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Gender Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression

Gender orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are considered to be distinct but interrelated dimensions of gender. These are in contrast to sex, which is thought to include one’s anatomical makeup and assigned sex at birth. Although used interchangeably by some, gender and sex are not synonymous terms, and in many ways are considered antiquated ways of referring to people’s gender and sexual identities. Distinctions within the concept of gender, and the difference between the terms gender and sex, are best understood using a social constructionist lens. As such, this entry begins with a description of a social constructionist understanding of gender. Next, gender orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are defined in an effort to differentiate between the innate and the socially constructed elements ...

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