Developmental and Biological Processes: Overview

The terms sex and gender are used interchangeably to categorize an individual as a female or a male. The definitions of “sex” and “gender” are actually quite complicated and at times unrelated—as biological sex does not always dictate gender. In simplest terms, sex refers to one’s physiological makeup (e.g., sex chromosomes, reproductive hormones, reproductive body parts), whereas gender is socialized by cultural expectations of sex-typical roles and behavior. People who identify with the sex they were assigned at birth (e.g., a man who was born with male reproductive parts) may be categorized as cisgender, whereas a transgender or gender nonconforming person is someone whose assigned birth sex does not match their gender identity.

In humans, sex can be defined by two fundamental components: (1) chromosomal ...

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