factually not. In some tribe somewhere, I might come to find that in their culture I'm some word I can't even pronounce! But as far as gender as OUR society goes, I am a female. One with many masculine sociological traits, but that doesn't make me a third gender, I'm just a female with some masculine traits.  If it disqualifies you from either/or in our society, it is not your gender, it is some other sociological self-identifying trait. Identifying with clouds isn't a gender, its a part of your personality that likens itself to clouds. And there's nothing wrong with that!

 

I have no idea what sort of spectrum you're referring to, if not the standard meaning of spectrum, to which your example applies.

 

You on the other hand are equivocating gender roles and gender identity, which is the distinction between the role you perform and are associated with in society, and your inner sense of identification. And if some societies can identify a "third sex" then surely some individuals in our society can identify with a "third sex" as well, even if that isn't recognized by society.

 

What you are or are not is surely none of my concern, just like what someone else is or isn't, in their own head, is none of yours. I do agree with you that tumblr broskis take it too far, but that doesn't mean everyone has to identify with a specific point on your neat spectrum. (said the masculine male)

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Like I've said probably three times now, the spectrum to which OP is referring to. I.e the broad apparent 300+ of them.
 

 

And again, a third sex there could be something entirely different here. A third sex there could be a tomboy for all we know, or an Agender, which still fits into our definition of gender here. Comparing one culture's version of something to a different cultures, again doesn't hold up. A gender here and a gender there could be apples and oranges. Similarly related by category but incredibly different by comparison.

 

Meanwhile, I'm not equivocating at all. The two things are quite closely related, and both related to the definition of gender, which still holds up in light of both. Could be biologically a female, but identify as a male. Gender identity isn't the most complicated thing in the world. Meanwhile gender roles are very closely related to the definition of gender, being partially the basis for the sociological and cultural meaning of gender. One can even say one shapes the other, gender roles potentially being the basis for what one identifies oneself as. Which in turn could tie in with Jeffery's question earlier, actually.

 

Regardless, its questionable if this even has any relevancy to the argument at hand.

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Sex is discrete, gender is continuous: you are born with certain reproductive parts - that is your sex, period. Changing your parts will not change your chromosomes. Gender - or how you identify yourself sexually - is based on many factors, such as innate sensibilities, your environment, and the way you're brought up, all at varying degrees. It is most certainly a spectrum because there is no set number of states regarding human emotions and desires.

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Given the scale, I feel there should be a point in the middle where the two directly overlap. It's not always "male" or "female". With some people, it's a bit of both. And there is also a fair bit of vacillation for some, in that some days they feel masculine and others they feel feminine. But, despite the way you're describing it, your scale works as a model for a continuum of gender, and you're being picky about labels. I say this: let people call themselves what they wish if it makes them happy. Denying that is just being petty.

 

Also, autism is complicated, so I wouldn't touch it. There may very well be a unique concept of gender through some people with autism. I wouldn't know that, being someone who has not had this experience. 

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Given the scale, I feel there should be a point in the middle where the two directly overlap. It's not always "male" or "female". With some people, it's a bit of both. And there is also a fair bit of vacillation for some, in that some days they feel masculine and others they feel feminine. But, despite the way you're describing it, your scale works as a model for a continuum of gender, and you're being picky about labels. I say this: let people call themselves what they wish if it makes them happy. Denying that is just being petty.

 

Also, autism is complicated, so I wouldn't touch it. There may very well be a unique concept of gender through some people with autism. I wouldn't know that, being someone who has not had this experience. 

I directly reference Agender and Bigender in my posts. The issue is the vast majority of these labels apply to something that isn't gender. If it does apply, than it can be referred to as Male, Female, Neither/Both anyway. You know, the meaning of gender that we've had, and still have, through many many years of study by the experts in said field. There's a reason the definition hasn't changed in light of any of these. There's a difference between being petty and just being factually correct in the case of denying things that just don't exist. I can call my gender a wizard, it doesn't make me a wizard. Such a thing does not exist, for it is an aspect of personality and not gender. Again, this is a distinction that many people need to make.

 

As someone on the autism spectrum, with many autistic friends and in depth knowledge on it due to research and my mother's own profession in child care of disabled children: No.

I will scream it to the heavens. Autism is not a gender.

Nothing in being autistic even remotely connects to gender.

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I was aware that you referenced agender, but I missed the bit on bigender. Gotcha. The definition of gender had been changed, however, in the sense that it has been acknowledged as an entity that is separate from biological sex. There has already been discussion of gender being a social construct, so I'm not explaining that issue. Also, the experts in the field are a mess when it comes to gender identity. In the DSM, for example, they explicitly state that they are divorcing the concepts of sex and gender, but they still mix it up. Gender is a deeply personal and complicated issue for many, myself included, and I feel that we should give people leeway in their self determination.

 

With regards to the wizard gender, I feel that it would be perfectly valid if what you were describing with it were a gender with some sort of fit into that spectrum of yours. It doesn't matter what we call it, so long as the concept we are describing is reliable and valid. It is the main reason I disagree with your argument: your spectrum will describe how people feel about themselves, they just have different names for thing. Should the names be codified? Yes. Does the codification have to fall strictly into the sex related categories that you named? Not necessarily.  

 

Don't presume to deny the experiences of others because you haven't had them. Autism, for example, is different for everybody with it if some people feel that their gender is muddled in the mix, I'm not going to argue. It's probably a very small proportion of people attempting to describe how they feel without having a proper word for it. 

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I'm pretty sure gender is typically male or female.

The difference comes in with personalities, since there is an infinite amount of them.

EDIT: of course the more I Google the more I come to doubt myself lol. The world's a strange and ever changing place I suppose.

Edited by Riptide101
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