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Gender Expression

Gender expression is a mutable social portrayal of one’s self. For trans people, such a tool for self-portrayal can be critical to self-actualization and social communication. Important to understanding gender expression as it pertains to transness are its material manifestations, social contexts, and implications for wellness.

Expression can refer to any way an individual occupies and adorns their own body and relates to other bodies. Below is an inexhaustive list of tools people often use to express gender:

  • Hair (style, length, color)
  • Labels (names and pronouns)
  • Clothes (cut, colors, patterns)
  • Social actions, interactions (sharing emotions, touching, facial expressions)
  • Jewelry (piercings, metals, cuts)
  • Roles and labor (career choices, family and relationship roles)
  • Makeup (face and body makeup, nail polish color, feature accentuation)
  • Activities, hobbies (sports, games, personal interests)
  • Speaking (cadence, voice inflection, volume, tone)
  • Smells (odor strength, ...
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